Wii got together with old friends Mario and Luigi

By Philip Levin / Asst. Inscape Editor

( Games Press)

By Philip Levin / Asst. Inscape Editor

More than 20 years later and the classic Mario formula still works.

“New Super Mario Bros. Wii” is the first console Mario 2D sidescroller since the Super Nintendo days.

The game takes the same game play fundamentals of the original “Super Mario Bros.” games you grew up with and adds a few touches of new here and there.

The name of the game is as simple but as fun as ever.

The goal is to make your way across 2D levels filled with obstacles in the form of platforms, gaps and enemies.

 There was never anything particularly complex about “Mario” back in the day, but the series always proved instantly entertaining.

The same is true of Nintendo’s latest game.

While “New Super Mario Bros. Wii” relies on the tried-and-true game play of its predecessors, it’s not a remake or a port.

It’s a totally new game, featuring new levels and a mix of both old and new power-ups.

Examples of new power-ups include the Ice Flower, which is the polar opposite of the classic Fire Flower, and the Penguin Suit, which lets you run across ice without slipping.

“New Super Mario Bros. Wii” can be played solo, but up to four gamers total can play together.

With other players on screen, the dynamic of the game shifts a little but it’s still the same classic “Mario” experience for the most part.

With other players running through the levels, there’s a simultaneous addition of cooperative and competitive themes.

On one hand, you must cooperate with each other to make it to the end of the level, but at the same time, you’re competing for power-ups as well as space on the level.

The rapidness of going back and forth between working together and competing is certainly a novelty. The game has the whole “the more, the merrier” thing going for it.

However, there are times when it can be a little chaotic and frustrating. Even if all players agree to play as a team, there are bound to be accidental situations of screwing each other over.

For example, you’ll often have situations where one player accidentally jumps and lands on the head of another, sending that players plummeting downward into an abyss.

Initially, the stupidity of these situations is kind of funny, but after a while, it can become a little frustrating – especially during the more difficult levels later in the game.

Four-player “Mario” is a blast, but there’s something to be enjoyed about playing with just two or even three players.

It’s a little less chaotic, but still fun. Thankfully, there’s the option of playing with whatever number of players between one and four you like most.

It’s rather difficult to pinpoint many shortcomings with “New Super Mario Bros. Wii.”

However, if you want to nitpick, you’ll find small stuff, like the fact that player three and four get stuck with the same character, Toad, with only differing colors to distinguish the characters from Mario and Luigi.

A bigger disappointment is that Nintendo failed to include online play for the game, which just doesn’t make sense. For a multiplayer game, online play is common sense. Yet Nintendo didn’t do it. It’s ridiculous, really.

That said, the game revives something that the advent of online gaming has essentially killed. You know, the old-school experience of a few people gathered around a TV, playing an awesome game together. If you consider this, it makes a little sense why there’s no online mode here.

“New Super Mario Bros. Wii” doesn’t really do anything to wow you, but it does win you over with its combination of nostalgic game play and its novelty of transforming classic “Mario” into a multiplayer experience.  This is a totally entertaining, fun video game that can be enjoyed by just about anyone.