Well, another week and another set of Japanese game sales! Can you guess which title is at the top of the list this time? Wait for it…
Yes, Luigi’s Mansion 2 again, even more weeks in which it hasn’t budged an inch from the top of the Japanese sales charts! Jeez, Nintendo really have created a great selling title here, it’s been doing well in every country under the sun and has likely nearly overtook its predecessor in sales already. Here’s the full list of best selling games in Japan:
Out of all these, a nice 8 out of 20 games just happen to be 3DS titles (the ones in italics above). To add to this, when you add in the two Wii U games and the one Wii title listed, that makes more than half the top 20 list that games on Nintendo systems are taking up. They really are doing fantastic over there…
Above: Luigi’s Mansion 2 stays firmly at the top of the list for another week running.
On another note, I’m a bit shocked New Super Mario Bros 2 is still doing so well. I mean, it’s arguably one of the worst games in the Mario series, yet it’s still coming in the top 10 best selling games list nearly a year after it’s release date. I guess in this case you really can make a game primarily for the money and have it sell by the million…
Above: Will New Super Mario Bros 2 ever stop selling?
Finally, Game and Wario isn’t exactly doing great this time around. Seems like the point someone raised about the game potentially failing might well be right, I know the critical and public reception for the title is mostly definitely mixed over there.
Above: Game and Wario gradually slips down the sales charts into oblivion…
And that’s the top 20 best selling games in Japan for the last week or so. I don’t think there are too many surprises in regards to what games are doing well (I’d bet nearly everyone predicted Luigi’s Mansion 2 would still be holding on to the number 1 spot on the list), but I guess you can comment on it in the comments section below or on Nintendo 3DS Community.
This is a guest article by Critical Gaming author Richard Terrell, someone who has spent many years analysing the Mario series on a gameplay level and who considers New Super Mario Bros 2 a far better game than people give it credit for. His website can be found here:
Here’s the article, a defense of New Super Mario Bros 2 and an argument about why it’s one of the best platformers of all time:
Over the last 5 months I have devoted time every Sunday to practice this Mario Medley composed by a guy named Andrew Johnson. The piece is very “Mario” in that it works with the original theme that scored my childhood and my love for video games. And unlike other Mario medleys, Andrew’s sticks with that classic SMB World 1-1 melody. Yet in a very different way, the piece borrows pieces of piano classics from great composers in music history. Now, after putting in half a year of Sunday practice only to have progressed half way through this 8 page masterpiece, I’m convinced that New Super Mario Bros. 2 is one of the greatest platformers showing why the such gameplay is more like music than anything else.
Above: Super Mario Bros 1-1 in musical notation form
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is both familiar and novel. The seemingly contradictory, oxymoronic juxtaposition between the new and old is evident in the title of the game. It’s a new game that’s a direct numerical sequel to a older game that re-designed the style of the classic NES game Super Mario Bros. In New Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario is still Mario. He still runs, jumps, and sounds the same. He even looks exactly how we… remember him looking; after all, back in the day the crisp pixel edges of Mario’s sprites were blurry at best on our TVs. Indeed, Mario is a man of few words and a game of few changes if you’re the kind of gamer who only judges games by their graphical exteriors. But if you do so then you’ll miss what Mario is really about.
While we’re on the topic of visuals, New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the best looking 2D Mario platformer. Like that original NES aesthetic, NSBM2 often features simple almost monochromatic scenery to create a stark color contrast between the interactive foreground and the non-interactive background. At the same time, Mario’s world is filled with depth and texture. The block bricks and cave walls and rough walkways are displayed in all the high resolution detail that we love from next-gen gaming. Yet, with just a flick of the 3D depth slider, the backgrounds drop away into the back of the screen and blur for a very photographic effect. The look is fantastic, but it does even more for gameplay. The stereoscopic technology of the 3DS allows developers to use depth to distinguish between layers. It’s nearly impossible to be confused about whether something on the screen is interactive or just in the background.
