Published on December 7th, 2012 | by octaneblue4
Review: New Super Mario Bros. U
System(s): Wii U
Release Date: November 18, 2012
When the Nintendo 64 launched in September 1996, we got a brand-new, revolutionary Super Mario title alongside its launch: Super Mario 64. Unfortunately, that would be the last brand-new Super Mario adventure that would launch with a new Nintendo console or handheld for quite some time. Fast-forward to over 16 years later, and a brand-new Super Mario title launched with Nintendo’s new Wii U console: New Super Mario Bros. U. And while this adventure may not be revolutionary, it is definitely one of the console’s must-own titles.
New Super Mario Bros. U starts out with Princess Peach being kidnapped by Bowser, which at this point may be an ongoing joke at Nintendo because they probably even know how ridiculous it is that they recycle the same story for a lot of Mario titles. Mario, Luigi, and the Blue and Yellow Toads are knocked into a faraway kingdom, and they must make their way through several different worlds to make their way back to Peach’s Castle.
Because of the console’s native HD support, the game looks great on the Wii U. There’s a lot more attention to detail, especially with the level backgrounds, character models, and lighting. None of these things would have been possible on the Wii. And while New Super Mario Bros. U may not be the game to show off the console’s graphical capabilities, it’s visually appealing overall.
Sound-wise, there some great tunes here. However, a large majority of the game’s soundtrack is recycled from New Super Mario Bros. Wii. And subsequently, many of these tunes also appeared in New Super Mario Bros. 2. And these tracks are exactly the same and not remixed. It’s kind of a shame that Nintendo chose to reuse a lot of the musical tracks, especially considering that the company has plenty of talented composers that can create great new music for the New Super Mario Bros. series.
The game can be played with either the GamePad or Wii Remotes. Either method works perfectly with this game. While the game runs on your television screen, the gameplay also simultaneously displays on the Wii U’s GamePad, if you’re using that to play. And while the GamePad’s graphics may not be as good as the ones on the TV, they’re still great. You can still see the intricate details of the graphics. GamePad play is fantastic, and hopefully it becomes a standard on Wii U releases. Having a TV show or movie in the background while you play Wii U games on the GamePad is actually very cool. It’s also nice to get a close-up view of the action; you may even spot things a bit easier on the GamePad.
In terms of gameplay, for better or worse, not too much has changed from its predecessors. There are some definite noteworthy additions, though. First off, instead of having a map screen for each individual world in the game, each of them are connected on one giant map screen, similar to the map in Super Mario World. Each world has several levels, with most of them having a Tower/Fortress level with a boss (usually Boom Boom) and a Castle at the end. The Castles of the first 7 worlds have one of the Koopalings at the end. Thankfully, unlike what Nintendo did with New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS, these boss fights are not recycled from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and each Koopaling has their own attack pattern. Most of these boss fights are quite fun and interesting, but almost all of them can be beaten fairly easily.
The new addition to Mario’s power-up inventory is the Super Acorn. Grabbing this turns Mario into Flying Squirrel Mario, enabling him to glide, air jump, and cling to walls. And there’s also a special P-Acorn that allows Mario to infinitely fly through one level (unless he gets hit or dies). Also new to this game are the Baby Yoshis. There are three different varieties, Blue, Magenta, and Yellow, and each of them have their own special powers. The Bubble Baby Yoshi (Blue) spits out bubbles, which you can jump on. If you spray the bubbles at enemies, they may turn into coins or items. The Balloon Baby Yoshi (Magenta) inflates itself, allowing you to boost yourself onto higher ground. And the Glowing Baby Yoshi (Yellow) can illuminate dark areas, and if you’re close enough, stuns enemies. The Blue and Magenta Baby Yoshis can be taken through multiple levels, until you drop it or lose it. The full-grown Green Yoshi also reappears here as well.
As with the previous games in the series, there are 3 Star Coins to collect in every level. While some of them are out in the open to collect, others are hidden quite well, so it may take some time to find some of them. Collecting all of them is beneficial, so it’s definitely worth the time investment. Hidden exits are found throughout the games worlds, with some of them leading to secret levels. Clearing these secret levels allows you to skip ahead to a world that’s farther ahead. The game consists of 8 main worlds. Like its predecessor on the Wii, there’s a hidden 9th world in this game that’s unlocked by collecting all of the Star Coins scattered throughout each level. Beating the game will take about 8-10 hours, with more time added if you’re attempting to find all of the game’s Star Coins and hidden exits.
As with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, this one features multiplayer, but actually supports up to 5 players. Up to 4 players with Wii Remotes can play as their selected character, while the GamePad player is able to use the touch screen to assist the others by stunning enemies and creating platforms. It may not seem like much, but it’s a nice way to get another person in on the action. The game does feature a Challenge mode that’s a nice diversion for solo players as well. In this mode, you have to complete certain objectives under a certain time, getting a medal for faster times.
If you enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. Wii, then you’ll likely enjoy New Super Mario Bros. U. Nintendo mostly played it safe with this one, not changing too much of the formula established in this series. But the additions found in the game are great, and the GamePad use is simple but brilliant. This one’s a fun game for your Wii U collection, especially for multiplayer action.
+ Nice graphics
+ Great use of the GamePad
+ Plenty of levels
– Reused elements from previous games
– Boss fights are mostly easy
Final score: 4.5 out of 5