Newer controls just as the original did, but now you have the option to use the Classic Controller or Classic Controller Pro. Oddly, the Newer team did not map the buttons exactly as they were in Super Mario World on the SNES. Instead, run / fireball is mapped to "b" (bottom button), jump to "a" (right), and spin jump to "x" (top).
Run / fireball is also mapped to "ZL" on the left shoulder and spin jump to "ZR." This scheme isn't as awkward as it sounds, and after playing for a minute, I deem it extremely efficient. It's great if you have a Pro with fat shoulder buttons, but the "Z" buttons on the original Classic Controller are tiny little nubs, eliminating the benefits of the alternative scheme.
There's currently no way to remap the buttons, and the in-game button prompts still refer to "1" and "2" on the Wii Remote. Since this is a fan hack, however, I have no worries that the team won't address this problems and issue a patch down the line.
The new music is a mix of original compositions and remixes of past tunes. Gone is the annoying "bwah bwah" chorus that has become the bane of every NSMB soundtrack, but unfortunately, the replacement tracks lack a lot of the trademark Mario series peppiness. Maybe they get better as the game progresses, but the early stages sound very sleepy.
But I've gone on long enough about the downsides. What's the goodness?
When you launch a new file, you are greeted with a text box and jingle reminiscent of Super Mario World's intro. Then you are plopped onto a revamped Yoshi's Island -- you can even visit Yoshi's House, which holds many secrets as you activate the game's various Switch Houses.
Oh yeah! I forgot to mention that the Switch Houses are back!
The first castle was not a castle at all but a giant tree with honeycombs that you climb like fences. At the top, you battle a giant Fuzzy by tossing blocks at it. From the screenshots in the gallery, there's apparently a Thwomp boss later on, so that ought to be fun.
The Star Coins you collect in each level now serve as currency in Mushroom Shops, which are run Lakitus in various guises. For example, the first world Lakitu appears as he normally does, while the second world Lakitu wears a hat to keep the desert sun out of his eyes. Lovely little touches like this really show the attention to detail.
I could go on and on about all the minute changes and features in Newer Super Mario Bros., but you can experience it for yourself right this second. It's an impressive endeavor, and I'm extremely glad that homebrew can be installed so easily on the Wii to make this possible.
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