Above: If you need an illustration of why this distinction is possible, I think Mushroom Kingdom Fusion’s Toyland is a great one. It’s so visually distracting you can sometimes fail to realise what you’re supposed to be interacting with. NSMB 2′s blurred BGs avoid this.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is familiar; some say too familiar. Mario. Fire Flowers. Goomba. Koopa. Reznor. Bowser. We’ve seen it before. Even Koopa Kids, Tanooki Tails, and co-op play isn’t “new” enough for some. Others say NSMB2 is too easy. Just store a powerup, farm enough 1ups, or just die enough times and you can White Raccoon Mario your way to victory. Dwelling on low skill floors and the number of new gameplay elements in NSMB2 distracts from what Mario has been about since turning Super in the first place. Gameplay! In other words simple and engagingmechanics, layered level design, interesting choices, clean feedback, and enough dynamics to pull it all together. And the best way to understand how NSMB2 exemplifies these attributes is by thinking of playing Mario as playing a musical instrument.
The most meaning in Mario comes from it gameplay. Not its story. And not the newness of the game setting, music, or visual style. The point of New Super Mario Bros. 2 is to engage with its platforming gameplay, to recognize the challenges and the options you have to over come these challenges, and to ultimately build your skill to play at increasingly more competent levels. I wouldn’t suggest doing any of this work if it wasn’t worth it. Aspects of gameplay experiences are difficult to express, for reasons that I won’t get into here. But I want to say clearly that when I become skilled at playing Mario’s design, I gain the ability to read Goomba and Koopa like musical notes, marking the places where I must act. And though these marks move dynamically across the screen, my interaction with them and around them makes something like music. I set my own pace by refusing to release the run button. I freestyle and improvise my way to victory one jump at a time.
Super Mario Brothers 2D platforming game design is something like a musical genre. This genre uses a set of now familiar elements and conventions to create a refined mode of expression. With the lofty goal of achieving new levels of excellence with every title, the Mario platformers were built upon the foundation of Super Mario Bros for the NES. There’s no need to reinvent the Goomba. Since the beginning Goomba have served a unique design role as a basic enemy that falls off of platforms and doesn’t chase the player. In other words Mario has a solid history of design forms, functions, and conventions that allows designers to leverage the knowledge that many players have to deliver something new.
Nowadays, I suspect that most gamers who will play New Super Mario Bros. 2 have some Mario experience. But Nintendo understands that there are many who don’t. There are many gamers who struggle just to see the ending credits in games. So Nintendo has made it relatively easy to beat NSMB2. Beyond just beating the game, it’s moderately challenging to collect all the star coins in each level. And it’s tricky to discover all the levels and secrets without any outside help. But for those who really want to put their years of Mario experience to the test, there’s Coin Rush mode. And it’s here where NSMB2 gameplay really sings. It’s not a matter of if NSMB2 is a top notch platforming experience. It’s only a matter of if you can see why.
Above: It may look simple, but for a new player it’s likely not. People always seem to forget that every Nintendo/Mario game is someone’s first ever Nintendo or Mario game. It’s 100% completion and challenges that make them truly difficult.
The problem is, the greatness of Mario’s gameplay cannot be understood merely by playing the game once and beating it. Twice through isn’t going to be enough either. Like all complex systems, we have to study a game to best understand it even down to how the smallest pieces work together in a harmonious design. Music is the same way. They say music is a universal language, but there’s more to this phrase than most realize. Sure, the abstract and aural qualities of music allow it to be easily perceived and enjoyed by any nation, race, creed, and tongue. But this doesn’t mean that all people can instantly grasp all the meaning in music upon hearing it for the first time. It also doesn’t mean that people can immediately enjoy music either. If music is truly like a language (universal or otherwise), that means that studying the equivalent of musical vocabulary, grammar, and history helps us extract and embrace the more complex, subtle, and powerful meaning within music.
