A golden effort
First-party Nintendo DLC is a weird concept indeed, but at this point, I'm starting to get used to it.
Despite the fact that one of the three Coin Packs in the last set of New Super Mario Bros. 2 add-ons wasn't up to snuff, Nintendo is back with two more at $2.50 apiece, ready to win your hearts over again.
Thankfully in this case, the Big N has made a solid effort providing us with extra optional content to augment our experience, and it's only getting better over time.
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New Super Mario Bros. 2 Coin Pack Set #2
Release: October 25, 2012
MSRP: $2.50 per pack (2 packs), or $5.00 for the bundle
Pack #1 -- Gold Mushroom Pack ($2.50) - 30,000 coin goal
Although the goal is still 30,000 coins, this isn't as easily attainable as in the first DLC Coin Pack -- and that's a good thing. Nintendo makes you work for your coins here, so if you just want an easy 30,000 every run, I'd opt for the first Gold Rush Pack instead.
There are a lot of cool hidden mechanics here that will take you multiple playthroughs to experience. Like the first level, which features a clever section at the end that makes you earn your x2 flagpole bonus. Or the third level, which grants you a handful of golden mushrooms all at once if you kill certain golden piranha plants in specific pipes.
As you can imagine, one of the draws is that the bulk of your coins will be earned through gold mushrooms, which adds a level of entropy to the experience. As any Mario fan knows, mushrooms will slide across the screen with reckless abandon, so making them appear is only half the battle.
It isn't the best pack that's been offered so far, but it's still pretty enjoyable if you're going for all 30,000 coins. If you just want to experience the stage and couldn't care less about coins though, you probably want to skip this one.
Pack #2 -- Coin Challenge Pack B ($2.50) -- 10,000 coin goal
Challenge Pack B is a much better effort than A. Starting off with a bang, this one features one of my favorite ghost houses in the game. Although the mystery solution for completing the house is a tad ruined for multiple playthroughs once you finally figure it out, getting every coin is still an accomplishment. It also features an awesome Mega Man-style "disappearing/re-appearing" blocks section, which is an easy way to win me over.
The next offering is a Bullet Bill level that's probably my favorite "bullet" level in the entire franchise (yes, even more than Soda Lake!). It's basically a playground of Bullet Bills, with a plentiful amount of raccoon suits and coin rings -- which essentially means you'll spend the entire stage floating around getting coin bonuses for stomping heads and staying off the ground. I replayed the pack multiple times just for this level, as it doesn't get old.
The third level is an odd stage that flings meteors and giant coins at you like a deadly (and rewarding!) tropical storm. This stage is effectively a survival arena, allowing you to run around to your heart's content, collecting coins, or getting mercilessly burnt by galactic rubble. It's very short, but with its unique premise, it's a worthy addition to the pack.
All things considered, this right here is probably my favorite pack so far out of the five on offer. Although the Nerve-Wrack pack was really cool in that it presented an actual challenge, the level design in Challenge Pack B is pristine, and worthy of multiple playthroughs.
There is an online leaderboard through the game's official website, but in true Nintendo fashion, it's extremely lame and bare-bones. I'm naively still pulling for real in-game leaderboards at some point (New Super Mario Bros. 3, maybe?).
The level designers over at Nintendo pulled out nearly every trick in the book for these two packs (both in respect to NSMB2's coin gimmick and general level design), to the point where you'd be hard pressed to figure out what they're going to do next.
While I hope there's a Nerve-Wrack pack in the next session of DLC, these two are easily worth buying if Coin Rush is your thing.