Forthcoming DS title New Super Mario Bros. will be the first side-scrolling Mario game to feature simultaneous multiplayer action, according to Famitsu magazine.
The game's producer, Tezuka Takushi, told Famitsu that it's all thanks to the DS's dual screens, which give players the freedom to move about independently. Although there will be a co-operative element to the multiplayer mode, the focus will mainly be on competitive play.
Versus mode is for just two players, but there are plans to include a load of mini-games for up to four opponents - including, possibly, the mini-games from the DS version of Super Mario 64.
There will be plenty of in-jokes for old days Mario fans, such as hidden blocks containing 1UP mushrooms and flagpoles. Although it's a side-scroller there will be 3D versions of goombas, piranha plants, cheep cheeps and the like.
The music will be a blend of brand new tracks and revamped tunes from the original game - including, naturally, the Super Mario theme.
As previously announced, NSMB will feature special power-ups such as a mushroom that can make Mario massive enough to take up the whole screen. We also now know that he can shrink down to tiny proportions, too.
There are lots of other new gameplay elements - for example, once Mario has defeated a koopa troopa, he can use its shell as a kind of skateboard to slide into enemies.
New Super Mario Bros. is out next year.