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Video Game of the Week — New Super Mario Bros. Wii

It's hard to believe but the Mario brothers, aka Mario and Luigi, have been keeping us entertained for over 25 years, appearing in more than twenty releases across a dozen different gaming platforms. Now comes the latest in the beloved franchise – New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

The storyline will need no introduction to fans of the series. Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser and the Mario brothers and the Toads give chase, traversing different levels and various worlds in order to save her.

The game is basically a throwback to the two-dimensional Super Mario Bros. games of the 1980s and early '90s. For the most part, the characters move from left to right, jumping on platforms, dodging obstacles and stomping on enemies.

There are coins hidden around each screen or trapped in blocks that must be tapped from below with a bouncing head. Mario has his familiar moves, such as being able to toss fireballs, pound the level below or hurl back enemies with his spin jump. But there are also new abilities such as ice flower, which has him throwing freezing snowballs, and propeller or penguin suits to enhance aerial and arctic performance.

And you will need all of Mario's new skills. Although the levels look deceptively easy, they require expert control, and the intermittent "boss battles" will test even veteran players. Luckily, there's a useful new feature for novices called "Super Guide", which lets a game-controlled Luigi take you through any level where you lose eight lives or more.

However, the main feature that makes New Super Mario Bros. Wii different to the previous versions is the ability to play competitively or cooperatively with up to three other players. Players can choose to be Mario, Luigi, or one of the two toads, although each character has essentially the same abilities. "Free For All" allows you to battle through the single-player levels together, whereas "Coin Battle" lets you compete to gather the most coins.

The game translates well to the Wii platform. You play with the Wii Remote held sideways, with the #2 button used for the all-important jumps and the #1 button to throw projectiles. It mostly works without a hitch, although some moves – such as shaking the Wii Remote to launch a spin attack or quickly jerking the Wii Remote down to pick up objects – can sometimes lead to unexpected lapses of control as your hands shift.

Despite its similarity to earlier versions – or maybe because of it – New Super Mario Bros. Wii provides plenty of fun for die-hard fans. Plus, the immensely entertaining multi-player format and friendly Super Guide feature will undoubtedly attract legions of new fans to the crazy plump plumber and his pals!

Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: 2D Platformer
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
RRP: $49.99
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone

Comment by Rob, posted 12/17/2009, 6:22 PM:

We're stuck! We've made it through all the levels of World 3, but can't figure out what we need to do to access the castle at the end of that World. Any help would be very much appreicated! Thanks!
Comment by Milcah, posted 11/18/2009, 9:33 PM:

Oh my goodness the teaser! LOL Mario is my all time favorite and now my kids love the Mario games too!
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