“The first, reports The Atlantic, is that “when listeners hadn’t previously encountered a certain chord, they found it nearly impossible to hear the individual notes that comprised it.” Not that they didn’t like it — they literally didn’t even process it. Is that like hearing a word in language you don’t understand? That it’s just so much noise, so to speak?” ~NPR.org
The ability to identify tones and thus enjoy harmonies was positively correlated with musical training. Said study co-author Sarah Wilson, “This showed us that even the ability to hear a musical pitch (or note) is learned.” ~theatlantic.com
Study, learning, practice, and repetition are required to unlock the structure, form, and ultimately the meaning in New Super Mario Bros. 2′s gameplay. Fortunately, this process is made incredibly fun because we’re talking about playing a highly polished, top quality video game. If you’re looking to embrace the game in a detailed and deep way, and the one best ways to do so in NSMB2 is by embracing the challenge of Coin Rush. With limited time and one life to live, Coin Rush forces players to put their skills to the test. You’ll have to weigh how much you’re willing to risk as you plan routes though levels, go out of your way to uncover secrets, and combo enemies. It’s gameplay of a golden gamble. Coins are such an elegant way for players to measure their Mario skills. I suggest going fo a high score, and then try to beat your score over and over. Challenge your record and share it with anyone you walk past. Or search on youtube to get a feel for what’s possible.
If you do put in the work, you’ll find that NSMB2 is a game unlike any other Mario game to date. The golden coin brick hats and the gold fire flower are wonderful gameplay elements that are likely never to return. The golden fire flower in particular allows players to combo level and enemy elements to obtain serious coinage in new, yet familiar ways. Whether you’re reaching 30k in your coin rush totals, battling for the top slot for the Nerve-Wrack Pack global leader boards, or white Racooning your way through the game, the point is to have fun dancing and platforming your way through the game to the beat of your own song. The point is the jump and to fall and to rebound and to run in a way that’s not only fun for you, but in a way that also embraces the fun that the developers so meticulous designed. This is what makes New Super Mario Bros.2 a wonderful platforming duet between player and designer.
Especially the Kaizo type played in so many Youtube Let’s Play videos? Because I’ve seen more and more things once only expected in difficult ROM hacks get made standard by the latest Mario games that I wonder whether some of Nintendo’s newer Mario developers either watched the videos or were part of the ‘hacking’ scene in their youth.
Above: Even this Mario music video shows such levels in the background at certain points…
I mean, I can’t be the only person who’s noticed how much more often Munchers seem to be appearing in modern Mario games, right? After all, they were completely absent from every Mario game bar remakes between Wario Land 1 and New Super Mario Bros Wii. That’s FIFTEEN YEARS between appearances, yet they’ve become all common in the recent New Super Mario Bros games?
And isn’t it funny how the way they’re used in New Super Mario Bros U’s Challenge levels is almost identical to their usage in ROM hacks?
Above: This is basically an official kaizo level
Heck, they even used sideways and upside down Munchers this time, just like those ultra difficult games people play on Youtube!
Not just those either. Anyone remember how Missile Bills seem to have got a lot more powerful in recent games? Back in SMB 3, all they did was turn around once you passed them. Yet now in New Super Mario Bros Wii and the like they basically act the Homing Bullet Bills from the fan games and hacks rather than the Mario 3 enemy:
Above: I’m sorry, but heat seeking Bullets were never in the 2D games prior to this.
It really does seem like a lot of concepts and objects used in kaizo hacks and other fan projects seem to be brought back in recent Mario games for Nintendo themselves to use in much the same way.
Talking of difficult games and kaizo, it seems like the recent games have quite a lot of content that could be considered as such, mostly in the ‘secret’ levels and downloadable level packs. Sure it did technically exist in Mario games prior with the Lost Levels, but it seems like it’s become more and more commonplace as the series went on.
Like how Endless World of Yoshis/Crazy Maze Days could almost be seen as proto kaizo:
It has many characteristics found in fan made levels. Ultra high difficulty, lack of checkpoints, trial and error gameplay, fast scrolling, mazes, having to redo the whole level if you make a minor mistake like with the Chomp Rock thing and puzzles which aren’t that easy to figure out. It may or may not have predated the Kaizo and I Wanna Be the Guy, but it seems to have quite a few of the ideas them and their successors seem to have refined into a twisted art form.
Yoshi’s Island DS is another obvious case of being inspired by hacks and fan projects, the secret levels are so blatantly unfair and even poorly designed they’re impossible to distinguish from the fan made ones!
In case you didn’t watch the videos, the whole design of the secret levels in Yoshi’s Island DS seems to be built around trying to annoy the player as much as possible with traps you can’t see or detect in advance, the possibility of being forced to die at every opportunity and gimmicks which are not fun in the slightest. The game reminds me of some Yoshi’s Island based games and mods, and not in a good way.
