Pictures tell a thousand... coins?
Nintendo dropped a veritable Bob-omb on us today with the unveiling of New Super Mario Bros. 2.
Call me a fanboy but I for one am thrilled. The first two games in the series were great regardless of whether you're a fan of classic style revival or not. This latest game in the series promises to set a new standard for 2D Mario games, and while the pictures don't show much we can certainly glean a few interesting pieces of information from them.
Hopping along to the same tune as Super Mario 3D Land, this game will be borrowing popular elements from Super Mario Bros 3. Most notably, Raccoon Mario (Not Tanooki) is shown with his real flight capability from the power-up's original appearance. The first screenshot we see appears to be the standard grassy plains level we're used to in the Mario series, and with Peach's Castle in the distant background it's clear that this is the first level in the game. That lonesome Goomba bravely trundles forward (Why does Bowser always send a single Goomba at the start of each game anyway? The poor little guy could use some backup...) as a fully-transformed Raccoon Mario flies overhead. The classic P-charge bar is seen in the bottom corner, indicating that Mario will need a decent runway space before he can take to the skies just like in SMB3. We see the standard ? Blocks and bricks, as well as one of the giant block platforms that decorated much of the landscape in SMB3 and Super Mario 3D Land. I wonder if they'll include the famous white blocks this time, which allowed Mario to drop behind the background scenery and enter hidden spaces back in the NES classic.
In the second screen, we're presented with a forest level. Scuttle Bugs – first appearing in Super Mario 64 and making subsequent appearances in Galaxy and the other two NSMB games are seen dangling from webs, and the background features woven spider webs that Mario can cling to like the wire fences in Super Mario World, allowing him to cross a bottomless pit. One thing worth mentioning is that the web Mario is clinging to is missing a few strands compared to the one next to it. Perhaps climbing on the webs slowly damages them, making them temporary footholds.
Next we see a snowy level with glittering snowflakes flitting down in the foreground, no doubt the 3D effect will be in full play during these kind of states. Perhaps the most noteworthy detail is that every enemy in this level appears to be made of shiny gold. What this means is anyone's guess, but I think it has something to do with coins, maybe a hidden switch somewhere nearby will turn all enemies to coins, much like the P switches in Super Mario World. Another detail is the strange platform outcroppings protruding from the pink pipe at the left of the picture. They may simply be bridge chunks allowing Mario to get over the pipe, but if you ask me they look a lot like the bouncy springboard kind in SMW, letting Mario bounce higher the closer to the edge he jumps from. Only time will tell, of course.
The final picture shown during the video conference was what looks like the interior of a castle or a cave. The design reminds me of the Pyramid levels in Desert Land back in SMB3, especially with the giant collection of bricks just begging to have a Koopa shell kicked into them so you can sit back and watch the ensuing chaos. Much less noticeable is the fact that the small gap between the bricks at the right appears to have a platform made of miniature blocks inside, making a tiny tunnel underneath. Is this a confirmation of the Mini Mushroom making its next appearance? Mario seems to have little concern for this mystery however, as he races forth with glorious golden sparkles shining from his body. Possibly a new form of the invincibility star power, or a completely new power-up? I'm certainly interested in the possible benefits of a Golden Mario ability.
So that's all we've seen so far, but there will undoubtedly be more info coming in the near future, with a possible trailer shown at E3. I can't wait to see what this new game has in store for us.