The New Super Mario Bros series is improving
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.