Or how the Perfect Run in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and World S8 Crown from Super Mario 3D Land are basically official platform hell/kaizo challenges, complete with the ‘one slip up and start from the beginning’ bit:
And many of the challenge levels in New Super Mario Bros U seem to basically be ‘canonizing’ stuff from Mario ROM hacks and fan games. Like the whole ‘jump on enemies in a row without touching the ground to win’ thing.
Above: 1-Up enemy hopping challenges. New to official Mario games, not new to unofficial ones.
That’s been done in a lot of ROM hacks before Nintendo officially made it part of the Mario series with New Super Mario Bros U.
How about the whole challenge with the mole on the raft? Where you have to get the mole to the end of the level to win? That’s very much a concept you’d expect to see in a kaizo hack, not an official/published game.
It’s also sort of interesting how Nintendo has basically included the whole ‘ascetic’ concept, where you have to avoid killing any enemies or getting any coins. It’s not called that, but there are some definite similarities between fan made levels like this one:
And New Super Mario Bros U challenges like these:
Above: This challenge is literally ‘don’t touch any coins or enemies’. Wonder where we’ve heard that before…
It’s like someone at Nintendo is watching all those Youtube LPs and taking down notes for bonus content for recent Mario games!
But do you know what the best evidence I’d say of them being influenced by these game mods is? New Super Mario Bros 2′s Impossible Pack:
Come on, even the very NAME shouts Kaizo! And that level design with difficult enemies in tight spots, zero coins and power ups in the entire level and tricky gimmicks like rising purple acid with narrow jumps past saws and wall jumping up shafts while dodging Fire Chomps and Firebars are all things I’d expect out of the next Kaizo Mario World, not an official level pack!
Everything about it just makes me think of someone like ProtonJon playing a difficult Mario hack with save states and get annoyed at the unfair difficulty. Heck, you could even say Nintendo are harsher than the fans, at least the fans let you use save states and rewinds to beat their levels!
In general, I’d say Mario games seem to be taking more and more inspiration from the fan works based on them, with the super hard bonus levels that were not as common in the NES and SNES days, the elements like Munchers and appearing/disappearing blocks which were far rarer back in Super Mario Bros 3 or World and many ideas seemingly taken from ROM hacks of the Mario series like not killing any enemies or collecting any coins.
Remixes of Nintendo music are cool enough, but do you know what’s even cooler than remixing Nintendo’s original songs? Making an all new soundtrack that’s as good as any from an official Nintendo game! Here are five great fan made Nintendo soundtracks, where fans have made their own music based on their favourite video game series.
New Super Mario Bros 2 Soundtrack (BowieZ version)
Way before Nintendo even considered making a New Super Mario Bros title for 3DS, BowieZ made his own fan made songs based off the series for a hypothetical sequel. And believe it or not, they’re pretty darn catchy. Have a listen:
The new Koopaling castle theme. It’s not the best castle song I’ve ever heard, but I do definitely wish Nintendo had thought of using it in the real New Super Mario Bros 2, it’s got to be more interesting than just another remix of the New Super Mario Bros Wii castle tune.
That’s not all though. In addition to a bunch of New Super Mario Bros 2 songs, he also made what he thought a Super Mario Galaxy 2 soundtrack would sound like, as well as some fan made songs from non existant Mario Kart Wii tracks. This one, called Dry Bowser’s Waltz is pretty catchy:
And this Super Mario Galaxy remix meant for a New Super Mario Bros game is quite good too, albeit made a bit worse by those annoying ‘bah’ sounds:
Isn’t it a bit of a pity that Nintendo didn’t try and use some of his new music for New Super Mario Bros 2 rather than just recycling the the Wii game’s soundtrack and adding sheep like bah sounds? But what’s done is done.
