Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS announcement features some answers, but raises more questions

new super mario bros 2 for 3ds will revisit old style level design nsmb2

Know this, oh ye fans: Nintendo knows you like that raccoon tail hanging from Mario’s butt. It knows you like that raccoon tail hanging from all kinds of butts. This is precisely why every Goomba, Koopa, and tree in last year’s Super Mario 3D Land had a raccoon tail on its butt. That wasn’t enough, oh no. Raccoon tails had to hang off the backs of go karts in Mario Kart 7 too. Now that people have gotten to run around a three-dimensional land and drive a motor vehicle with raccoon tails on their butts though, the only thing left to do is run left to right really fast while jumping on things with a raccoon-tailed butt. New Super Mario Bros. 2, coming out worldwide in August, will let you do just that. Rejoice.

Nintendo of America confirmed on Saturday that it would bring the latest side-scrolling Mario game to the Nintendo 3DS this summer following a Friday announcement in Japan. The press release was typically oblique, reading: “New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a traditional side-scrolling adventure game featuring Mario, Luigi, and loads of other favorite characters from the popular Mario series.” The selection of screens released alongside the announcement showed off the ubiquitous raccoon tail.

The inclusion of the tail does let us in on what to expect from the first portable 2D Mario game in six years though. At the bottom of the screen is a row of arrows followed by a “P,” which readers with long memories may recognize from 1990’s Super Mario Bros. 3. The arrows light up as Mario runs faster and when they reach the “P,” Mario can fly meaning that New Super Mario Bros. 2’s levels will be built around vertical exploration. The first DS New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii both did away with the full flight powers that marked the Mario games of twenty years ago, making for games that felt more defined by the pull of gravity than defying it.

Other questions remain though. While Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed over a year ago that he was working on a New Super Mario Bros. game for the 3DS, it’s still unknown if it will have an emphasis on multiplayer like New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Also unknown is whether or not this game is related to the Wii U Mario game shown in prototype form at E3 2011.

One final mystery: It’s unusual, even for Nintendo, for a game to be announced just four months before its release, especially a sequel to as popular a game as New Super Mario Bros. (New Super Mario Bros. has sold more than 26 million copies in the past six years.) Why is New Super Mario Bros. 2 coming out before previously announced Nintendo 3DS games? Nintendo’s party line on all games according to one representative is that the company “will not release a game until it’s ready.” It looks like New Super Mario Bros. 2 got ready fast. Probably because all those raccoon tails were already lying around.