Mario has always been the poster-boy for gaming worldwide. The Italian plumber, with his plump build, cheery demeanour and comical moustache, is perhaps among the most recognised characters of any media, and his appeal transcends the restrictions of the cartridge into which his likeness is engraven. Master Chief may be a badass dude, Gordon Freeman may have his way with a crowbar, but none can trump the affability exuded by one Mario Mario, and sibling Luigi Mario (yes, their surname is Mario). How did such an unlikely pair of heroes become so popular? While the character of Mario first appeared in Donkey Kong, the true debut of the red-clad adventurer was in his self-titled Famicon classic - a trailblazer that would define the most beloved conventions of not only the platformer genre, but gaming holistically.
Decades later, and Mario still knows how to kick some serious ass. Or, at least, stomp on it. The latest incarnation has found refuge in the sleek confines of the DS, and the two make a lovely couple. New Super Mario Bros evokes the iconic goomba-thwarting, coin-collecting mechanics of yore that first escalated Mario and his brethren to superstardom all those years ago. The game is present in psuedo-3D, with the main personalities conveyed in multi-polygonal glory. Many of the foes, as well as all of the backgrounds, are rendered in crisp 2D, and bear the vibrant pallete and unique art style that is syonymous with the series.
The gameplay is reminiscent of the earliest of his escapades, while still managing to infuse some modern elements and even a little innovation. You'll be jumping, running and pounding your way through some 80 environments partitioned into 8 worlds. Your titular protagonist has at his disposal the usual range of power-ups, in addition to some new ones, such as one that SUPER-sizes your little man into a mega-force to be reckoned with. Overall, the level design is what makes this game stellar - the constantly shifting challenge hinges on the new obstacles that you must surmount. The amount of polish and love that has clearly undertoned the development process from beginning to end shines through above all.
An essential platformer for anyone that loves gaming.