Oh noes! Bowser, probably because Mario was too busy thinking about his tennis tour, nabbed Princess Peach again. New Super Mario Bros. 2 treads familiar territory and begs the question where is the Princess’ frying pan?
All of this is a setup for Mario to jump around the Mushroom Kingdom and stomp on the Koopalings. World 1 is a grassy area, World 2 is a desert stage, World 3 has swimming, and, of course, there is an ice area. New Super Mario Bros. 2 has most of the elements from Super Mario Bros. 3 including the Super Leaf which lets Mario fly. Mario needs to get a running start and since the game has tight controls you might find yourself sprinting through one of Bowser’s forts. Frog suits and Hammer Bros. suits are unfortunately out of fashion.
But, rushing through levels isn’t what New Super Mario Bros. 2 is about. You can rescue Princess Peach is one afternoon. This unlocks additional challenges, but the true challenge is earning 1,000,000 coins. (I think Mario has been hanging out with Wario too much…)Since the goal of the game is "mo’ money for Mario" you want to find caches of coins in the sky instead of trying to clear the board in record time. Unlike collecting star coins, pocketing coins doesn’t require as much finesse. Players need persistence to scrounge each gold coin hidden inside pipes and inside question mark blocks.
There are some "skill" based ways to fatten Mario’s piggybank. Gold Blocks let reward Mario with coins when he runs or jumps. Touch a Koopa Trooper and Mario drops the block, with a potential fortune with it. Certain levels have Gold Blocks for players to find and every once in a while a Gold Block appears overhead for Mario to grab. Gold Rings turn every enemy gold and give Mario five or more coins for defeating them. Assaulting Cheep Cheeps with fireballs is one way to use Gold Rings, but since the game multiplies the number of coins you earn for stomping enemies in a row you want to find a group of goombas. You can also get up to 50 coins from a coin roulette block that acts like the card block at the end of the stages in Super Mario Bros. 3.
The Gold Flower gives Mario the Midas Touch by turning each defeated enemy into at least five coins and regular bricks into coins too. The downside is the Gold Flower, much like the Mega Mushroom, only appear in specific levels and you can’t save one in the main game. The Mini Mushroom is in New Super Mario Bros. 2, but it’s rarely used in levels. The Silver Tanooki suit of shame is in the game too, but compared to other 2D Mario titles, New Super Mario Bros. 2 has fewer traps and gimmicks. Airships that push players across a stage full of pits aren’t in the core worlds.
I spent most of my time playing Coin Rush mode, which gives Mario one life to complete three random courses. Nintendo piles on the pressure by shrinking the clock down to 100 seconds and rewarding players with a coin bonus for speeding through a stage. You also get a Gold Flower in your item block to use at any time too. Since the stages are random, it’s possible to get a group of levels with a Gold Flower in them too. Nintendo threw in multipliers like a x2 overall coin bonus for reaching the top of the flagpole on any level and another x2 bonus if you complete a Coin Rush course. If you want to farm coins – this is the fastest way to do it. Best scores can be shared via StreetPass, but I think New Super Mario Bros. 2 should have had online leaderboards or at least SpotPass score sharing.
It’s interesting to see Nintendo transition Super Mario Bros. from a time attack game into a score attack game, but New Super Mario Bros. 2 doesn’t feel like it has much "new" compared to other Mario games. I’d say New Super Mario Bros 2 to New Super Mario Bros. is like the upgrade between the original Super Mario Bros. and the original Super Mario Bros. 2 better known as The Lost Levels in the West.