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New Super Mario Bros. U – Wii U

New Super Mario Bros. U – Wii U

Platform: Wii U

Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 4

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date: November 18th, 2012

Genre: Platformer

Rating: 8 out of 10

Reviewed by: Solo Joelo

Food for thought: In 2013, it was reported that the average age of a gamer was 30 years old. In 2015, Super Mario Bros. will be 30 years old as well. Yes, the game that birthed modern gaming will be 30 years old. In that 30 years, we have seen 19 Super Mario games (and in 12 of those years no Super Mario game was released); New Super Mario Bros. U is the 18th game in the acclaimed series. I have not played a Super Mario game since Super Mario 64, a game which is forever ingrained in my memory, just like all the Super Mario games that had come before it. I know all the secrets, all the tricks, and, not to brag, I discovered most of it on my own without the help of the internet.

You can spend 200+ hours on some modern video games, but before video games were capable of being vast and ever-expanding through the help of DLC and upgraded systems, developers had to add in little Easter eggs to keep their gamers invested in said game. Video games have never been cheap, so it kept the gamer population happy to be able to return to these games that will be forever limited by their hardware.

It may sound like I’m going way off topic here, but this knowledge is essential to understanding where this review is coming from. I missed out on the GameCube and Wii, but after playing the first level of New Super Mario Bros. U at a local gaming shop, I sold my Xbox 360, and my 50 something games for it, and picked up a Wii U in order to place this game. As an older Super Mario player who has more or less been there since the beginning, I can tell you that New Super Mario Bros. U does not disappoint.

3

Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and Super Mario 64 all reinvented the franchise. This new title doesn’t have those bragging rights as it is essentially an upgraded version of Super Mario Bros. Wii, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to marvel at here. The graphics are crisp and the scenery is beautiful (I particularly enjoy all of the Frosted Glacier levels). All of the Super Mario staples are here: Bowser-kidnaps-Princess, fluid controls, quirky and memorable score, secrets abound, varying difficulty, and a lot of easily avoidable deaths. It is a very easy game as they start you off with 10 lives, which doesn’t quite give the player a sense of tension and urgency like previous titles, but it also allows the player to breathe a little easier and enjoy the view.

With the help of modern hardware, you can beat the game in a number of ways. You can either casually play through it, or you can go hardcore and try to collect all of the Star Coins. There are three Star Coins in each level, and as the game progresses they get more hidden and difficult to reach. That doesn’t mean that the game itself will get harder for casual players though – as with all Super Mario games the difficulty curve entirely depends on the level you are playing. There are some early levels which are frustratingly difficult, later levels which are a breeze, and vice versa. The first ghost house that you run across is particularly loathsome, simply because when you finally find the exit you’ll feel like an idiot for not realizing it was hiding in plain sight.

zlCfzRzGRnARvfu4fpThere is a noticeable lack of new elements, however. You fight the Koopalings in updated airships straight from Super Mario Bros. 3, and there isn’t any new, fancy power-ups that will blow your mind like the Tanooki Suit or the Cape Feather. At times, the re-use of older Mario devices reeks of fan service rather than tropes. Despite the incredible level design, the lack of new elements can make the game drag on at times; there are some worlds that you just want to get over with so you can see if anything new and shiny awaits you in the next one. This makes the game ever so slightly disappointing, even though it looks and feels amazing, but alas it is the sorry job of a critic to find things to criticize.

One new element of the game that doesn’t really have much to do with the game itself is the edition of Miiverse posts present in the gaming world. There are little balloons people on the Miiverse can leave to read for you, and you can also put posts on the gaming world for other players to read in real-time. This helps you ask for help if you need it, brag about beating a level, or vent your inevitable frustration after you die for the tenth time on a water level. It gives the game a sense of community, and if you don’t like it, you can turn it off with a click of a button (well, two clicks of a button, but it’s not a laborious process in removing this element if it annoys you).

2New Super Mario Bros. U is a beautiful, well-designed game that has something in it for every type of gamer – whether they grew up with Super Mario Bros.or Super Mario Sunshine. It is yet another testament to Shigeru Miyamoto’s craftsmanship that the most disappointing aspect of this installment of his beloved series is that it doesn’t measure up to the best games in the series. While it may not be a must-play game like the earliest Super Mario Bros. titles, it is a game that should make you want to purchase a Wii U just so you can play it.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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4 Comments

  1. Nerdberry
    Nerdberry says:

    Dude this game looks gnarly. Like a badass throwback to the classic platforming days of the ’80s and ’90s! I know ONE DAY I’ll own a Wii U… BUT WHEN?!

    I’m just not sold on the gamepad. To me it’s gimmicky, even if it is functional. I want the pure and straightforward Nintendo gaming of the N64 and GameCube days. I know a lot of people weren’t crazy about the GameCube, but I think it’s an amazing system with a very great game library.

     
  2. fantasticfink says:

    I want a Wii U now 🙁

     
  3. Solo Joelo says:

    Thanks ChronoSloth!

     
  4. I’ll be sure to add you on Miiverse, Solo! I’m CloudStrife37 on there. Great review 😀

     

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