Ura Zelda Restoration Project Soundtrack
An ambitious soundtrack for an ambitious project, the Ura Zelda Restoration hack is replacing the entire Ocarina of Time soundtrack with a fan made one by their composer. More impressively, the soundtrack actually sounds extremely good for one which barely uses any remixes whatsoever. Have a listen:
Hymn of Ice (Ice Temple Warp song)
Overture of Wind (Wind Temple song)
And for a full length dungeon piece, the Ice Temple’s actual level song is extremely catchy as well:
It’s incredible how many great songs they composed for a project like this, especially as they plan to go further and replace the entire default soundtrack in future. If you want to listen to the other songs, go here:
The Bowser Strikes Back Soundtrack
Another great soundtrack from a fan made project that never got finished, the Bowser Strikes Back soundtrack is about twenty or so original level themes made for a spiritual sequel to Yoshi’s Island. Almost all of them are great songs, but I’d say the best few are definitely the castle themes. Flower Tower is a favourite, it sounds almost like something you’d expect to hear in a real game:
Some other great ones include the Sky Temple theme, which sounds even more stunning when used with the soundfont from Pokemon Black and White:
And the ice music soundtrack, an almost depressing tune that makes you want to contemplate the more important things in life:
It’s a fantastic soundtrack with nearly every song being memorable, to the point that I hope Nintendo takes some inspiration from it when making the next Yoshi’s Island game’s soundtrack. Maybe this mysterious Yoshi Land U game could use some of these songs as background music? Perhaps even with a real orchestra playing them and genuine latin chanting?
That would be absolutely amazing.
Luigi’s Mansion 2 Custom Soundtrack
Not the real one from Dark Moon, a fan made soundtrack which has some catchy final mansion and boss themes. Here are the songs:
As you can hear, they’re actually really nice fan made themes that wouldn’t sound particularly out of place in a Luigi’s Mansion title. Indeed, I don’t think I’d be disappointed if Nintendo actually did put these songs in Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon and used them for the finale, they certainly fit the mood of a climatic battle with King Boo.
The Mushroom Patrol the Midas Machine Soundtrack
Another fantastic soundtrack from a Nintendo fan game, the music in Mushroom Patrol the Midas Machine is absolutely amazing. Yes, despite about 90% of the themes being custom composed rather than remixes of any actual Mario music, it stands up there with the actual music from the series in quality. Here are some of my favourites:
Captain Syrup’s Theme
That’s only a small sample of the amazing music the fan game has in store, and you should definitely download and play the demo to listen to the rest of said themes. Just be aware that many of the better pieces of music are heard in the unfinished world 3/the ghost themed world.
Those are some amazing Nintendo game style songs fans have made for their imaginary Mario sequels and Nintendo fan games. Goes to show you that some fan work is almost as good as the official stuff, isn’t it?
And by impossible, I mean the nearest thing the New Super Mario Bros has to kaizo level impossible, it’s supposedly another super difficult pack of coin rush levels with a five star difficult rating. For one thing, there are absolutely zero coins or power ups in any of the levels, so your coin total is solely dependant on how quickly you reach the flag. And for another thing, levels include stuff like multiple Cheep Chomps in narrow passages, Fire Chomps in narrow firebar lined wall kick passageways and rising acid in what seems to be another layer 2 like level.
The Mystery Adventures pack on the other hand has you uncover mysteries and find hidden areas in the levels where most of the coins and bonuses await.
Here’s a video from IGN showing both of them in action:
These packs will be available tomorrow (aka December 20th 2012) and will be the final downloadable course packs released for New Super Mario Bros 2. They’re at the same price as most of the other packs, so if you want to buy the last ever downloadable content for New Super Mario Bros 2, you’ll getting that chance very soon.
Generally, a lot of people feel the New Super Mario Bros series is getting stale and not being as innovative as the older games, with a lack of improvement between each game. But you know what? I’d honestly say the series is in fact improving based on user feedback as it goes on, it’s just Nintendo isn’t improving the franchise quickly enough.
Think about it. It’s not really like the series hasn’t made any progress, it has. For instance, remember how people criticised New Super Mario Bros (the DS game) for not having co-op multiplayer for the whole adventure? Nintendo learnt from that and made sure to put it in the next three games.
Above: You wanted co-op multiplayer, right?
And the series is packed with such examples of fan feedback being taken into account in the next installment. People complained the Koopalings weren’t in and that Yoshi was nowhere to be seen. And what do you know? New Super Mario Bros Wii brought back both and the later games kept at least one of those elements.
