A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that New Super Mario Bros. Wii offers fun cooperative gaming for players of all ages. While this "E-rated" game has some light cartoon violence, it is of the jump-on-top-of-baddies variety. The game encourages group play on the same television (perfect for siblings or kids and their parents). There is no online interaction with strangers.
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What's it about?
What better way to reinvent one of the most popular video game franchises of all time than by adding simultaneous multiplayer fun? This is precisely what Nintendo has done with NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. WII, the first game in the series to let up to four players jump, climb, fight, and fly through the vast Mushroom Kingdom -- all at the same time, on the same television. Featuring more than 80 colorful levels, this new "platformer" game has you running from the left side of the screen to the right -- just like the past games -- to collect coins, bounce on baddies, and reach the flagpole at the castle. But this time around, you can share the screen with up to three friends, each of whom holds a Wii Remote sideways to play. At the start of the main mode, gamers select a character to play (the mustached Mario, his brother Luigi, or one of two Toads), each with their own unique abilities, and attempt to rescue the kidnapped Princess Peach (on her birthday, no less). Worlds range from lush green towns to cloud-filled skies, dry deserts to icy levels, dark dungeons, and so on.
Is it any good?
This game is absolutely fabulous. If any game this year can bring together family or friends in front of the same television, it's this "Everyone"-rated title that's easy to pick up but hard to put down. Of course you can play New Super Mario Bros. Wii by yourself if you want, but the game was designed primarily for group play with its handful of cooperative and competitive modes, along with minigames. In fact, some actions require more than one player to pull off, such as hopping up and down on a seesaw to reach high areas. You can also pick up other characters and toss them into the abyss, ride Yoshi (and use his tongue-lashing attacks), or don special suits that let you fly, slide, or freeze baddies. As with its predecessors, this game includes many well-hidden secrets and surprises as a reward to those who explore. It could be extra coins and power-ups, underground caverns or the ability the warp to future worlds. Arguably the finest Nintendo Wii title of the year, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is an extraordinary game that should yield many weeks and months of multiplayer fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Nintendo went from last place to first in the multibillion dollar "console wars" by reinventing how we play games -- namely, motion-sensing control, social interaction, and appealing to a wide audience. Obviously this formula worked, so did Microsoft and Sony miss out with its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, respectively? Or do you, in fact, prefer the more intense, high-definition experiences on these two platforms?
Do you prefer playing a Mario game alone or with others? Why?
What is it about Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom that is so appealing? Why do you think this franchise is so popular?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.