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Game Review: New Super Mario Bros U

December 27, 2012

Sequel to 2009’s New Super Mario Bros Wii, the 4th entry in the “New Super Mario Bros” franchise is the first Mario game to be in HD, as well as the first major release from Nintendo for the Wii U (not counting Nintendo Land.) The “New Super Mario Bros” franchise has received criticism for lack of innovation from some, while others have loved Nintendo’s return to 2D Mario games. I myself have played the original New Super Mario Bros for the DS had fun with it (although some of that fun came from the multiplayer mode, which brought quite a few memories with a few friends and family members, but that’s a story for another day.) That being said, I’ve understood the criticism for the series. Which was part of the reason I passed on playing New Super Mario Bros Wii. However, since this game is the current top title to own for the Wii U, I figured I should give it a try.

Controls: This game can be played with either the Wii U Gamepad or your Wii Remotes. The back of the box does not specify you need to have Wii Motion Plus Controllers, (I haven’t test it out yet), so your old Wii Remotes should work fine. For those playing with Wii Remotes, the game should play exactly like the original New Super Mario Bros Wii. So if you’ve played that game before, you’ll be fine jumping into this game. The Wii U Gamepad can also be played with in a few ways. It can act as the main controller for the single player game (although you can use the Wii Remote for that as well), a controller option for multiple people, and (if you have 5 people) you can use the Gamepad to assist other people by placing platforms in game through the touch screen (Personally though, I think it kind of cheapens the game. However, I haven’t tried it yet, so I could be wrong. Your millage may vary.) For those who want to play New Super Mario Bros U while another person uses the TV, you’re in luck, as the entire game can be played out without using the TV at all. In fact, I spent most of time playing the game this way.

Graphics: As per usual, I don’t factor graphics as a big part of the score for a game. That being said, the game looks beautiful on both the TV and the Gamepad. I swear, it looks to me like the gamepad is streaming the game in the exact same resolution as the TV, and since I believe my TV goes to 1080p, that’s pretty impressive. Some people will write off the game’s cartoon-ish art style as not being “Next Gen” graphics, but I have to shake my head at those people. This game looks pretty damn beautiful, and shows that Nintendo can make a damn good looking HD game.

Gameplay: If you’ve played New Super Mario Bros Wii before, it should be exactly the same controls as that game. For everyone else, the controls are very simple, considering it’s a 2D Platforming game. Depending on your skills with Platforming games, you may find this game a little too easy for your tastes. However, in my opinion, that doesn’t make NSMBU a bad game. The simplistic controls make it easy for anyone to enjoy, and while it may not challenge everyone, it does allow it to be enjoyed by all, which makes it a great game for get togethers. Any game that can provide great times for groups of people is good in my book. But again, if you’re looking to be challenged, the main mode may not be best for you. That being said, look below at the features section…

New Features: New Super Mario Bros U adds quite a few new things to 2D Mario games. One of the things that will probably be overlooked by new players, which I really enjoyed, is the seamless transition between moving to new worlds on the Overview map. This has been requested by many veteran Mario players for a long time, and it feels great to finally have a 2D Mario Platforming game that has this. It also has multiple points on the map that allow you to quickly travel back to worlds further away from the one you’re in, as the transition is just as seamless as moving between worlds. Other great features include the new Flying Squirrel Suit, which is actually a lot more fun to use that I thought it would be. Gliding around levels in suit is a blast to use, and is a fantastic substitute to the Tanooki Suit. I also love the addition of Baby Yoshi(s) to the game, which was by far my favorite new feature to the game. These little guys can be carried around to eat enemies, as well as have special abilities depending on their color. Some can act like balloons to temporally fly you around, some can turn enemies into coins, and one type can act like a flashlight in levels where it is pitch black. And the best part is, unlike regular Yoshi(s), these guys can be used in more than one level (Minus the Yellow Flashlight Yoshi(s). Also, they can’t be used in towers or castles.) They are a fantastic edition to the game, and make the game even more fun that it already is.

Also, if you’re a long time Mario/Platforming Veteran, I recommend you try out Challenge Mode and Boost Rush Mode to try to test your skills. I don’t know how long the modes will entertain you, as your millage may vary, but if you’re looking for a challenge, these modes might just give you what you’re looking for.

Final Verdict: Some of this is going to come down to what you expect from games. If you’re looking for a challenge, and a major change in formula to 2D Mario Platforming games, I can’t guarantee you’ll be satisfied with this game. Boost Rush Mode and Challenge Mode may entertain you for a little while, but you might not be impressed with the game. However, it is not a bad game at all. If you’re a fan of platforming games, I think you’ll have a lot of fun with it, especially some of the new features added in to make some minor twists to gameplay. Personally, I had a lot of fun with this game. But, it’s not a groundbreaking new game in the series or to 2D Platforming Games. At the end of the day, it will be up to you to decide whether or not New Super Mario Bros U is worth the $60 price. But I had a great time with it, and think that many people will have a blast with it as well. It is definitely the best game in the “New Super Mario Bros” series, that’s for sure.

I give this game a solid 4/5. Give it a try if you get the chance to play it, as it is at the very least worth a little of your time.


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