New Super Mario Bros. U is the premier of Mario on the Nintendo Wii U console, the franchise is a staple of the company and an important first impression on blossoming gamers. Mario’s HD premier is set in a beautiful world, filled with classic icons and new favorable locations.
Within recent years I feel that all Super Mario Bros titles should be reviewed in context. There is a giant age-range that these games appeal to, from younger gamers who may be naive to the giant library of Mario titles we have seen in the past, to older ones that have been with Mario since the beginning. Since this game fits into such a large demographic, I feel that age and previous experiences will determine your enjoyment with New Super Mario Bros. U.
New Super Mario Bros. U is one of the most colorful and the most interactive of any of any of the previous Mario titles. This is mostly because of the Wii U’s HD capabilities and inventive Wii U Gamepad controls. I’m not saying this is the best, or even my favorite Mario title, this is simply the most well crafted in both design and gameplay functionality.
Getting back to my first statement, where this game would fit on a list of Mario titles I feel would depend on your age. For older gamers, a lot of New Super Mario Bros U has been done before. It’s a classic 2-D platformer with the same cast of characters and the same gameplay mechanics, all strewn across themed-worlds and challenging levels. For younger gamers that are just starting out, and who I feel is Nintendo’s true target audience every 7-10 years or so, this will be a fantastic introduction to the gaming icon.
Nintendo faced a challenge bringing Mario into the HD generation at long last. The simple, yet highly recognizable characters and enemies all needed to be redesigned with an HD makeover. The Mario worlds and background imagery had to be bolder, brighter and more distinct than ever before. Nintendo probably knew that this would be many people’s first experience on the Wii U, and they needed to show how classic titles would make the transition to HD. In that respect Nintendo did a terrific job, it’s not the same category of HD realism that you may find in ‘Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition’, but it stays true to form in both animated sequences and gameplay.
[quote_right]At times throughout the gameplay New Super Mario Bros U would bring back classic instances of an older Mario title, as if to say, “Remember this? Look how great it looks now!”[/quote_right]There are many moments in the game that are small nods to the older generation. At times throughout the gameplay New Super Mario Bros U would bring back classic instances of an older Mario title, as if to say, “Remember this? Look how great it looks now!”. The airship level was that moment for me, something that sparked a nostalgic instance and made me realize how far back these games span.
Playing on the TV or Gamepad was extremely fun, if you have doubts about using the smaller screen to play these titles, you shouldn’t. At night I actually preferred to use the Gamepad and not the TV screen. The Gamepad is a terrific advantage that Nintendo has over other consoles and after trying it out on New Super Mario Bros U, I can confirm that it was extremely comfortable to do so, all without any loss in gameplay.
The problem that New Super Mario Bros U faces is that it isn’t different enough for long-term Nintendo fans like myself to justify replaying it. It’s a showpiece for me, a way to demonstrate the new Wii U console and its many new features. That being said, for newcomers to the series, it would be a wonderfully exciting and interactive experience that could cement yet another lifetime Mario fan.
The single-player campaign will play out like many titles before it. There are levels that one must platform across, dodging enemies and crushing heads. Hidden power-ups, secret rooms and collectables are scattered throughout the game in classic Mario fashion. You will face your mini-boss, save at your flag post and square off against a larger boss at the end of each level. The levels themselves are beautiful and are perfect HD renderings done in the standard Mario color-palette. All levels and designs that couldn’t have been achieved using the previous Wii’s limited capabilities.
[quote_left]For new comers to the Mario franchise, this will be a fantastic example of what Nintendo is capable of doing with classic titles.[/quote_left]Multiplayer has a few new tricks, even for the seasoned gamer and their friends. In the multiplayer mode “Boost” one person assumes the role of Mario while the other is a sort of mysterious god of the Mario universe. Using the touch-screen controls on the GamePad your partner can draw platforms to help Mario reach across the large gaps, or to reach enemies or unlocks that weren’t possible before. The screen auto-scrolls adding a frenzied approach to platforming, the more coins you get the faster it scrolls. It’s often times a hilarious instance of miscommunication and unwanted Mario death or missed jump. It’s a fun gameplay mechanic to try out and one that I hope is elaborated on in future titles or DLC.
Challenge mode offers a more traditional gameplay feel, allowing multiple players to face off in different locations while trying to achieve the highest score. Reaching the score will unlock new challenges for you to enjoy.
For new comers to the Mario franchise, this will be a fantastic example of what Nintendo is capable of doing with classic titles. It’s a positive outlook on bringing classic games to the HD world and should put a lot of questions to bed regarding the playability and functionality of the Wii U or the Wii U gamepad. It’s a game that any Mario fan, young or old would enjoy but it isn’t one that an older Mario expert has to have. For the younger generations, I would highly recommend the title and hope that creates another fans of the beloved series.
The new highly detailed world of New Super Mario Bros U is a terrific first step for Nintendo. The game delivers a strong single-player campaign filled with gorgeous levels and challenging surprises. The multiplayer modes are fun and engaging offering both co-op and competitive play.