A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game encourages people to work together in order to accomplish goals. Players can break open others trapped in bubbles, toss them up to hard-to-reach places, or work together to solve puzzles. But some might not like the cliched "damsel in distress" storyline in which Princess Peach is, once again, kidnapped at the start of the game.
Positive Role Models
Mario and Luigi are presented as the good guys who can work together, as well as with the two Toads (but the game doesn't develop the backstory of these characters). Some might frown on the brothers' strong Italian accents and stereotyped phrases, such as "Mamma mia!" or "It's a me!" In this world, Princess Peach is always getting kidnapped and needs rescuing.
Ease of Play
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is quite easy to play. Gamers simply hold the Wii Remote sideways to control their character, pressing the 1 and 2 buttons to jump or shoot, and shaking the controller to float around. But adding/droppping out players and selecting various worlds is a bit more tricky.
Violence & Scariness
As with past Mario Bros. games, the protagonists can jump on enemies to destroy them, toss a turtle shell at them, or throw a fireball. But this "violence" is quite tame and cartoon-like.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.