Above: Koopalings; back for the first time in about ten years thanks to this series
It’s the same with a ton of things. Almost every enemy people wanted brought back has been brought back. People asked for new power ups, and they got them; the Propeller Suit, Penguin Suit and Super Acorn. They wanted more interesting world themes, so Nintendo first replaced three worlds with bonus like ones (New Super Mario Bros 2′s Mushroom, Flower and Star Worlds) then made everything fit onto a giant map and themed it more like Super Mario World.
Above: Arguably the best world map in the Mario series
Heck, even the very minor things people hated like the boss battles and cannons have been improved. So the cannons were a dull warp method? Let’s make them into real levels, then outright replace them with gateway levels leading to different areas!
Above: You have to admit, this is more interesting than a cannon flight.
Don’t like the samey Koopaling fights? Let’s make them all have different attack patterns! It was already a thing in New Super Mario Bros 2 with the likes of Roy, Morton and Ludwig, and became much better with the boss designs in New Super Mario Bros U.
And remember how people criticised the final boss battles and how they were just chase scenes? Nintendo did listen, the final boss in New Super Mario Bros U actually has you physically beat him up like any other boss.
Above: Heck, we even got a Sumo Bros as a boss!
Not to mention how the complaints about a samey graphics style and music likely led to New Super Mario Bros U getting fantastic looking HD graphics such as the painted swampland levels’ Van Gogh inspired visuals.
Above: More interesting graphics thanks to New Super Mario Bros U.
Or the new music found in New Super Mario Bros U for the map areas and final level/bosses.
Really, I’d say the New Super Mario Bros series really is improving quite significantly with every game. It’s just everyone presumably expected the series to change faster, as if completing overhauling everything in every title was the only valid means of improvement. Maybe in New Super Mario Bros 4DS we’ll get Chargin’ Chucks, Fishin’ Boo, an all new soundtrack and the cape from Super Mario World.
All in all, the New Super Mario Bros series really is getting better and better, just not at the rate some people were presumably expecting.
Well, it looks like Nintendo of Europe is sure getting into the festive spirit, they’ve now released official Christmas wrapping paper! It comes with four styles, New Super Mario Bros 2 style with pictures of the items from the 3DS game, Professor Layton style with the game’s icon/logo on a sophisticated looking background, Pokemon/Pikachu style and a Style Savvy tie in version. Here’s a preview of some of this wrapping paper:
Guess it’s a nice idea for the Nintendo fan who wants even their presents to be wrapped in Nintendo themed wrapping paper, although I do have to wonder who’s going to want to go to the expense of printing it out themself. Printing ink sure isn’t cheap these days!
Additionally, that’s not all the Christmas related stuff they have on Nintendo’s site. They apparently have a ‘perfect cookie recipe’, Mario symbols for your window and Nintendo themed knitting patterns for jumpers. You can download all this stuff from the links at the bottom of this page:
Two more downloadable Coin Rush level packs have been announced and shown for New Super Mario Bros 2, this time the third challenge pack and an additional one known as the Platform Panic Pack.
They’re available to buy in Japan as of right now, and will presumably be available to purchase elsewhere in only a short while. Here’s some screens of both level packs that show off some of the new levels:
As you can see from the above screens, the theme of these levels tends to be moving platforms and other similar objects. You’ve got a castle with Snake Blocks in a forest, you’ve got ghost driven platforms acting like the bonecoasters from New Super Mario Bros Wii and New Super Mario Bros U and those Dry Bones rafts from world 8 in a setting filled with volcanic debris crashing down.
Here’s a trailer showing the levels:
So that’s December’s downloadable New Super Mario Bros 2 levels for you, and these level packs will probably be out in most regions fairly shortly. Do you plan to buy these coin rush level packs? Or has the Wii U and New Super Mario Bros U made you lose all interest in New Super Mario Bros 2 as a game?
New Super Mario Bros 2 was, despite all criticism about the lack of originality, a decent game. But am I the only one who thinks the title should be delayed until at least 2013 while Nintendo improved the game?
