Nintendo of America is ramping up the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii for its November 15th release date, and earlier today I had the opportunity to swing by the company's office to toy around with a near final version of the game. The last time I tinkered with New Super Mario Bros. Wii was at its debut at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in LA back in June of this year, but that was only in its cooperative/competitive "Coin Battle " mode. This was the first opportunity I had to experience the Wii game in its single player progression, even if I only had enough time to blast through a couple of levels.
First thing to note: Nintendo's not yet ready to reveal how many worlds and levels there are in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but at the very least every level in the game is 100% original – even though the game looks and plays similarly to New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo didn't lift any of those levels for the console version.
The game's overall storyline is so simple it's silly, and the designers definitely treat it as a bit of a joke: New Super Mario Bros. Wii's opening cinematic starts out in Peach's castle during a celebration, when in comes an absolutely ginormous (and highly suspicious) cake sliding in from stage left. It gets thrown into the room, right on top of the Princess, and wanders out of the room with the princess trapped inside: the Koopa Kids kidnap her, leaving Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad and Yellow Toad to run after her – and in the cinematic, the toads fire off a couple of presents that send a shower of Penguin Suits and Propeller Helmets (the "new" power-ups in the design) all over the Mushroom Kingdom. And that's when the game begins.
To check out the two-part Nintendo demo of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, click on the video link above.
The game itself is designed in the same style as the DS game, so you'll get a near identical overworld to progress through. In this map you'll select your level and complete the challenge, which will then open the path (or paths) to the next batch of level challenges. This overworld may have a fixed camera but the elements are completely 3D – you'll even see Bowser's ship hovering around the world's castle to show you where you'll need to go.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is pure 2D Mario platforming that uses the DS game as its foundation. You use the Wii remote in its NES-style orientation, 1 button to run, 2 button to jump. Shaking the Wii remote has different contextual effects as does tilting it. You can even shake the remote at the peak of a jump to get a bit of an airborne stall for better timing at landing on platforms and enemies.