This is a journey, into money.
Loads a’ money.
Money, get away
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay
Money, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I’ll buy me a football team
It soars through my mind like a beautiful bird.
As you can predict from the prologue above, you can take a guess about what it is that fuels Mario’s sixth jumping-and-running journey throughout the Mushroom Kingdom proper. Your guess is correct: It’s money.
And following the tradition of 2D native Mario games, there is no story behind it at all. Princess Peach has been kidnapped again, and Mario tries to catch up with the villains. As such, we do not know why he’s so wad-crazed all of a sudden. Bills to pay, his house being mortgaged, a richman club contest, or wanting to buy one-quarter of a football player for his favorite team? We don’t know!
As such we, as the players, can only assume that he has become money-crazed just for the sake of having money. That doesn’t sound very social-democratic of him, does it?
When it comes to the few parts of the game that remain unaffected, the controls have been shaped up. And they are very precise! As long as you can see the ground, which the tiny weeny 3DS screen often doesn’t show if you’re more than one high platform up in the air.
Going along with the shape-up of the controls, they’ve also “polished” the graphics. I reserve the right to use quotation marks there, since most of the graphics, songs, assets, world maps and enemies are taken straight from New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The only things that are different, are the level layouts and a few new items. Many of the levels feel well-polished and well-flowing, so much so that people with experience from the other New Super Mario Bros. games, will find the first 3 or 4 world an easier breeze than Super Princess Peach. In fact, I will say that the normal exits in the first 3 worlds posed no challenge whatsoever. It was as easy as connect-the-dots.
The game is still largely playable in its first run, but nearly everywhere will you see the signs of Mario’s desires to join the high-fidelity first class traveling set. You’ll see lottery blocks that pop out money. Event switches that spit out money. And at a few points, you’ll get the Gold Flower that turns you into Gold Mario, which allows you to spit gold fireballs with an earthquake effect, turning everything you shoot and hit into money and gives you money bonuses anytime you even stomp or slide into enemies. Yes. That is a thing. With such powerful items, the game is actively trying to force you to join the gold coin bubble, which sounds more like it’d be done by pyramid schemers than by game developers.
Oh, and all the coins you get, are likely to give you a somewhat higher amount of spare extra lives than in other Mario games, since the conversion rate is still 100 coins → 1UP.
Once you’ve defeated Bowser and will try to 100% the story mode, you’ll likely want to try to open up the two bonus worlds, akin to the two bonus worlds in New Super Mario Bros. 1. However, in perhaps the only thing that has changed in this game besides Mario’s wallet, there are some new quirks to the bonus worlds. First off, the location of the cannons are no longer directly proportional to the level you have to unlock them from. For that, I give actual cred to the developers for fixing a source of predictability in the prior two games.
Then, when you do unlock the cannon, and am ready to fire off into the distance for the first time… there is very little in the game that tells you that you are supposed to take active control of Mario and have him jump over long gaps. “Oh, let’s go to World 5. 3, 2, 1, why is he running? Wait, why did he just die?”
And when you do get to the special worlds, known in Unicode English as World-Mushroom and World-Flower, you’ll see that the colouration is a mess. For World-Mushroom, that’s a red background with a red flat floor, with random logos all over the place that must’ve been taken from Mario Kart or something, you’ll get no indication to what environment that the levels will be, but it also distracts from any sort of feeling that this is an actual world. It’s a poker hall, a drug fantasy, a theatre play. Anything but the Mushroom Kingdom.
If you get equal last time numbers on any level in the game, you won’t open one-visit Toad Houses like you could before. Instead, you get something like New Super Mario Bros Wii’s overworld bonus areas, with rainbows and clouds and money and money and money and money! And then more money.
The two-player part will pit you into the story mode in simultaneous co-operation as Mario and Luigi. However, we have not tried out this mode because we don’t have two Nintendo 3DSs. What do you think we are? Game reviewers?
There is also a special coin collector mode available once you’ve opened up some levels. In this mode, you play three random levels in order, with special bonus regulations that adds to or multiply the money stack. For instance, getting on top of the pole in a level will double your current cash stack. Dying once will cancel the current run and you will not score any money from it. If you really liked the order of levels that you just played through, you can store in your one available save slot for level orders. Since it’s tiresome to play through heaps of random level combinations just to find the best ones, it’s very tempting for impatient people to stop the search after the first noticeably rewarding level order, and then play through those three levels over and over again.
With no minigames, and no other sidetracks, I can just as well tell you why Nintendo made ad campaigns worth millions of dollars to tell you that you must gain one million gold coins. All you get is a gold statue on the title screen. There, I just saved you 100 hours. In fact, all you ever get for the money is to see more money on the title screen. Bloody Mario doesn’t even use his newfound money on anything at all! Now that’s greediness to me, a capitalist on such a flustering scale that I don’t recognise him anymore. The money has changed him.
Verdict: Thumbs Down
Plus: It’s a journey, into money.
Minus: Loads a’ money.
Other minus: Very lazy in aesthetic designs.