Mario @ 120
A solid B
Because now I’m getting emails telling me I didn’t like it: uh guys? You can BEAT the game at 60 stars–I got TWICE as many as necessary to beat it–does that sound like I didn’t like it?? Hello? Anyone? I can semi-forgive those of you that don’t play these games, but those of you that do and KNOW this is the case, I’d appreciate less disingenuousness, thanks.
Also: this is NOT a review–an actual review would…read like a bloody review.
Some more random thoughts after finishing1 the game:
*I’m now 100% certain that this game isn’t anything akin to the lustrous, beaming, 10s its been entombed beneath with extreme vigor by a hagiographic gaming media and I’m inclined, at this point, to give it a very solid 8. (I’m a tough grader, and if I don’t want to play a game compulsively–I actually took a day and a half off from it–it automatically bars it from 9 and north…if I were handing out scores. Which I’m not.)
*Some of the levels border on tedious and/or laughably easy, and I don’t just mean the ones that everyone is going to think are agonizingly difficult and/or unfairly2 designed (like the purple coin levels or some of the speed runs).
*If I had to throw out a number, I’d say I beat 85-90% of the levels on the first try, which seems painfully easy in comparison to pretty much every other Mario ever released.
*The abbreviated nature of the levels (weighed against the more expansive ones in its predecessor) actually got more annoying as time went on: on more than one occasion I found myself really getting into a level when it abruptly-ended, something that I don’t recall happening in Galaxy or Sunshine.
*On the flipside, of course, no level really manages to overstay its welcome, either, but I prefer my 3D, ‘star-finder’, Marios to be ‘epic’ in scope, not the more compact, NSMB-style contained herein.
*Nitpick: this one has the weakest water levels of any 3D Mario, ever–it’s like they tried to make them as uninteresting and banal as possible. (Probably, again, down to the scaling back on overall level design scope.)
*I have to reiterate that this game is not accessible to anyone that either hasn’t already been playing games for years and/or has a lot of patience, i.e. casual gamers that ate up NSMB Wii should probably stay far, far away from this one, even with the ‘dumbed-down’ levels. (And God help them if they try to do some of the ‘comet’ levels–you ever see your Mom throw a controller? She might if she tried them.)
*Some of the gameplay elements are questionable, the big one being Yoshi’s eating mechanic which seems poorly-implemented in that eating foes doesn’t really do anything except pad out your (already-copious) supply of star bits and only actually comes in handy in a scant few, pre-planned, locations.
*One big thumbs-up goes to the method of navigating the galaxies–the map is about a billion times better than the aggravating hub in the first one. (Exit question: why is it no game has ever managed to top the level select map in Super Mario World??)
All in all, I’ve enjoyed my time with it, but I don’t think I enjoyed it enough to soldier on with, well, other things that lie beyond the scope of the primary, 120 star, campaign.
Anyway, is anyone else playing this? Thoughts? Am I nuts? Anyone?
1 So to speak. (For the 3D Mario illiterate: you can ‘beat’ the game at 60 stars.)
2 They’re not.