The other big addition to the game is the Coin Rush mode. This takes three random levels from certain worlds (there are various unlockable packs, each containing levels from different worlds) and tasks you with clearing all three of them without losing a life, at which point your total number of coins will be recorded and compared with others over StreetPass.
This does put an interesting spin on things, even though the random nature of the levels does make it a little harder to perfect a high score when the goalposts keep moving every time. Still, this encourages the player to master every single stage in order to prepare for every possible combination. In time Nintendo promises that new Coin Rush stage packs will be added at an extra cost - despite the fact they aren't free we'd welcome them, because it doesn't hurt to have more levels.
This is particularly true when you consider that the main game - as in the original New Super Mario Bros - only has six main worlds (with another two hidden 'main' ones and the now customary extra world at the end). Whereas the hidden worlds were relatively straightforward to find in New Super Mario Bros if you had a keen eye during certain cut-scenes, this time the hidden worlds (2 and 4 in this case) are a nightmare to find and as a result many gamers (especially younger ones) may never find them.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the very definition of bitter-sweet, giving with one hand and then taking away with the other. By default it's the best side-scrolling platformer on the 3DS and yes, it's even better than the original New Super Mario Bros. But that came out six years ago now, and in that time we'd really expected the series to have progressed a little further than just a 3D effect and Coin Rush mode.
In our eyes then, Super Mario 3D Land remains the best Mario adventure on 3DS so far, thanks to its more effective use of 3D, its greater longevity and its wider range of experiences.
Mind you, you should by all means still run out and grab New Super Mario Bros 2 when it's released on 17 August because it still provides another serving of the Mario action you know and love. It's just that in the grand scheme of things it could have been so much more.
New Super Mario Bros 2 is one of the top 10 best 3DS gamesYou can find a bigger review of NSMB2 in the next issue of ONM, a special gold edition complete with free Mario decals for your 3DS! Grab a copy from 1st August.