New Super Mario Bros. 2 Game Poster Image

New Super Mario Bros. 2



Fun platformer rewards perseverance, offers good co-op play.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about socialization and the merits of perseverance in this fun, all-ages platformer. A local co-op mode allows kids to play in tandem, working through levels simultaneously, likely chatting, joking, and cooperating with one another along the way. Plus, some of the more challenging levels require players to practice hard in order to execute perfectly timed jumps to reach rare rewards, teaching kids that diligence and patience can pay off. New Super Mario Bros. 2's primary goal is to entertain, but its co-op mode offers ways to solve puzzles with friends.

Positive messages

This game promotes friendly cooperative play via a local area network. It also suggests that practice and perseverance are key to overcoming obstacles.

Positive role models

Mario is, as ever, a good little fellow willing to brave strange hazards en route to rescuing a kidnapped princess. He remains an archetypal hero in games, unequivocally good, even when he's hopping on hapless goombas. However, the series continues gender stereotyping, with Princess Peach remaining, as always, a helpless damsel in distress.

Ease of play

Difficulty is on par with other Mario platformers. Veterans will be at home with the game's tight running and jumping controls in minutes. However, no tutorial means it may take rookies a while to figure some things out, such as when you can fly and when you can hover when under the influence of a Super Leaf. Happily, extra lives come at a rapid pace. Plus, if players fail a level more than a few times they'll be offered a white raccoon suit that makes Mario invincible to all enemies.

Violence & scariness

Players jump on odd, cartoonish creatures to flatten them, bop them with a bushy raccoon tail to make them fall off the screen, and strike them with fireballs. Mario and Luigi can be burnt by lava, eaten by fish, and poked by spiky objects. They jump up and exit through the bottom of the screen when defeated and always reappear unscathed at the last checkpoint. 

Not applicable

This game is part of Nintendo's gargantuan Mario franchise. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a typical Mario platformer game. Mario engages in a bit of mild violence -- hopping on enemies to flatten them, shooting fireballs -- but it's directed toward cartoonish, mindless, decidedly non-human enemies. Like other recent Mario games, this one supports co-operative play and makes for a fine social gaming experience (note: both players need a 3DS and a game cartridge). This game supports the 3DS StreetPass wireless communication feature, but personal information is not exchanged. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

What's it about?

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. 2 is all about the money. Players will collect tens of thousands of the series' iconic coins as they work their way through Mario's latest side-scrolling platforming adventure. It bears most of the hallmarks of previous outings, including a princess kidnapped for reasons unknown, dozens of short levels ending with a jump to the top of a flag pole, and loads of hidden items, including 1-up mushrooms and green vines into the clouds. But its Midas touch is what makes this game stands apart from its precursors. Metallic cash can be found spurting from pipes, floating in air bubbles, springing from a brick helmet as Mario moves at high speeds. This cascade of coinage multiplies Mario's lives at an almost disconcerting rate. Skilled players can expect to finish the game with hundreds of extra lives. Co-op sees pairs of players -- each with their own 3DS and game card -- chasing after this golden bonanza together, and StreetPass mode lets players compare their best hauls over three random levels with other kids.

Is it any good?


New Super Mario Bros. 2 is, as the world has come to expect from games starring everyone's favorite plumber, a wonderfully entertaining play. The controls are satisfyingly tight and the thrill of finding hidden areas and power-ups remains as compelling as ever. What's more, the new objective of collecting and adding to a running tally of tens of thousands of coins scratches an itch that Nintendo has been nurturing among its fans since they smashed the first coin brick in the original Super Mario Bros. more than a quarter century ago.

But it doesn't really move the franchise forward. Aside from the constant gold rush, this game feels very much like past Mario adventures. What's more, there is evidence of a bit of sloppy level design, apparent in some hazards that are unfairly hidden from view until it's too late. These problems come up only a handful of times throughout the game, but are all the more notable because we've so rarely seen such issues in past Mario games. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is among the very best and most easily recommendable games available for the 3DS, but it falls short of matching the excellence of its modern predecessors.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about playing games with friends and family. What are some of the advantages associated with shared interactive experiences? Can you think of any detriments? Do you prefer to play alone or with friends?

  • What do you think about Mario having to rescue Princess Peach? Is that stereotyping gender roles?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Subjects:Science: motion
Skills:Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
Available online?Not available online
Release date:August 19, 2012
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Adventures
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief

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Teen, 13 years old Written bystvn8or August 21, 2012

Great Game

Sponsors Teamwork, but associates it with some safety problems that can be easily avoided and minor violence.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Easy to play/use
Safety and privacy concerns
Parent Written byMr. Mario August 26, 2012

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Great! 8/10
Kid, 9 years old September 8, 2012


This was so fun
What other families should know
Easy to play/use