GAME NAME: New Super Mario Bros. U
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): 30 November 2012
Here we go! Another Super Mario game. After the lackluster New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS the launch of this Wii U title has been an underwhelming event on most game-tracking radars. It seems that the Nintendo camp had all but lost that spark that once made a Mario game so exciting, challenging and brought that nostalgic reminder of your youth into account. Nintendo has since promised a revisit to Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World in other Mario games but never quite managed to meet our expectations. Now it seems they’ve achieved all that without ever promising a thing other than that awesome flying squirrel suit.
Our poor plumber must be so tired of Peach never learning a thing as it seems Bowser and the Koopalings are at it again. This time they’ve captured Peach inside her castle and it’s up to Mario and company to save the Mushroom Kingdom once again. Imitating the world map found in Super Mario World players will travel trough the standard eight worlds that cover the luscious green Acorn Plains though to the bastard icy Frosted Glacier levels and later some of the best stage design we’ve seen in the Soda Jungle.
It’s that very stage design that catapults this into the ‘instant classic’ category. The stage design is literally out of this world. Each and every platform Mario jumps on has been given much thought. There are hidden bits, levels that are so tough that it will take veterans a good few lives to master and the boss fights are right out of Super Mario Bros. 3, which means it ain’t perfect but they are some of the best 2D boss fights in a Mario game. Don’t forget that this is now all presented in 1080P, a first for any Mario game. The use of the colour spectrum is a far cry from anything on other consoles. You want bright and colourful to show of the capabilities of the contrast on your television set? You’ve got it. It’s gorgeous… and… well… cute.
The Flying Squirrel Mario Suit might grab all the buzz, I mean who does not want to glide from platform to platform, but there is more that you should be aware of. Yoshi fans will be glad to know that he’s playable on selective levels, which drives that Super Mario World atmosphere home a bit further and that there is now a Baby Yoshi. It’s a smaller, but fatter version of Yoshi with a set of droopy eyes. Pick them up like items and press the ZR button to inflate him and help you reach areas you usually would not have access to in a hot air balloon fashion .
Where New Super Mario Bros. U comes to life is in the multiplayer arena. Here up to four people can play as Mario, Luigi and two Toads and a fifth player can take control of the Tablet controller. Depending on your stance you can either be very supportive, by tapping on the Tablet controller screen to place blocks to help the other players reach areas or save them from a pitfall… or you can be sadistic and kill them off by randomly placing blocks in their path or covering up warp pipes. Add the fact that the other players can pick each other up and lob them into a blocked off Piranha plant and it brings that Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers feel right back in the living room where it’s been missing for years.
Nintendo has also taken to time to include some Demon Souls technology. Yeah, I know that sounds terrible, but the fact that you can leave messages during and after doing a stage is a pretty nifty feature. I found a level in the Soda Jungle where I racked up 1UP’s. I left a message and had people thanking me for the advice. It’s a really nifty feature that also had be being cautions on some levels, watching out for whatever it is I was warned about. It’s the first time you feel as if you’re part of a greater Mario community in the world whereby you help one another. But wait! There’s more! Nintendo have included extra modes should you tire of the just about endless secrets in the campaign via Challenges, Boost Rush (Time Trial) or competing with friends in Coin Battles. If that’s not enough you can spend your time trying to catch Nabbit, a sneaky little bastard that steals a toad’s belongings and leaves it to you to get it back – it’s right out of Rayman Origins and works like a charm.
It’s a glorious return to form that sadly will only be experienced by the few who bought the Wii U at launch (and I still can’t grasp why the co-op can’t be played online with others), but if you have been considering a Wii U (even in the slightest) this should be the first game you buy. U owe that to yourself.