On the last day of E3, Nintendo finally let people get their hands on New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the 3DS.  This much anticipated sequel has its fair share of Mario nostalgia, as well as new ideas to keep the game fresh.

On the nostalgia side of things, New Super Mario Bros. 2 features the famous Raccoon suit that made its debut in Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES).  This suit functions exactly how fans would expect.  When worn, the player has to run to gain enough speed before earning the ability to fly for a short period of time.  The suit also allows for close ranged attacks, via the raccoon tail, and the ability to slow fall when repeatedly pressing the jump button.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 also supports a multiplayer feature.  Two people, as Mario and Luigi, can play simultaneously if both players have a copy of the game.  This is a first for the portable version of the New Super Mario Bros. series.

The typical Mario story applies in this game, Bowser kidnapped Princess Peach, but there is also another goal.  New Super Mario Bros. 2 will, apparently, encourage the player to collect 1,000,000 gold coins.  While that may seem like a lot, this title is literally bursting with them.

In addition to the standard story game mode, there is also another option known as Coin Rush Mode.  This lets the player take on three stages in an attempt to get as many coins as possible.  There is also a bonus for finishing a level quickly, so a balance of speed and collection is necessary.  Once the three stages are complete, the game will award the player with their total score.  In the final build, it will be possible to share this Coin Rush Mode score with friends as well as challenge them to beat it.

I had a chance to play through Coin Rush Mode at E3 and it was crazy.  There were ways to make coins appear behind jumping Cheep-Cheeps and an entirely new item, the Gold Fire Flower.  Obtaining one will turn Mario gold and give the player the ability to shoot gold fireballs.  The fireballs turn bricks and enemies into gold coins.  The amount of Mushroom Kingdom legal tender I saw was impressive.  At the end of one my runs through the demo I was even given a bonus to double my coin total, though I’m not sure what triggered it.

Overall, I’m excited for New Super Mario Bros. 2, which is going to hit store shelves and the 3DS eShop on August 19, 2012 in North America.  I am a little worried that, with all the gold coins flying around, it will be easy to obtain extra lives (as it has been extremely easy in the New Super Mario Bros. series).  Additionally, I fear that Mario may be acting more Wario-like in this title with the gold coin greed, but in the end it doesn’t matter.  The bottom line is that it’s a new Mario game, and it’s fun!

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