New Super Mario Brothers DS

So I picked up the New Super Mario Bros game, and it's absolute winner. We have in one package something that is legitimately fresh while perfectly capturing the spirit of the original Mario Brothers. Imagine the universe of Mario 1 through 3, but in a new world with expanded gameplay and gorgeous graphics.

The game is a 2D sidescroller, but nothing about it feels outdated. In reality, only the perspective is 2D, many of the on-screen objects are actually 3D renderings. The controls and fluid animation make the game simply fun to play (fun? this is a video game!).

The touch screen is employed subtly but effectively. It's used to track certain in-game stats, as well to activate inventory items or to navigate the overhead map view. It's also nicely used as a way to get extraneous information out of the main gameplay view.

There are so many little touches that make the experience: nods to previous games, stylized artwork, plenty of room for exploration and secrets. It's legitimately fun to replay levels you've finished and look for new things. The on-screen characters even step in time to the music (in an understated, almost toungue-in-cheek manner).

If you own a DS and have any taste at all for Mario titles, you simply must get this game.

Reading Between the Lines?

I feel a little guilty about drawing deep conclusions from something that is inherently light hearted, but it's hard to ignore how much Nintendo is looking to stand out with the DS and these sort of games.

On paper, there's nothing breakthrough in the New Mario Bros game. The quality of the experience isn't measure in polygon counts or CG cutscenes. It's simply fun to pick up and play. Have I mentioned that there's no load time?

By contrast, I don't have much interest in the PSP. For that matter, what I've seen about the PS3 doesn't really thrill me. Sure, it's technically impressive, but I'm not particularly eager to get one. Not to say that Sony's systems aren't solid machines with some great features, but the DS embodies what I'm looking for in a portable system.

I'm really excited to see what sort of things the Wii has in store for us later this year.
Design Element
New Super Mario Brothers DS
Posted May 24, 2006 — 12 comments below


Jason — May 24, 06 1328

I don't have a DS but I took a look at the site and it looks seriously cool.

Mr eel — May 25, 06 1331

I have a DS. It is my favourite console, far and away. To anyone considering buying one, I say do it! For the price of a PSP you can by a DS and a whole stack of games.

I'm waiting quietly for NSMB to get released in here in Australia. I'm gonna take time off work when I get it : )

dc — May 25, 06 1332

I just got that game as a birthday gift for my friend. You are correct, it is seriously fun. It's nice that it's somewhat easier to play than some previous Mario games (I just played it on and off for about a half hour--DS sleeping roxx!--and got to the third world), but seems to have a lot of replay value at the same time. I can think of at least half a dozen possible secrets I noticed that I need to go check out.

I've been hoping for Nintendo to release an All-Stars style Mario compendium, adding 3D characters and wall-jumping, and the new Mario Bros. is just what the doctor [Mario] ordered. What with Bust-A-Move, Tetris, and some cool-looking LucasArts style adventure games out for the DS, I'm definitely thinking about picking up a Lite when they come out.

I was very skeptical about the DS when it first came out, and the touch/dual-screen aspects still seem somewhat underutilized in a lot of games, but I think it has definitely turned out to be a very solid portable system. I haven't played much PSP, and I do love the Metal Gear games (and Katamari! whyyy no Katamari for the DS....), but the DS is definitely the system I'd buy if I thought I needed to spend some money on games.

Steve-o — May 25, 06 1333

I agree on both counts (the greatness of NSMB and Nintendo's strategy in general vs. Sony). I think this next generation of console gaming (handhelds included) is going to be interesting, and I hope Nintendo can follow through with the Wii as it is doing with the DS now.

General word of advise to anyone who does not have a DS yet: wait. Wait until the DS Lite is out in your country (already out in Japan, in June in the US, July in Europe, beyond that, I don't know yet). You'll be kicking yourself if you buy the current model with the oh-so-sexy redesign so near on the horizon.

Jacken — May 28, 06 1337

I agree! I just got a NDS yesterday for the kids. Guess who was up playing late into the night! Not the kids. And Mario rocks.

Abhi Beckert — May 30, 06 1344

Oh man, those movies bring back memories! I haven't played mario since the NES... *wipes away a tear*

Also, as a web developer I have to comment on how amazing that website is. Are you watching kids? *That* is what flash is for.

Scott Stevenson — Jun 01, 06 1345 Scotty the Leopard

Are you watching kids? *That* is what flash is for.

I just noticed today the site has an easter egg. Go to the Downloads section then destroy all the blocks and collect all the coins by clicking on them.

Steve-o — Jun 06, 06 1349

They don't make it easy to click on the two brick blocks down at the bottom of that pit - the arrow keeps trying to hop up into the way (which in turn makes a big pop-up).

Overall great site/use of flash, but that is a (little) niggle.

rhywun — Jun 09, 06 1355

I totally agree about Nintendo vis-a-vis Playstation. For me, Nintendo just has better games (specifically, better gameplay). The new Playstation might get better graphics but if there's no Mario, Metroid or Zelda - forget about it. I'm so excited about the Wii & the direction Nintendo is taking with it. For awhile there, it looked like it was touch and go for Nintendo.

Ken — Aug 01, 06 1492

I have to admit New Super Mario Bros is what compelled me to purchase a DS (lite actually).

Karen — Aug 24, 06 1623

I purchased the 2 DS systems when it first came out. One for my then 9 year old son and one fro me. Up until a month ago we played seperately but I purchased the 2 systems so that we could play the games togther if we wanted to. Last month we took the games on vacation with us and discovered that play NSMB together was Lots of FUN. So now every night for about 1 hour -- prior to bedtime -- we play. I even went to purchase another NSMB so I could practice on my own. I love the game and it has increased my son's hand/eye coordination. It also gives us Mom and son time, to do something we both love -- video games. I researched the Wii -- I am interested in the price -- I might have to be one of the first in line to get one. If you are thinking of purchasing a handheld game that is fun for all ages -- the DS is the way to go.

Owl oo — Sep 02, 06 1687

I LOVE the Nintendo DS. It is the best system that I've bought/played so far. I really like Trace Memory. It's a good game if you like mysteries and puzzles. The Nintendo DS is definitely worth it!


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