When Satoru Iwata announced that a new Super Mario Bros game would be coming to 3DS back in January, no one took his words literally. Indeed, earlier this month fans were speculating that the game would be called Super Mario 4. Perhaps that's why we were all surprised last weekend to learn that Nintendo will release New Super Mario Bros 2 in August. Nintendo usually save this sort of massive announcement for E3.
Now we've all had time to take it all in, we can start thinking about what features will be in the game. Other than the name and the fact that it will star Raccoon Mario, we don't know much about it so we can only dream about what we'd like to see.
A while ago I wrote a piece on what I'd like to see in a new Mario Wii U game and, though a lot of my ideas would be brilliant in New Super Mario Bros 2 (Super Mario World-inspired map, use of both screens and flying), what else would be great in the platforming sequel?
1. Fresh power-upsThe Mario Galaxy games haven't shied away from including new and interesting power ups, such as Bee Mario, Cloud Mario and the Rock Suit, but the 2D suits have been distinctly retro. Though the inclusion of the proper Raccoon Suit complete with power meter is welcome, Nintendo need to throw something new into the mix so that it doesn't seem too much like just an ode to the classic trilogy. How about a cheetah suit that would allow Mario to sprint, Sonic-style, through levels? Or a suit that makes him immune to fire or lava? Wearing this could lead players to a special secret level or room in a lava level.
Having said that, I'm sure players would also appreciate the return of the Mega Mushroom so that they may see a Godzilla-sized Mario destroying blocks in glasses-free 3D with rubble flying at the screen.
2. Bring back the warp whistlesWith the Raccoon power-up and the theatre-style blocks visible in one screenshot, New Super Mario Bros 2 is clearly paying tribute to Super Mario Bros 3 (skipping past the under-rated Super Mario Bros 2 as a source of inspiration, sadly). In that case, will we see the return of the warp whistles for skipping worlds or heading to secret ones? Having a completely hidden world only accessible by searching high and low for the whistles would be an interesting side quest with a good reward at the end.
3. Different styles of worldsThere is a lot of talk on the ONM forum about mixing up the style of worlds a little. The typical Mushroom Kingdom level, an ice-stage and forest area are all present and correct in the screenshots but what about something different? The factory levels of Donkey Kong Country were always fun to play and robotic-style versions of Bowser's henchmen would be an interesting take on the usual formula, and the world could well end with a Yoshi's Safari style robotic villain.
Thanks to the Galaxy games, this wouldn't be unfamiliar ground for Mario but the plumber could end up back in space as also seen in Super Mario Land 2. Indeed, that 2D NES classic could also be an inspiration for other styles that, though used before, haven't been around for a while. Like a toy-themed section, for example.