New Super Mario Bros U Review

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New Super Mario Bros U

Genre:  Side Scroller     Players: 1-5      Online: No     Off-TV Play: Yes

 Trophieswhat are these?
 Broad Appeal TrophyDifficult TrophyFormuliac TrophyGreat Co-Op TrophyNostalgic TrophySimple Controls Trophy

Side scrolling Mario is back at his best.

New Super Mario Bros U

Squirrel Mario

‘New Super Mario Bros’ was released on the Nintendo DS back in 2006 was the first side scrolling Mario game since ‘Super Mario World’ on the SNES back in the early 1990′s. It was a brave move at the time, to take that chance on a 2D game. But it worked. ‘New Super Mario Bros’ on the DS and Wii were huge sellers, a new branch to the Mario franchise was born and with fairly quick succession 4 side scrolling Mario game have been released.

In the Summer of 2012, ‘New Super Mario Bros 2′ for the 3DS was released. By this point, the formula was starting to feel overdone. Playing through the 3DS version felt like a “been there, done that” experience for myself. It was a good game for those who maybe hadn’t played a side scrolling Mario game in recent years, but it was overly familiar for many. The levels rarely added anything new.

Move forward only a few months after the 3DS game, we had the Wii U launch and another New Super Mario Bros game (the term “new”, starting to lose meaning). Was this just too much?

New Super Mario Bros U

World Map

There are still many aspects to this Wii U game that are very familiar. The basic Mario controls, the predictable Grass / Lava / Ice / Desert levels and the looping non-characteristic music that hasn’t changed since the Wii game. However, level designs are much more interesting and some levels are incredibly challenging. Collecting 3 star coins and sometimes even just surviving until the end of the level can give a sense of a accomplishment. However, it achieves that balance of often being challenging, but rarely frustrating.

Some of the later levels are also much more creative in design, such as the Vincent Van Gogh Boo themed levels, skeleton rollercoasters that dive into lava and the return of the giant world.

New Super Mario Bros U

Van Gogh / Boo themed level

Mario has now also been given a lick of HD paint. Looking sharp, but don’t expect jaw dropping visuals – this game does not push those boundaries like the Super Mario Galaxy games did. The game is well suited to Off TV play – Each level being short and sweet, it’s a great pick up and play while watching something in the background.

New Super Mario Bros U

Boost Mode

The gamepad can also be used in multiplayer. While up to 4 players use the TV screen to play as Mario, Luigi and Toads. The extra player can have the gamepad to themselves to help ‘assist’, by tapping on their screen to place down temporary platforms for players or they can tap on enemies to stun them. It’s great, very simple addition that means anyone who isn’t typically interested in gaming, can get involved with very little skill or knowledge. Having got a friend who only plays games like Just Dance and Wii Fit. She enjoyed playing as ‘assist’ and did a great job at it.

Miiverse also makes an appearance during gameplay, with speech bubbles popping up on the map when you die, and you are often prompted if you would like to make a Miiverse entry. Here Miiverse really does give that sense of “empathy” Nintendo have been aiming for. When you keep dying before getting that tricky star coin and then see other players voicing the same difficulties, it’s a bit less disheartening.

There is also a challenge mode included in the game.

New Super Mario Bros U

Difficult Lava Level

While New Super Mario Bros U treads familiar ground and could have benefited from more original ideas, particularly in the music department. It’s level of challenge and creativity within the usual themed levels, make this the best side-scrolling game since Super Mario World.

Head Heart
Simple Controls Fun in short bursts
Great Co-Op Funny moments
Familiar but challenging Dull Music
  Broad Appeal
  Great  85%

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New Super Mario Bros U
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David Lee
David is the founder of Heart Gaming. Regular writer, reviewer and editor. Has a strong passion for gaming; particularly the Legend of Zelda series.