-Princess. Plumber. Rescue. Angry turtles. About as passé as it gets. Does anyone play Mario games for the story though?
-I obviously cannot comment as to the difficulty of the later stages of the game, but having played through all of World 1, most of World 2, and a couple of later stages in Coin Rush mode (one from W3 and I believe the other was 5-3) I can say that thus far it seems as though this game is going to be a little too far on the easy side. I did, however, read that the secret stages are pretty tough, and some of the downloadable coin rush stages are supposed to be very hard, so in the end it sounds like the game should appease all types of gamers with respect to the difficulty found therein and how it appeals to their particular preferences.
One thing in particular about this game is that the immense focus on coin hunting now present in this game (more on that later) means that you get extra lives by the dozens. I have over 40 lives in World 2......kind of defeats the purpose of them, does it not? Then again, one could argue that they never really meant much anyway
-Classic Mario. Cheerful, upbeat sounds and music. The only downside is that a lot of the music is recycled (although I have heard some pretty cool remixes in some areas of the game) from previous titles. And yes, the enemies dance to the music at times just like they did in NSMB on the Wii. A lot of people hated that but many loved it and I count myself among their ranks. It's a cute little touch that helps engender that classic "Mario Magic" feeling you get when playing (and my 4 year old daughter LOVES it).
-It's a solid continuation of the formula carved out in the 80's and expanded upon (somewhat) in NSMB1. Classic 2D Mario gameplay mixed with some of the features (mostly Mario's manoeuvrability featured in the 3D titles and a few modern twists. The biggest change from NSMB1 to NSMB2 is the aforementioned focus on coin hunting. This game is absolutely obsessed with coins, and a host of new powerups, environmental objects and an extra game mode (Coin Rush) exemplify this.
Unfortunately, I cannot say that this focus on coin hunting/accumulation enhances the Mario experience in any significant way, and while it is true I cannot as of yet say that it detracts from it, I suspect that may be the more likely of the two scenarios by the game's end. Or, of course, as it is now, it might just remain fairly neutral in my eyes. Not exactly a glowing endorsement of the game's most publicized feature/innovation (personally, I don't think it deserves to be called that, at least based on my experience thus far). There are moments of the crazy coin accumulation that are exciting and trigger a bit of the Pavlovian response they were clearly going for, but at the same time, at most times it's just there and on a couple of occasions thus far I'd say it was a (slight!) detriment to the proceedings (took focus away from the platforming (which is still the most prominent aspect of the game (being, you know, a platformer and all).
If Nintendo thought this would be Mario with loot, leading to an insanely addicting game, they seem to have been mistaken. Maybe if Mario's abilities could be upgraded, and they added magic or something......
(I bet that is planned for later instalments but if not, and they read this and implement that Nintendo owe$ me big!!!!!) :P
-Great! Bright, colourful, and crisp. Looks very nice on the 3DS's top screen. Art style is identical to that of SMB1.
-Probably the best aspect of the 2D Mario series is the spectacular control. Even dating back to the 80's when games like Castlevania and Mega Man were stiff and not very responsive the little plumber that could felt like he was pretty well in your control, and that has only improved since with further iterations of the series. This game controls very, very well. Any time I make a mistake I feel that the blame lies solely with me and never rests on the heads of the development team due to some control related issue. Kudos to Nintendo for that, because I cannot say the same for all platformers that I have played over the years.