Release Date: November 18th
New Super Mario Bros. U Review
It was just three short months ago I was playing a New Super Mario game, but here we are with the launch of the Wii U, and Nintendo saw fit to release yet another one. Featuring Boost Mode, full HD graphics, and off-TV gameplay via the GamePad, New Super Mario Bros. U definitely stands out, but the real question is: how good is it?
What I Liked
The HD Graphics
There’s not much to say on this topic other than that this game looks really good. In full HD, Nintendo really shows off what they can do with the Wii U, giving us a highly detailed and polished world for Mario and his friends to travel through. If this is what Nintendo was able to do with Mario, I can’t wait to see what they do with The Legend of Zelda or (hopefully) Metroid.
It’s A New Super Mario Bros. Game That Feels Kinda New
This is a similar point I made with New Super Mario Bros. 2. The actual platforming in NSMBU is at the top of the pile when it comes to other 2D games in the genre (this include other NSMB games and Rayman Origins). Though there is that sense of familiarity as you travel through the game, they didn’t just rest on their laurels and give us the same game for the fourth time.
The inclusions of the Flying Squirrel suit and Baby Yoshis make going around each level a lot of fun, especially when you use them to defeat (or avoid) some of the new enemies in the game. I can’t really talk about much else new in the game because I don’t want to ruin anything, just know that as you beat each level, there are some very interesting areas you’ll be playing through.
The Fifth Player
A big thing that will be happening with the Wii U is the inclusion of a fifth player on the same console thanks to the GamePad. With NSMBU, the holder of that GamePad gets to be either helpful or a hinderance thanks to Boost Mode. If you didn’t read our preview of the game, just know that you can place blocks anywhere on the screen via the touch pad.
Despite Boost Mode being designed to have you help your friends get through each level as quickly as possible, the most fun is to play a game where you see if you can survive while the GamePad owner tries to kill you. This leads to a lot of swearing, but in the end it’s a tonne of fun and a great way to enjoy the game.
The World Map
Instead of just going from world to world, you have one giant map that you can view at any time. I’m glad they brought this back from previous Mario’s because it allows you to see all the secrets at every one time. Adding to this, by seeing what’s around the corner, you always want to keep playing ‘just one more level’ to unlock more of the world.
Playing on the GamePad
Even with such a multiplayer focus, NSMBU has something special for those of you wanting to play solo. Instead of playing on the TV, you can do everything from just the GamePad, which allows you full use of the TV for anything else. Add to the fact that the screen on the GamePad is beautiful and you have a handheld Mario experience that is better than New Super Mario Bros. 2.
It’s Actually Difficult
One of my big complaints about NSMB2 was how easily you could beat it. Amassing 100 lives took about 30 minutes and the levels never really posed much of a threat. With NSMBU, some of the boss fights require you to have precision movements, or else you’ll die repeatedly, and more than a few of the levels have moments that will take you numerous attempts to beat.
What I Didn’t Like
The Wii Remote Sounds
Anyone who’s played NSMB for the Wii knows that when you get a power-up, a sound will chime in through the Wii Remote. While that’s true this time around, it has a problem. Every time the sound would go through, it would lag halfway through, creating two separate noises that tried to sound like what they were supposed to, but were just way too off. This isn’t anything game breaking, mostly because you can turn the volume off, just odd enough to make note of.
Not Enough Yoshi!
In my opinion, every level should have access to a Yoshi, but with NSMBU, it averages out to only about one or two Yoshis per world. Very disappointing indeed.
You Can’t Use The GamePad To Play Co-Op
Again, this isn’t game breaking, just worth noting. Rather than you being able to play with the GamePad and a Wii Remote while going through each level, the GamePad is either relegated to playing by yourself or Boost Mode. For anyone who has just 1 Wii Remote and 1 GamePad, but two people who want to play, it’s weird to see that you can only play Boost Mode together, as opposed to playing as Mario and Luigi tackling each level together.
Better Than: New Super Mario Bros. Wii
New Super Mario Bros. U essentially takes everything that made the Wii version so much fun and gives it a shot of Wii U in the arm. The graphics are much improved, the GamePad gives you new playing options, and the levels all feel better.
Out of the four New Super Mario Bros. games on the market today, I’d have to say that this Wii U version is the best and also a very easy game to recommend to new console owners. If you want a launch title that you can play with up to 5 people and have an extremely fun time, New Super Mario Bros. U is the best choice out there.
New Super Mario Bros. U was reviewed with a copy provided by Nintendo.