Because let’s be honest, it was clear from the start the title was at best a second string project handed over to junior developers and without a lot of ambition in it, and I’m wondering whether Nintendo should have instead delayed the game while the team worked on New Super Mario Bros U instead. Not only would this have significantly helped New Super Mario Bros U (all focus could be on the one title and what original ideas NSMB did have for levels could be merged into that one), but I think it would have really helped New Super Mario Bros 2 itself in the long run.
Heck, imagine how much the better the title would have been if a significant amount of new resources were actually made for it and if all the soundtrack had been original. I mean, what’s there is actually pretty good music, like the Reznor battle remix, the credits theme and the secret world themes:
But it’s disappointing what themes are the same. Did we really need the same final boss music despite how it’s been original in every game in the series (New Super Mario Bros U included)? Or the same world map music? Or the same general athletic theme that’s been around for donkey’s years now?
I suspect the only reason so much of the music was the same was because the ‘real’ team was working on the Wii U game and didn’t have much time to compose music for what was basically a hastily assembled side project. If the game was delayed, maybe a significant amount more care could have been put into the soundtrack.
Additionally, the lack of new enemies and gimmicks probably comes from a less experienced staff trying to make do with what they have and only being able to add a few (mostly minor) additions. Heck, look at the New Super Mario Bros 2 bosses, then look at the ones in New Super Mario Bros U. You should be able to instantly tell which ones had more thought and effort put into them, and which ones was likely coded by amateurs.
And the other additional enemies weren’t too good either, at least from a technical viewpoint. Dry Piranha Plants and Zombie Goombas? Oh, a real difference from the original monsters (the latter especially act completely identical to normal Goombas bar graphics). You could seriously make both of these in about ten minutes using Super Mario Bros X or Lunar Magic.
Wow, the most original enemy idea ever!
As for Boohemoth, he’s impressive graphically, but I suspect he wasn’t that difficult to make or add to the game. Really, he’s probably just a moving layer designed to move when Mario faces away and stop when Mario faces him.
But if the game was delayed, a lot more interesting things could have been added and the game could be redesigned to take far more advantage of the 3DS’s capabilities. The graphics could easily be much better (not New Super Mario Bros U quality, but a good bit more interesting than they are now), the soundtrack could have been mostly new and all kinds of interesting new enemies could have been made for the title (maybe Nabbit, Dragoneels and Flying Squirrels could have been in New Super Mario Bros 2 as well?). The bosses could have been made a bit challenging, the level design more creative in some areas and things like the coin collecting and Gold Mario could actually have been used to their full potential. Maybe even Wario as an unlockable character for reaching a million coins like some people wanted?
Fake, but darn Wario should have been an unlockable character in the game.
And not to mention, people would have probably been far more interested in the game. As it is at the moment, the way the two NSMB games were released just months apart has meant people are suspicious Nintendo is milking the franchise. But if the 3DS game had came next year with a lot more new and original content? Then I suspect people would be far more positive towards it.
But I guess the business people at Nintendo panicked that no big selling 3DS games were ready by the Christmas season and demanded a new 2D Mario game be made. Pretty unfortunate really, since it meant New Super Mario Bros 2 ended up as a game with an absolute ton of wasted potential.
Raccoon Mario + 2D Mario game on 3DS? Oh how exciting it seemed at first…
Do you think New Super Mario Bros 2 should have been delayed until 2013 so Nintendo could spend more time working on it and add more original ideas and resources? And that it might have been better if games like Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon had came out this year instead?
Nintendo have just released it for free on the eShop in all regions, so if you own New Super Mario Bros 2 you should go and download it right now. Head to the Coin Rush menu, then go to the shop and buy the pack with a price of $0. Voila, three free new levels for New Super Mario Bros 2!
They’re pretty well designed levels too, and aren’t in the slightest just basic remakes. The first one is actually a mix of Super Mario Bros 1-1 and 1-2, the second level a mix of Super Mario Bros 3 1-1 and 1-5 and the final one even manages to mix the first castle from Super Mario Bros with the first level of New Super Mario Bros 2. Lots of hidden areas and details in these stages, including secret exits and all manner of hidden coin stash rooms.
So yeah, go and get it now! Because if you don’t get it by January 2013, Nintendo will actually start charging for these levels and you’ll have missed the free content forever. I downloaded them and I certainly didn’t regret it!