Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is a 2D platformer for the Game Boy. It is an entry in the Mario series as well as the sequel to Super Mario Land which is also on the Game Boy. The basic story is that during the events of Super Mario Land, Wario has taken over Mario’s castle. The door to the castle is locked and can only be opened by inserting six golden coins into it. To obtain these coins, Mario must travel to various themed zones, complete the levels, and defeat the six major bosses of the game. With the six golden coins in hand, Mario must storm the castle and reclaim what is his. Pretty simple.
You play doing the general Mario things. You can run, jump on enemies, use the fire flower, collect coins, and even do the spin jump to hit blocks below you. As with Super Mario Land, here you can ring a bell that’s generally higher up at the exit of a level to access a minigame where you can try to win extra lives or powerups. One is a crane game while the other has you lighting one end of a series of connected fuses as mice get in the way to alter the path. You still go through levels and fight bosses here as well. It’s not incredibly new or different as far as the basics go, though there are some new things here as well.
Similar to Super Mario World, you have the freedom to travel on an overworld to select levels to play or replay as you see fit. Some even have secret exits that require a specific powerup or a branching path. The difference here is that you have the ability to play the zones in whatever order you would like. You still need to generally play the levels of each zone in order, but you can pick and choose how you want to tackle the zones. Each zone has its own theme, with corresponding enemies, environments, and music. There’s also the new carrot powerup, which gives you bunny ears that allow you to descend slowly, greatly increasing your jump distance. The fire flower can destroy certain blocks now as well. Another interesting change is how the coins do not give you extra lives directly. Instead, they can be spent in a specific area on a slot machine game to possibly win more lives. The more you spend, the better the possible rewards will be. You also get an enemy counter for how many enemies you’ve defeated. Defeating enough will trigger a star to fall, much like in U.S. version of Super Mario Bros 2 and collecting cherries. So it’s a new, yet familiar kind of experience.
I like the feeling of the game. The variety of enemies and environments makes it feel very different than the standard Mushroom Kingdom type of stuff we’re so used to now. It’s a pretty good length Mario game for the time and especially for the system, sporting an autosave function with three files available. The music is pretty catchy too, as it has a general theme remixed throughout. The gameplay feels pretty good, even with the larger, more detailed visuals that remind me a lot of Super Mario World. The open ended nature of how to tackle zones is a nice little treat too, with lots of secrets to find within the levels if you’re looking. And the conclusion of the game will put your skills to the test, which is a fitting way to send you off.
However, the ending of the game is a big jump in difficulty. It makes sense that it’s harder than the rest of the game, but because of the open ended nature of game this turns into a difficulty spike rather than a linear game’s ability to create a difficulty curve. The music can feel a bit repetitive because of the repeated theme sometimes. The visuals are nice, but having more colorization for systems that allow for it would’ve been nice, especially after the first game. The larger visuals are nice, but they do decrease the speed of the game so you’re not just running into things you can’t avoid. Still, the slower pace may be off-putting for some. Also, the bunny ears can be a little strange because holding A allows you to float down. So sometimes you’ll try getting altitude off of an enemy’s head and time it incorrectly. Hitting it too soon will make you float over them and hitting it too late will stop your ascent short, defeating the purpose. Plus, holding the button until you hit the ground will make you bounce automatically, but I’ve yet to find a real use for this function. It’s a neat powerup, but it can be a real headache as well.
Still, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is a lot of fun. It’s basically like a Game Boy translation of Super Mario World with a different atmosphere and more freedom. It’s a definite classic. If you like Mario games, Super Mario Land, Super Mario World, or Game Boy games in general then I would definitely recommend this game for twenty bucks or less. Maybe even twenty-five if you’re really interested. It’s a really fun time. Plus I’m sure it’s on Nintendo’s eshops so it’s not exactly the hardest thing to get your hands on. So what are you waiting for? Go get your castle back!