Number of Players: 1-5 local (Four Wii Remotes and GamePad)
ESRB: E for Everyone
Available on: Wii U
Release date: Nov. 18, 2012
Shigeru Miyamoto is a damn genius. Back in 1981, he created a character named Mario, one of the most well-known video game icons of all time, and he is STILL creating successful Mario games to this day.
When I first saw gameplay of New Super Mario Bros. U (NSMBU), I thought I was really tired of the “New” series. I thought it had been overdone, and that I really didn’t want to play through another New Super Mario Bros. game. Upon first playing, however, I realized that I can never get tired of my favorite little plumber.
New Super Mario Bros. U is Mario’s first high definition adventure ever. Being a huge dork, I have been waiting for an HD Mario game for years now, and I teared up when I first saw the splash screen for NSMBU.
While somewhat painfully similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, NSMBU is a new adventure packed with genius level design, stunning graphics, fun new power-ups, and brand new local multiplayer modes. Sorry guys, there’s still no online multiplayer.
The story, if you even consider it a story at this point, is the same as always; Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser and Mario is prepared to, yet again, travel through eight different worlds to save her.
Mario has two new power-ups available to him: the Super Acorn and the P-Acorn. The Super Acorn transforms Mario into Flying Squirrel Mario, the P-Acorn is the flying squirrel with the ability to infinitely fly. Anyone who has played Super Mario Bros. 3 will be familiar the P-wing.
There are three new Baby Yoshis in the game, and each one has a unique power. They really help you out when you’re in a bind. The pink one is Balloon Baby Yoshi, and he blows up into a balloon to help you float. The blue one is Bubble Baby Yoshi, and he can trap enemies in bubbles, which Mario can jump on to reach higher places. The yellow one is Glowing Baby Yoshi, and acts as Mario’s flashlight in dark, underground levels.
There are three new multiplayer modes: Boost Rush, Challenge, and Coin Battle. In Boost Rush mode, the goal is to complete the level in the shortest amount of time. The more coins you collect, the faster the screen scrolls, forcing you forward. Challenge mode offers a variety of themed challenges, including Time Attack, 1-Up Rally, and more. Coin Battle mode is exactly what it sounds like: a multiplayer mode where the objective is to collect as many coins as possible.
This is not an easy game. It starts off simple, and gets increasingly harder as you progress through the worlds. The first world is extremely easy, so easy that your non-gamer friends can probably make it through the first world on their own. However, they won’t survive long once they enter World 2. The game gets so progressively challenging that even the most seasoned gamers will die many, many times.
The weakest thing about this game, to me, is the soundtrack. It’s almost exactly the same as the one in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and I wasn’t a huge fan of that. Classic Mario games are remembered for a lot of things, but the soundtrack is the main thing that sticks out in a lot of people’s minds. Even someone who has never played a video game in his or her life knows the theme song to Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Mario’s first game on the Wii U fails to have memorable music, which is a crucial element in any Mario title.
If you think you’re tired of New Super Mario Bros. games, open your mind a little and give it a try. This is a solid game that is tons of fun for long-time Mario fans and newcomers alike.
Gameplay: I have had more fun with NSMBU than I have with any other game in the “New” series. Its gameplay is extremely addictive, and the inclusion of the Boost Rush, Challenge, and Coin Battle modes ensure that you will never get bored.
Appearance: This is Mario’s first high-definition endeavor, and it’s gorgeous. It still has room for improvement, but it’s a wonderful starting point.
Sound: The soundtrack is nearly identical to that of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. It is disappointing that Nintendo didn’t hire someone to compose some original music for this game.
Replay value: Replay value is extremely high, as with any Mario title. I cannot count how many times I have played the original Super Mario Bros. Thousands, I’m sure. I can practically play through the first world with my eyes closed. Mario games never really get old, and New Super Mario Bros. U is one of my all-time favorites.