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New Super Mario Bros. U – Wii U

New Super Mario Bros. U

New Mario U

Platform:  Wii U

Release Date (NA):  November 18th, 2012

Developer:  Nintendo

Genre:  Platformer

Rating:  7 out of 10


Nintendo’s latest Mario installment (excluding Mario & Luigi:  Dream Team of the Mario & Luigi RPG series released 2 days ago), New Super Mario Bros. U is another solid entry in the franchise with all of the quality predictability one would expect with a few new features thrown in to accommodate the new hardware.  While the somewhat formulaic approach to platforming may be getting tiresome for many gamers, the genre itself will need to evolve first.  Certainly I would think Mario would spearhead this fundamental progression, but unfortunately New Mario U largely follows in the footsteps of its older brother, New Super Mario Bros. Wii.  Although I feel as if U is the stronger of the 2 games, it is perhaps not different enough from its predecessor to completely justify its existence.  It is however an enjoyable game, and the issue boils down to whether you’re the kind of person that wants a band’s next album to sound like the previous one, or whether you prefer your musicians of choice embarking a whole new type of auditory journey.

Once again our stout every-man with the killer ‘stache has to fight his way through legions of almost-adorable creatures to rescue the love of his life, New Mario UPrincess Peach, from the clutches of Bowser.  Like many of the games from the New Super Mario Bros. series it also features each of the 7 Koopalings as adversaries, as well as the intolerable presence of Bowser Jr.  Whether or not Bowser Jr. is in fact siblings with the Koopalings still remains unanswered by Nintendo.  There isn’t a whole lot to report on; anyone who has followed Mario on the Wii and/or DS/3DS will feel at home within seconds.  Blue and Yellow Toad return as well, along with various Yoshis.  New items include Mario’s flying squirrel and penguin suit power-ups.  Flying Squirrel Mario is Raccoon Mario that can grab on walls, while Penguin Mario can walk on ice without sliding and sweep through large portions of icy levels on his belly.

New Mario UNew Mario U is an exceedingly vivid game, graphically surpassing the mediocre appearance of New Mario Wii.  New U assumes a facade somewhere between the earlier DS game and the older style of Super Mario World.  The nostalgic caverns are refreshing and other small touches give a nod to the game’s “older” fan base.  The interactions with the gamepad are limited but useful.  Although the concept is interesting Nintendo needs a little more time to smooth out how to seamlessly integrate this feature into the game.  The gamepad functions as the tool of an unseen player whereby all the activity transpiring on the TV can be seen on the gamepad’s screen in real time.  Similar to the Galaxy titles, someone can touch objects on the gamepad’s touch screen with limited activity, mostly useful for stunning unrelenting combatants.  The most notable feature is the ability for the gamepad player to draw multiple platforms anywhere on the screen and have those platforms appear on the TV, usable by any of the other players.  This provides access to a number of hard to reach areas, although the platforms disappear quickly and when situations demanding speedy action arise it can be nigh impossible for the character player and the gamepad player to coordinate their efforts.

Another occasionally helpful feature is carried over from New Wii, the potential for multiple players to be onscreen simultaneously.  While jumping on New Mario Uother players for extra height or forming a strategy to deal with tougher foes can be accomplished with relative ease, I find that the multiplayer mode can lead to more problems than solutions.  Most of this stems from an inability to get out of each other’s way.  Since both players must stay in the area that is immediately visible onscreen, it’s tough to execute precise movements if the other person is moving around or simply in the wrong place.  There is lots of mid-air stalemate collisions and inadvertent bouncing off of one another into regions less desired.  The attacks of some enemies relegate characters to a limited degree of movement at times and this causes especially tricky conflicts between the players, generally resulting in some level of loss far beyond what one lone player would encounter.  If you plan to play New U with a friend or 4, don’t plan to take the events of the game too seriously.

The minor puzzle-like elements present in many other Mario titles are conspicuously absent in New U, with the difficultly far below expected as well.  The worlds only become marginally tougher as one progresses and even the most lengthy and involved castles and bosses rarely take more than 5 or 6 tries to overcome.  Even the final battle between Bowser and Bowser Jr. in tandem is relatively simple.  Roughly half of the Star Coins and a few secret areas keep the challenge alive, but all of this can be bypassed throughout the normal course of the game.  Despite how much derision Mario titles face from alleged “true gamers,” the inarguable truth remains; the main Mario franchise consists of solid, accessible, and enjoyable material and New U is no different.  Perhaps its greatest drawback is its failure to really push the platformer forward, though in all fairness Nintendo has perfected platforming games and is perfectly justified in churning out more of the best.

Reviewed by The Cubist



Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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