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New Super Mario Bros. U Review

by unt1tled

posted November 21, 2012 @ 4:49PM
blog posts

filed under Games


After 31 years in the industry, Mario has been a part of more historical events than most people read about in school textbooks. At some point, there comes to be a time when it seems impossible to put Mario into new situations, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the Wii U-exclusive title New Super Mario Bros. U is actually pretty far from new. In fact, it would perhaps be more appropriate to rename the game as More Super Mario Bros., if anything.

Of course, Nintendo sticks to the same formula as always because it works. There aren't really any other games out there that offer simple charm that the Mushroom Kingdom and Mario's extroverted leaps can provide, especially in a series where 30 years of troubles can be summed up in a simple sentence. Still, though, the mechanics work the same as ever, and New Super Mario Bros. U does offer a few improvements over its predecessors.

The most significant change with this iteration doesn't actually have anything to do with the game itself, but rather the system. Though Mario has made his fair share of appearances on handheld Nintendo devices like the DS, it's a little jarring for his console counterpart to feature elements of gameplay on a controller with a screen embedded amid its center. However, the gameplay is actually pretty solid despite the strange breed between television and tablet gaming.

The next change is the introduction of the flying squirrel suit, which is reminiscent of the flying raccoon outfit from Super Mario Bros. 3, but at least the squirrel suit is considerably more realistic—who has ever heard of a flying raccoon before? Baby Yoshis return, much like Super Mario World, though it can be difficult to make timed jumps as players must hold down the Y button to latch onto the baby dinosaurs.

New Super Mario Bros. U also gives Mario a few side quests, as it were; for example, a purple rabbit will take off on a chase in levels the player has completed, and catching the rabbit rewards the player with a consumable squirrel suit with unlimited flight one time only. Toad House mini-games and challenge rooms also make a comeback for a bit of nostalgia.

The graphics are as prominent as ever, displaying very smooth and polished character models amidst a very picturesque world saturated in bright, vivid colors. New Super Mario Bros. U is the first Mario game in high-definition and it shows.

Players who enjoy forming parties and gaming with friends will also be happy to learn that New Super Mario Bros. U offers a party mode, supporting up to four players in both versus and cooperative modes. The mini-games are pretty on par with the usual from previous games, but there's a strange twist about it; the cooperative mode only supports Wii remotes—as in the controllers from the previous generation, which do not come with any Wii U bundle whatsoever.

As a launch title, one cannot really complain about the tons of replay value that the title offers, but as a Mario game, it falls slightly short of the usual standard. It is still a game that is worth picking up, but it is important to note that it's more like an addition to the previous game on the previous console rather than a brand new venture in the Mushroom Kingdom.

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