Released in 2012, New Super Mario Bros. 2 once again innovates the series by adding a numeral at the end of its title.
Best time with warps: Single-segment 0:26:39 by Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener on 2015-03-06.
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Well my 27:00 run was dedicated towards my dog Tyke, this time my 26:39 is dedicated towards my brother's cat Binx who unlike Tyke got killed by a hit and run driver at such a young age of just 1 year and 2 months..
The 27:00 got beaten as early as 3rd October 2014, back then it was my first stream of attempts with the max coin tally and it only took me two tries to beat it. The time I got back then was 26:54, I wasn't satisfied with the run because I made Bowser perform an extra slash during the final boss fight costing easily 3-4 seconds.
I didn't go back into the game until mid February 2015, I did a livestream event called New Super Mario Bros. 2 Done Very Quick, playing nearly 5 hours of the game per day focusing on either Warps and/or Warpless, by the end of the week I managed to cut my time down a bit further on both categories as my:
PB for warps = 26:47
PB for warpless = 49:55, ~24 seconds off from WR
Sometimes it's good to have a break so after that week I decided to play Fantasy Zone SMS and got a time that is good enough to submit.
After that week, I did a few more runs. The concentration for the run is so tight that I couldn't do a livestream of it whilst running the game. Partway through the week I got a 26:46 with two notable mistakes in the run costing roughly 3.5 seconds overall. March 6th 2015, just over 5 months after my 26:54 run I managed to get a very tight run with an obvious mistake that would NOT make a difference after rounding down the time.
How did I save so much time?
Total Coin Tally update skip:
Not the most obvious trick but maximising the total coins to 9,999,999 not only gives you a new fancy title screen but also saves time in a speed run.
After completing x-Canon, x-Tower or x-Castle stages, the tally usually has to be updated first before the save question screen pops up. However, if you max the counter, it skips the tally update, cutting down time by quite a bit. The longer the category, the more time you can save and judging the optimisation for this run I can easily say 26:39 and below is impossible to get without maximising the coin tally.
New power up route.
W1-1: Super via checkpoint
W1-Tower: Leaf via ? Block
WM-2: Fire Flower via ? Block
WM-B: Leaf via ? Block
Number of transformations pauses before World-Flower: 4
WM-2: Gold Fire Flower via reserve item found in W1-Cannon
WM-B: Leaf via ? Block
Number of transformations pauses before World-Flower: 2
Lastly: tighter, faster strats for some of the courses most notably W6-Ghost and W6-A.
Tricks used in the run
Regular flying is when you reach P-Dash speed and then press and hold the jump button to do regular flying, the only downside is that the speed actually decreases and is slower than dashing speed.
Dash flying is a term when Mario/Luigi is ascending height but has the speed equivalent to P-Dashing instead of the slower regular flying speed. This is done by mashing both Dash + Jump at the same time. This enables the plumber to stay at max speeds whilst flying. It is also called spin flying as it requires to use the spin attack.
The somersault jump is unique as it is one block higher than the regular jumps. I use this on Worlds W1-1 and W6-5.
Doors, while it's faster in-game time to touch the very edge of the door, it's faster in real time to try and enter as close to the middle as possible.
Gold Fireballs are used on one stage to kill an Urchin guarding the pipe. For regular fireballs, it's the only NSMB game to have a fixed rate of fire, go right next to a wall and mash the fireball button, you'll probably only get 2-4 fireballs out after a second.
Picking up the Star not only makes the plumber invincible but it also increases his max speed. The most notable examples are Mushroom-1 and Flower-A
Flagpole: As long I don't hit the very top (1-UP) the score pops up from the bottom and rises to the very top. Then Mario/Luigi performs their victory dance and enters the castle.
Apparently, aiming for 2,000 points is the fastest way to finish the victory sequence.
Vertical auto scrolling sections (Mushroom-B and Final Battle):
This game only load up objects when the camera is nearby to that area. For example I purposely used a Super Leaf reserve to show exactly where I am off-camera, as I didn't move for ~ 2 seconds, the checkpoint finally loads up and I hit the flag without moving.
The optimisations for both of those vertical auto scrolling sections are very tight due to the nature of waiting for the camera to load up the object/platform I need to use to progress further into the game.
Now time for the actual comments about the run itself.
A pretty simple stage. The old route hits a checkpoint flag to become Super Mario, not anymore in this new route.
Usually the same as the previous run but the timing for the first screen strat as Small feels a bit different and I found a faster pipe entry strat by the end of the course.
Probably the only course before World Flower where it feels exactly the same despite playing this stage as Small Mario.
[W1-Tower -> Hidden Exit]
Strangely a challenging stage in the early part of the game now. Not being Raccoon Mario means I have to be careful of Dry Bones patrolling above the wide ? block.
The most notable element that is literally new to the franchise, jumping into the cannon isn't enough; you'll have to deal with a short autoscrolling section similar to Bit Trip Runner. In the old run, it was pretty easy being able to fly over enemies, this time around I have to hit the Red Coin Ring and pick up all 8 Red Coins to obtain a Gold Fire Flower which will be used later on in the run.
Two funny mechanic quirks:
1) You are forced to run to the right.
2) If you want to start flying right after falling off the edge, you have to jump at least once after reaching P-Dashing speed.
Used to be a run killer in the new power up route for Any% but for a good star pickup, if you do a quick crouch, it turns out to be a reliable method to delay 0.2 seconds and jump to the right afterwards as you no longer need to worry about hitting the side of the blue pipe. This keeps Mario's speed to max and allows me to get through the last Piranha plant without having to rely on plan B.
This is the only time you get to see Gold Fire Mario in action. The main reason why I got this power up is:
1) Uses one transformation pause and allows me to kill the Urchin guarding the pipe.
