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Cracking the Mushroom Kingdom

Before you start worrying about collecting every star coin (see our video) in New Super Mario Bros., you should first know a few basic tricks to getting the most out of the adventure. Our video guide  will show you in detail, but read on for specific details.

1. Use your items wisely

The touch screen lets you hold a power-up for use at any time - if you're hit, just tap the item to bring it out and get your power back. But don't just tap when you feel like it, really pay attention to what types of item blocks you're near. If you're small and see a block that will likely contain a mushroom, check your item stash down below. If you've got a fire flower or blue shell, call it out. Now, that item block up ahead won't just spit out a mushroom, it'll give you another status-changing power-up. Now you're fire Mario and have another flower on reserve. Much better than just getting that mushroom, right?



2. Go to World 1-4 for the mini mushroom

Many hidden star coins in the game require you to be super small, either to enter similarly small pipes or to sneak through tight areas. Instead of scouring the map for a mini mushroom, just warp back to World 1-4, where it's in plain sight. Beat 1-4 again, then warp to any world you may need to be small - an essential skill if you want to unlock worlds four and seven.

3. World 7-5 is the perfect place for infinite lives

We all know that clearing a row of enemies with a turtle shell can get you an extra life, and as long as the shell keeps rolling and hitting baddies, the lives keep on coming. Well, 7-5 happens to have a spot late in the level where you can rack up all the one-ups you want.

Just before the exit, you'll see a star coin nestled in between two rotating Bullet Bill towers. Grab the red Koopa Troopa and throw him inside that gap so he's ricocheting back and forth. Because the shell never stops, every Bill it strikes keeps adding to the point value until every single one counts as a one-up. Takes a while, but hey, infinite lives.

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