There has been much debate over the additional power ups in New Super Mario Brothers. Do they add very much to the game, and how do they compare to our favourites of old. Possibly the most maligned of the new abilities is the shell suite. Admitedly following in line of mario suites that feature in most players favourite mario moments, this little outfit has its work cut out.
However, of the reviews I have read the majority have missrepresented this power-up that provided me with a good few interesting play experiences. Leaving the actual dynamics of clading the player in a new outfit to one side, the main issue here is understanding what the turtle shell gives you.
Firstly, there is the invulnerability aspect of the suite. This has been pretty well documented elsewhere. Essentially, you are safe from most enemies once you have got up to speed and are hid inside your shell.
Secondly, and this is less widely talked about, is the ability to destruct bricks from the side. If the only available face of a brick is the left or right, the shell enables you to bash your way through it. This is used in the game to provide access to some of the harder to reach secret levels and exits.
Thirdly, is the unmentioned ability of the suite to let the player slide up slops that they could not normally walk, run or jump up. This can be used (particularly in the ghost mansion level with dissapearing stairs) to easily access areas that previously would have been awkward or impossible to get to.
Finally, there is the aforementioned dynamic of having a whole new outfit for our little plumber guy. Something that gives the player the sense that their avartar is more real, in the game world.
For my play experience, the shell is one of my favourite power-ups.
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