Coin Rush Still Poorly Made; New Super Mario Bros 2 Thoughts Revisited

Ever since my first article and review of New Super Mario Bros 2 about a week ago, I have been constantly playing the game to try and reach the million coin mark.  I’m not there yet (partly because I don’t want to literally grind for coins in the exact same level for hours on end), but with only about 200 000 coins to go I thought I may as well write a follow up article on what I think of New Super Mario Bros 2 a few days later.

Coin Rush is first, and I have to say I’m kind of actually enjoying this mode.  Yes it seemed a bit pointless at first, but it is a nice, quick way to get coins and a fun alternative to the single player levels.

But while Coin Rush is a tad better than I initially gave it credit for (at least it seems to be quicker to constantly play through this mode than just trying different levels), I still think it’s fundamentally flawed.

For instance, many of the levels are just really unsuitable for playing through at high speeds or with a timer going.  Get a ghost house level?  Kiss goodbye to any chance of beating your high score on that run since at least 90% of them have far less coins available to collect than any standard level does.  Similarly, many of the towers and castles are honestly terrible levels to play through in coin rush simply because the level design is meant for slow, steady progression.  Tower 3 is a terrible example of this (with the slowest auto scrolling you could possibly ever find), but tower 5 isn’t much better due to the fact you’re limited by both the slow moving nets and the rising lava.

It also seems like a fair few levels are completely unavailable in coin rush for whatever reason, I’ve not once come across Bowser’s Castle or Dry Bowser’s Castle in the random selections of levels, and the airship level in world 5 seems suspiciously absent as well.  Did Nintendo decide not to bother changing them to act as normal levels?  Or just forget to put them in altogether?

Outside of coin rush mode, other things about the game do seems rather poorly thought out as well. Take the Mega Mushroom for instance.  Where does it even show up?  In TWO levels.  That’s it.

What’s the point of even having this item if you don’t do anything with it?  The first time it shows up, there’s no real purpose to getting it other than to randomly smash a few enemies to pulp and collect a single star coin.  It’s basically been thrown in, probably for no more reason than ‘hey, New Super Mario Bros on DS had it, it needs to be in this game too!’  Did I mention that you can’t even bring it to different levels or store it in the inventory?  At least the Star, Mini Mushroom and Gold Flower have that going for them.

Talking of the Gold Flower, that’s a strange item in itself.  On the one hand, it seems Coin Rush is basically made for it, you get at least double the coins for everything the minute you use one.  And at least one or two levels actually have bonus rooms on;y accessible via using it, which is a nice touch.

But on the other hand, you almost never see one unless you go looking for it.  Do they show up in the item roulette boxes?  Not outside of water levels they don’t.  How about in ? blocks? Well, I’ve seen exactly two places where you can find one that way. For most of the game it really does feel like the item may as well not exist.

However, as critical as I’ve been on some parts of the game, it does seem like its better than people give it credit for on some level.  Take the level design for instance. It’s not seen as great by many people, but it does actually have a lot of depth to it if you go looking outside the standard level path.

For instance, there are probably quite a few paths even I haven’t located yet.  Not proper overworld paths with levels, but in level bonus areas, rooms and shortcuts.  Did you know that there’s a clever bonus area in world 3’s castle where you can kill Grinders with Star power?  Probably not, since you need to be Mini Mario to access it, something which is more difficult than it sounds.

There are quite a few of these. For instance, look how many hidden desert areas you can find if you sink into the right sections of quicksand.  Or how many random ledges make coins appear if stood on.  Or heck, how many invisible blocks with 1Ups/Golden Mushrooms there are (answer: way more than you imagined).

Basically, there’s a lot more to the levels in this game than many people think, especially if you look around a bit and try various things. It doesn’t justify the lack of creativity in much of the game, but it does at least prove that anyone complaining how easy or short the levels are hasn’t done much looking around and has just tried to speed run the whole thing in the shortest possible time.

So in general, is New Super Mario Bros 2 a perfect or even fantastic game?  Not really, but I am having a bit more fun with it than I expected and I do think the game has a bit more to it than a lot of people like to give it credit for.

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