New Super Mario Bros. puts a fresh face on some of the most familiar game play from the 1980s. It's old school in style, a 2-D side-scroller with timed jumps and butt-slams, but the graphics are jazzed up for the Nintendo DS, giving it a nice glow.
Thanks to some new power-ups and creative levels, it's also a formula that works fantastically, especially if you spent time as a kid with the original Mario Bros. games.
There are eight worlds with multiple levels, each level taking just a few minutes to finish (assuming you make it to the end; some levels will take a few tries). Most scenes are pretty familiar, but finding a mega mushroom lets Mario grow to huge proportions. Finding a blue koopa shell lets you roll through enemies and attack the game from different angles.
There are a few mini games and a head-to-head mode if you know anyone else with a DS (only one cartridge is needed for two players), but the meat of the game is the single-player adventure. It's probably more fun to anyone who grew up with a Nintendo Entertainment System, but Mario's travails are challenging enough to please any kind of gamer.
TITLE: New Super Mario Bros.
SYSTEM: NINTENDO DS
PRICE: $35 to $40
FAMILY GUIDE: Rated E. It's your average Super Mario game, about as kid-friendly as a video game can be.