New Super Mario Bros. Wii (NSMBW) may look like nothing more than an expansion of the wildly popular DS title baring almost the same name, but when Nintendo’s ever-quotable Reggie Fils-Aimé predicts that the Wii game will outsell the all-conquering colossus that is Modern Warfare 2 (only on 360, mind), it’s clear Nintendo have high hopes for their ever-versatile mascot.
NSMBW is less deserving of the New moniker than its hand-held brother, proudly displaying its inspirations so boldly that it sits somewhere between homage and greatest hits compilation. Taking its visual identity from New Super Mario Bros., characters, locations, items and set-pieces have been lifted wholesale from the first four Mario games, with particular love shown for Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.
The bizarre vegetable ‘em up Super Mario Bros. 2 (known as Super Mario USA in Japan) is the only title to be disregarded due to its questionable parentage, though if you were in especially tenuous mood, you could argue that the four person ensemble cast present in NSMBW drew inspiration from the black sheep of the NES trilogy. Unlike Super Mario Bros. 2 however, all four selectable characters (Mario, Luigi, Toad and… slightly different-coloured Toad) share identical abilities and are merely palette swaps to facilitate the main addition to the series – four player simultaneous platform action.
Upon gathering three friends, tilting Wii remotes sideways into gloriously minimalist NES stance and jumping into NSMBW, you are greeted that special brand of multi-player experience that only Nintendo seem to be capable of generating. You may note the glaring omission of the word “cooperative” in my description of the multi-player so far, and with good reason. While NSMBW has been designed to be played most effectively with four cooperative participants, it actually promotes devilishly vindictive behaviour and gives you every opportunity to ruin your friends.