Length aside, there are still a few other weird issues that cling to the game. The three new power-ups don’t add much, and in the case of the blue turtle shell, are more likely to be avoided than sought after. The mega and mini mushrooms are fun to play around with (growing huge and shrinking, respectively), but aren't useful in a consistent way. Thus, you're left with just the fire flower - there isn't even a raccoon tail/magic cape to fly with, a series highlight that will be missed.
But what New SMB lacks in the single player, it covers up with a sweet two-player versus mode. You each control one of the Bros., and run through specifically designed levels in search of stars. Whoever gets them all first, wins. Grabbing them isn't the problem, though, it's keeping them. You can jump on the other guy to make him drop a star, or toss a fireball at him, or even nudge him into a bottomless pit. One notably cool moment was Luigi eating a mega mushroom and tearing through a pipe maze as tiny Mario hopelessly tries to stay ahead of the shredding plumbing, chasing his bouncing, escaped star.