Nintendo invited the great and the good to sample Mario’s latest adventure in a top secret London nightclub. Read on to discover why Coin Rush is your new addiction.
Olympic fever still resonates in the stoic masonry and bustling people of England’s capital, but that’s not the only excitement fizzing in the air. Last night, Nintendo UK held an exclusive New Super Mario Bros. 2 event in the swanky depths of a classy London basement bar. Free drinks, chocolate gold coins, and the chance to sample the game before it’s released? Count us in!
Your humble writer was fortunate enough to attend this highly exclusive shindig. It was truly heartwarming to see so many 3DS handhelds in one place, clutched by game journalists, sultry socialites and Nintendo staff members alike. Wii units were set up with Super Mario Bros. 3 on Virtual Console for old-school kicks, and for those looking for a comparison, the original DS New Super Mario Bros. was available for play.
But there was only one reason we were there. …Aside from the free drinks.
So how’s the game handle? Truth be told, it’s New Super Mario gameplay just as you remember it. Jolly music with dancing enemies, wall-jumping and pipe-delving, bolstered by the welcome addition of the Raccoon Leaf, the Golden Flower and all that loveliness we’ve discussed before. It feels good, it looks good, it handles with perfect precision. Levels are wild and inventive, new enemies hold a few new surprises, and those pesky Koopa Kids are back.
But this wasn’t just any hands-on session. Nintendo were encouraging a little inter-games-writer competition, competing scores in the game’s Coin Rush mode for the chance to win an enormous shiny bottle of Gold Leaf champagne. That’s champagne with actual pieces of gold in it. Your humble writer conversationally remarked that this must’ve set Nintendo back a few coins of their own, to which the delightful PR representative widened her eyes and nodded slowly and said no more.
Such a prize was only for the greatest of champions, and it’s appropriate… because we can confirm that only champions will survive Coin Rush mode.
The emphasis on money-grabbing in New Super Mario Bros. 2 already twists everything you know about playing a Super Mario game on its head. Coin Rush twists it evenfurther. You start the level with a hundred ticks on the timer, with a few more added if you can grab one of the hidden stopwatches in-level or reach a mid-level checkpoint.
With the clock constantly ticking, grabbing coins becomes a fitful scramble that, in time, evolves into a masterful clockwork knowledge of a given level’s secrets. Knowing where to find the most loot with the most speed is key.
Oh, and don’t forget, if you die, that’s it. That score goes bye-bye. And the third level in Coin Rush is a boss battle. The grief that comes from having an incredible number of coins jangling in Mario’s dungarees, only to be offed by a rampaging shell-slam from a Koopa Kid at the end of the castle, is one of the rawest feelings of loss you will ever experience in videogaming. It’s palpable. It hurts.
But you’ll go back, and you’ll try again, with grim and steely resolve. Nintendo havebuilt in a speedrunning, scorekeeping mechanism into the game, and it’s as excruciatingly addictive as an open cookie jar covered in strobe lights spelling ‘EAT ME’.
Just making it through three levels against a cruel clock with a single life is tough. It’s a true hardcore gaming challenge. Making it through with a decent payload of coinage is a whole other story.
That didn’t stop your humble writer from taking the challenge, of course.
After a few false starts and humiliating efforts, including the obligatory Super Mariomoment we’ve all experienced when you kick a Koopa shell off the wall directly into your own face and kill yourself, the end was reached. The unexpected boss encounter with Roy Koopa almost put paid to my efforts, but finally — triumphantly — I guided the scarily-mortal one-lifed Mario home with the prize.
3DS Buzz, represent! Your dutiful scribe was the first person to submit a score to the leaderboard. Soon, the sole submission read thusly:
Tony — 3DS Buzz — 574
574 coins! Without dying! First score of the night! Pleased was I with this result.
But soon enough, the scores trickled in. It wasn’t long before other videogame journalists started hauling home 1,000 or more coins in their triple-level death-dodging gaming gadabouts. As my pitiful display trickled down the board and my attempts to better my score were scrambled by fickle fingers and inebriated ineptitude (curse you, tasty Mario-themed cocktails), I knew all hope was lost.
As I resolved myself to the knowledge that I, puny manchild that I am, failed 3DS Buzz readers worldwide with my atrocious effort, I sighed wistfully as I bit into a chocolate golden coin so generously provided by Nintendo, and kissed goodbye to my inner fantasies of frolicking around London, pouring glassfuls of gorgeous gold-dust-flecked champagne over all and sundry to the soundtrack of Gangsta by Chromeo.
But that’s the beauty of New Super Mario Bros. 2. Even if you dismiss it as ‘more of the same’, even if you deride the coin-clasping mechanic, the fact is that the monetary emphasis changes the very way you approach a Super Mario game, and Coin Rush doubly so. When Mario’s only got one life to live, you want to make it count. The threat of death has never loomed so large in any Super Mario title.
So already your humble writer looks to seek redemption for his pitiful display. Already he dreams of scampering through a Coin Rush speedrun paradise of glittering currency, heaving home huge handfuls of glimmering gold. One by one, the gaming journalists around me that night conceded defeat, casting wistful looks at the Gold Leaf champagne they’d never taste (or the epic hair of the nearby Official Nintendo Magazine UK editor; epic hair which cannot be replicated by conventional Earthly means).
Only the most dedicated gamers remained hunched over the luscious 3DS XL machines as the rest of us enjoyed the Nintendo hospitality of the evening. And it was then that I realised…
New Super Mario Bros. 2′s Coin Rush is possibly one of the most hardcore gaming challenges ever created.
The risk-reward mechanic of making it through three levels in a tight time limit with one life and as much coinage as you can snag is… simple, yet effortlessly ingenious. Like all Nintendo’s best ideas. And with Coin Rush featuring as a StreetPass mechanic, the competition is going to heat up in your community. You might think you’re indifferentnow, but when you start seeing other people boasting scores that eclipse your own on levels you thought you’d mastered…
You won’t need a bottle-of-bubbly incentive to want to set the record straight!