Months ago Nintendo revealed it was working on a new 2D Mario for the 3DS. Rumors of other new Mario games surfaced with Nintendo nabbing the web address for Super Mario 4. Still, even with all the writing on the wall, we were still taken by surprise when the publisher unveiled New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS (along with four brand new screens).
The early images show a style very similar to both the console and handheld versions of previous New Super Mario games, with polygonal figures in a 2D world. Most interesting of all to us is that first image, which shows the return of Raccoon Mario, the cover star of Super Mario Bros 3. Though we did get Tanooki Mario in 3D Land, this is the first time in a very long time that the simple tail and ears version is back.
Keen-eyed readers will also note that the screen with Raccoon Mario does also has the classic P-meter while the others do not. Perhaps it only appears on screen when using the Raccoon power-up. Could the power be limited to certain levels, similar to the restricted use of Yoshi in New Super Mario Bros Wii?
What we do know for sure is the New Super Mario Bros 2 will be out on the 3DS this AUGUST in the US. That's right, in less than four months! The quick turnaround does pushes us to question if it can meet the incredibly high standards of the Mario series, but it also makes us wonder about Nintendo's bigger plans. Are they releasing a new portable Mario so far ahead of fall to make room for a full Mario launch game on the Wii U in November? Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but it'd be so great were that true.