New Super Mario Bros. U Review: More of the Same?

It’s been a long time since a Nintendo console has launched with a Mario game. E3 was all a buzz because of the announcement that New Super Mario Bros. U would be available at launch for the new Wii U console. New Super Mario Bros. U is more of the same 2D side scrolling. However, Nintendo brings back the best of the 2D mechanics and aesthetics while at the same time finding new tidbits that won’t bore the Mario virtuoso.

The first thing you will notice about New Super Mario Bros. U is that it is cute as hell. Everything from the enviornment, enemies and Baby Yoshi will interact with the music. I almost broke my cute button when Baby Yoshi started singing the main line of every song from the level I was in. That being said some people don’t like the cuteness and don’t like the “wah wah” of the dancing koopa turtles.

The level design is as good as Baby Yoshi is cute. After playing New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS I had my doubts. But it is obvious that the higher level staff worked on these levels as opposed to the lower level staff of NSMB2. There are tons of nooks and crannies to explore and devilish star coins to grab. The one complaint I do have of the level design is the backgrounds. Some of them on the HD console look beautiful. One level in particular called Starry Night is breathtaking. However moving from a grass zone, to a sand zone, to a ice zone and then on is just not original. It would have been nice if the lands of New Super Mario Bros. U would have been just a little bit more unique.

That’s not to say that there isn’t original ideas in NSMBU. The Flying Squirrel Suit is a cool addition with similar ideas. With this new suit Mario and company can glide like the Tanookie Tail from past games. However there is also a boost that you can preform mid flight that will launch Mario a decent height into the air. There is also a new addition with Baby Yoshi. This little fella has a hunger for pretty much anything he can find. One bad thing though, while Baby Yoshi is adorable, he tends to practically break levels. When you have a Baby Yoshi with you, as long as you move forward slowly you are guaranteed an easy level. Which may be good for pacing, but not particularly good level design for the people looking for a challenge.

Another way in which NSMBU does break away from the same old same old Mario is through different challenge modes that where added. These challenge modes are great because they allow people to do what people have doing for years. Show off their insane Mario skills. There challenge modes embrace the speed run, coin collecting, enemy hopping fun the maestros of Mario have been perfecting for years. Your best runs and scores are saved in video form to show off to everyone for the future. The challenge mode adds depth and shows creativity for the people over at Nintendo.

One of the new features that is only possible with the new hardware is the interaction in Miiverse. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the Wii U hullabaloo, the Miiverse is a place where people can talk about the game. This brings in a whole new social side to Mario that I only remember from the playground. People can share tips, hints and give warnings, with screenshots, of secrets hidden in Mario World just like when I was told about the secret pipes in the original Super Mario Bros.

Unlike the movement forward in communication with Miiverse, the multiplayer seems to be more of the same from the past. It would have been nice to have seen Nintendo put their foot down with the new console and put in some online multiplayer. But with NSMBU you will find yourself holding Wii remotes doing the same paces as the other games in the New Super Mario games of late. There is a small twist where the person with the Game Pad can create platforms, but honestly this parent mode just doesn’t impress me much. The only saving grace is that multiplayer is usually a toy to Super Mario Brothers and is only really for messing around for a little bit with some friends.

This review is based on a retail copy of the Wii-U version of New Super Mario Bros. U

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