There’s no way around it: Wii has reinvigorated the entire group-gaming concept. But how to feed multiplayer Wii fanatcisim at any age? Face-Off has you covered. Today, two entries in the classic Super Mario franchise go head-to-head. Check back tomorrow for another match-up.
In this corner… New Super Mario Bros. Wii
“It’s-a-me” has become “It’s-a-mes.” Up to four players can take part in this update of the 2D side-scrolling franchise — like its predecessor for the Nintendo DS, New Super Mario Bros. Wii is more Super Mario World than Super Mario Galaxy. Bowser’s once again captured the defenseless Princess Peach (you’d think she’d start packing heat by now), and it’s up to Mario, Luigi, and two Toads to get her back. Familiar landscapes and enemies dot the levels, with plenty of new twists: the power-up roster has expanded to include a propeller hat and ice-savvy penguin suit, and players can pick up and throw one another to help with obstacles. Mario games are always fun on their own, but this is the first franchise title to get exponentially more addicting as new plumbers join the mustachioed fight.
In the other corner… Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games
Mario Kart proved racing Nintendo characters could be a hell of a lot of fun (who knew Yoshi could burn so much asphalt?), so Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Winter Games once again replaces athletes with princesses and giant monkeys to great effect. Gameplay shakes out — literally — like its summer Olympics counterpart: duck and weave your Wii-mote to help your avatar place in events like curling, skiing, and bobsled. Though the game’s fairly grounded in the actual sports, it incorporates a “Dream Events” mode, where games venture into cartoonish Mario and Sonic land with fireballs and enemies abound. It’s the only game in existence that allows for the words “Bowser Jr.” and “luge” to be used in the same sentence.
And the winner is…
New Super Mario Bros. Wii. It’s hard to deny the charm of a Mario platformer, especially one where playing alone isn’t akin to, well, competing in the Olympics by yourself.