2) The wider blast radius from Gold fireballs is a lot more reliable than regular fireballs.
[WM-Ghost -> Hidden exit]
A non-linear ghost house stage.
Door on the right is the fastest route, Gonquai told me it's possible to hit the first switch with just one jump so shoutouts to him for that one.
The third door on the right has a really short room, as long you know where to avoid the hidden bouncy blocks. This one is kind of annoying because you no longer have fluttering powers in this new route.
Vertical Autoscrollers, originally a nightmare at first trying to figure out the earliest possible way to enter the green pipe at the very top but due to a camera mechanic, it only loads up objects/platforms when the camera is nearby. This means what you see here in this run is actually pretty fast.
The route is slightly different, probably because I have a max coin counter meaning the time would not make a difference if I collect every single coins.
The shortest world in the speed run as I only playthrough 3 stages. I don't think it's possible to enter the secret area without standing on top of the flying block. It's a similar mechanic where you have to use a hidden vine to enter secret areas.
This stage is a potential run killer because if I mess up the landing on one of the platforms to refill my P-Dash meter, I wouldn't be able to fly underneath the massive wall because I wouldn't have enough meter (time) to make it to the other side. I also made a slight hiccup on my way to the yellow one way gates, that part is pretty awkward to figure out as the wall from the right is too far meaning a wall jump method loses more time than saving.
This stage looks intimidating if you don't have the Super Leaf but you can skip most of the tough obstacles by flying over it.
Used to be a run killing level up back in 2013 until later that year where there is a very safe method without getting hit from those pesky raining debris by Dash Flying after making contact with the 3rd bunch of coins.
I take damage here on purpose to hit the orange switch sooner and I use my reserve when waiting for the side platforms to be revealed in the second last room. I found a new time saver by using the left, upper platform and start a jump -> wall jump from there. It's quite risky because if you don't get enough height you may need to perform two more wall jumps.
My old 27:00 run used to have an execution mistake. Not anymore in this run.
The first few seconds of this stage is tough as I have to perform 3 timed tail spins to 'kill' the Dry Bones. The second part of the stage is to try and fill up my P-Dash meter without wasting too much time; it saves a good amount of time right after the checkpoint as I skip having to use the very slow moving platform. In my most recent attempts it turns out that using extra jumps after landing on turrets/? Block is not worth it and the route I used is just as fast if not faster but more importantly, very reliable..
This stage is where you can get a Super Leaf and keep it in reserve while building up P-Meter without losing too much time. The P-Dash needs to be active from start to near the end. I perform the long Dash flying trick and keep on doing it until there is one red arrow left. When that happens, I just hold the jump button and reach to the end.
This is a stage where you would practice a lot on when getting into NSMB 2 speed running, the key trick is to abuse the flutter landing > 2nd jump > 3rd jump. As everytime you flutter before you land, the game thinks Mario/Luigi has done their first jump and so the next time you press the jump button after landing, the plumber performs his 2nd jump animation, followed by his 3rd jump. There are 2 spots in the stage where the 3rd jump is essential to flutter over fireballs without slowing down.
The superbounce from Giant Dry Bones is 50/50 to me right now and getting it saves a bit of time,
Taking damage twice is intentional in the current speed run route as it skips having to wait and dodge the slow moving flame turrets. After the ground pound, I usually go to the right and then wall jump from the left to hop on top of two fire turrets. In this run I mis-timed my jump button and so the wall jump was delayed by 0.3 seconds, what was very fortunate was that the downwards aiming fire turrets were not fully active and I managed to get to the other side unharmed. Despite looking like the most ugly mistake of the entire run, I carried on because
A) I got the superbounce from Giant Dry Bones, negating the time loss.
B) Even if I did not make that error the final time would still be 26:39.
In the third room, I spam the tail spin do not go into P-Dashing mode because it would prevent me from using the flutter command, regular flying is bad here because you lose a lot of speed. There's 2 parts where you have to hide behind a wall so you don't end up being petrified from the flash.
The final boss room is very risky. Fortunately the fireball patterns are not RNG based (luck) but the first pattern is the hardest to dodge without slowing down. This is what I call the choke corridor because I lost a reasonable amount of good runs in this one room alone. It wasn't until early March I've figured out an extremely consistent way of going through the first set of fireballs without taking damage and not slowing down. It turns out that if I mash spin flying, I should stop mashing when I overlap a certain green circle. The other two set of fireballs are much more forgiving as the second set has bigger gaps to squeeze through and the last set only focuses on the lower two heights meaning I can just spin fly over them.
Bowser's boss fight is slightly RNG based; sometimes he throws hammers, spit fireballs or jump really high. The worst case scenario is when he throws hammers so early that it actually hits Mario/Luigi during the flutter.
Part two of the run isn't as bad in a speed run point of view, I've noticed that Bowser slashes a certain amount of times during each section; this means that I could touch the next floor a few seconds later and still not lose time.
The first section Bowser uses his slash at least four times, but it can be five times if you don't touch the next floor sooner. The second section Bowser slashes at least five times and even if you did touch the next floor early, Bowser will perform his fifth (& useless) slash.
The last section is where you can save time depending on the camera's position as it may load up the side platforms. I start flying up on Bowser's third slash startup and then stop flying during the very start of Bowser's attacking frames. That way I know I landed on one of the side platforms, from there I wall jump and then do another jump to land on a giant switch to end the run once and for all.
So there you have it, New Super Mario Bros 2 done in 26:39. Is it improvable?
As with all speed runs, yes it is. Back when I got 27:00 I initially thought you can save 4 seconds at the most. Well I managed to beat the old run by 21 seconds so that says a lot. This run can be beaten by 2-3 seconds unless newer strats like no flying Gold Coin Box spawn becomes a possible thing to do.
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