Nintendo may have produced paid DLC before, particularly on 3DS, but it’s now taken its first steps into worldwide DLC on a big-name title. We are of course talking about the DLC for New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the 3DS, which comes in the form of three new content packs for the game’s Coin Rush mode. Each weighs in at a price of £2/$2.50/€2.50, and if you're in the UK and feel like grabbing a bargain you can corral all three in a single bundle for the discounted price of...£6. Oh.
Poorly calculated deals aside, these new additions do provide something new. Unlike the bundled Coin Rush packs that don’t really feature any objective bar score setting, each set tasks you with beating a set coin target based on the difficulty of the levels at hand. This extends the gameplay on offer nicely, as beating these numbers is generally a tough ask. The fact that these levels are all new and not based on those found in the standard game is also a bonus.
The first pack – The Gold Rush Pack - is relatively straightforward. Thousands upon thousands of coins are up for grabs, placed not-so-sparingly into levels that are relatively simple to complete. Gold mushrooms, gold fireballs, and enemies that explode into showers of coins are the order of the day, and getting to the end on your single life will be a walk in the park for veteran Mario players. But, beating the 30,000 (yes, 30,000 coins from three levels of play) target will prove tricky for some, at least until they remember that landing at the top of the flagpole when they complete a level will double their score each time.
Coin Challenge Pack A – the title of which confirms Nintendo's promise of more DLC to come – feels a little lacklustre after the rain of gold coins from the first pack. The Sledge Bros. are out in force here and rather than being tricky to get around or vanquish, they’re more of an annoyance that slows gameplay down as you wait for the right moment to proceed. The level design in this pack as a whole is pretty disjointed, poorly paced, and falls well below the quality of the other two packs on offer. The 10,000 coin target isn’t massively difficult to beat either, meaning that you won’t spend a lot of time with this one.
The granddaddy of the trifecta is the Nerve-Wrack Pack. Never in gaming has a title been so accurate, for this trio of levels will have you tearing your hair out. A missed jump or a dropped step here or there will kill you for certain, and there’s no way that you’ll even get to the end of the first stage on your first run, let alone to the end of the set. No, these three layouts are designed to be played repeatedly, with each playthrough helping you get a little bit closer to that final flagpole. Once you’ve finally set a score, you can go about aiming at that 15,000 coin target – although only the most skilled (or the most persistent) of players will hit it.
At £6 for the lot, the price for these three packs is a little high. When you consider that you can purchase entire games such as Virtua Fighter 5 on Xbox Live, or NiGHTS into Dreams HD on PSN for the same money in the week of this DLCs release, it seems even higher. But if you leave out the utterly forgettable middle pack of the bunch, there’s a good amount of entertainment to be had here for £4. Serious players should at the very least pick up the Nerve-Wrack Pack and settle down for some truly old-school twitch gaming at its best.