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New Super Mario Bros. 2 DLC Impressions: Fun but Overpriced

As a massive fan of New Super Mario Bros. 2’s Coin Rush mode, I was actually pretty gosh darn excited for the recently-announced DLC Course Packs, which hit last week. The new packs introduced three sets of three brand-new courses each, with each set costing $2.50 (for a total of $7.50 for all three sets).

I managed to blast my way through each of the packs, from the very easy Coin Rush Pack to the balls-busting Nerve-Wrack Pack, and I’ve got my full impressions after the break.


Coin Rush Pack

This pack was billed as an easy way to get to the maximum of 30,000 coins, and I’d say that’s a pretty fair evaluation. The game pits you against a slew of courses, each filled to the brim with opportunities to double up your coins: Gold Flowers, Gold Rings, tons of enemies, and tons of opportunities to use your gold powers to rake in coins from the environment.

img_vol1_pack1_course1In the first level, the name of the game is watching out for two things: time clocks to increase the level’s short timer and hidden alcoves where extra coins and clocks are hidden. If you can do all this and successfully jump off the Goombas at the end of the level to reach the flagpole, you should be able to rack up the 3,750 coins you need to ensure a 30,000 coin run (provided you successfully double your count in each of the three levels) fairly easily.

The second level has you following a gold ship through a long coin-filled course. Grab a Gold Flower and strike Gold Rings, then use the Cheep-Cheeps jumping out of the water as springboards to stay airborne and grab tons of coins with each successful jump. There’s a place about midway through where you’ll hit three blocks and collect three Gold Mushrooms. Leap onto the blocks here and climb up to the alcove above to find some extra hidden coins.

The third level is a castle level, but there’s no traditional boss. Instead, you’ll smash through blocks with either your Gold Flower or the plentiful Mega Mushrooms scattered about. Don’t worry about your Gold Flower if you pick up a Mega Mushroom – it’ll get added to your Item Stock and you can re-use it later. The main trick here is finding a spot in the level where you can head down a branching pathway that contains many, many more coins than the default way.

It was definitely easy, and it only took me two tries to figure out the best ways to maximize my coin counts. This one will be good for anyone looking for the cheap satisfaction of collecting tons of coins without resorting to cheap Koopa Shell tricking.

Coin Challenge Pack A

This pack was frustrating in the good way. The levels are somewhat nonsensical apart from the coin-collecting goal, which might be a bit unnerving to players who prefer the main game to Coin Rush, so I’d definitely say that this pack isn’t for everybody.

The first two levels were particularly jarring. Course 1 was set in the sky, among a series of those colored blocks from Super Mario Bros. 3. You have to negotiate your way around those blocks while using your Gold Flower on enemies to get the maximum coin count. The level required a lot of backtracking and zig-zagging rather than the tight platforming of traditional Mario fare, which might tickle some people’s fancies but came off as a rather disjointed approach to level design.

img_vol1_pack2_course2The second course involved those annoying platforms that elevate or descend alternately when you jump on them. They move painfully slowly, which makes the level somewhat nerve-wracking in the sense that you have to wait for the platforms to get you where you want to be before you can move on.

The third course is another castle level, and it’s designed much more like a traditional Mario course, with lava and Podoboos everywhere, Sledge Bros. to overcome, and a good amount of decent platforming. Take care when walking on the Donut Blocks so that you don’t accidentally drop into the lava!

Because it doesn’t feel as though you’re gathering as many coins as in the Gold Rush Pack, it’s a little less satisfying to play through, but once you figure out the most effective routes and techniques, it’s an appropriate level of challenge for a mid-range Coin Rush Course Pack.

Nerve-Wrack Pack

This was by far my favorite Course Pack thanks to the sheer level of challenge. Nintendo wasn’t playing around with this one! Each course is challenging in a fairly unique way, and farming them for coins is a lot tougher than it looks.

img_vol1_pack3_course1The first course was hands-down my favorite. It involves using P-Switches to change a string of coins ahead into blocks so you can use them to progress through the course. If you don’t make it to the next P-Switch in time, the blocks will turn back into coins and you’ll plummet to your doom. Getting through the course itself isn’t that tough, but grabbing a whole lot of coins in the process, including every Star Coin, is pretty tough.

The second course is a lava level that requires you to jump on Paratroopas to make it between platforms. There aren’t a whole lot of obvious coins, but using the Gold Flower to get more coins from each successful jump can give you a hefty cash increase.

The last level is a Dash Mario course that has you jumping on a series of Bullet Bills to reach the end. You’ll automatically get a Gold Flower at the beginning of the level, so as long as you don’t sustain any damage you should gain quite a few coins in the process. There’s a secret route that you’ll need to take to grab the Star Coins, but it’s much, much harder than the normal path.

The Verdict

The Course Packs are fun – and seeing levels specifically designed to be used for Coin Rush mode in particular adds a lot of value to the mode. I easily got 2-3 hours out of the experience, which is a lot more than I was expecting given that there were only nine courses included, and that each pack was fixed.

But therein lies the problem. Are nine new levels really worth $7.50? New Super Mario Bros. 2‘s main game contains about 90 levels for $39.99, which comes out to about $0.44 per level; these Coin Rush levels go for $0.83 apiece. And while they certainly are fun, they don’t offer as much as the standard levels, most of which (apart from the Rainbow stages and Dash Mario levels) can be played in multiple pack combinations in Coin Rush mode as well as in the main game. These Course Packs don’t have the same longevity.

Sure, you can keep going for higher and higher scores, but you’ll always be stuck with the same combinations of levels, and those levels will always be exclusive to Coin Rush mode and don’t have any place in the larger context of the game. Given that, you’re actually paying more for less value. I can only really conclude therefore that it’s significantly overpriced.

Maybe had the packs been slashed to $1.50 apiece and $4 for the whole shebang, or offered double the courses per pack to allow for various combinations instead of the pre-set level orders, I could have felt as though I got my money’s worth. As things are, however, I feel as though I’ve overpaid – and if the future DLC follows a similar pattern, you can bet I won’t be buying.

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