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New Super Mario Bros. U Review

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Friday 7 December 2012ADD COMMENTS

Available on WU l Published by Nintendo l Developed by Nintendo l Classified G l Supports 1-5 players

REVIEW IN BRIEF > By now you all know the drill, new Nintendo system = new Mario game. You also know that when it comes to 2D Mario, not much has changed since the days of the SNES. The HD graphics are nice but whether you enjoy this game or not will depend on how much you liked the last 10 2D Mario games, because there isn’t much new to grab on to here.

REVIEW IN FULL > *BREAKING NEWS* It seems that Princess Peach’s security detachment has been caught drinking on the job again, thus allowing Bowser to sneak up on the castle with his seven kids and take over. In the process, the famous plumber Mario, his Brother Luigi and two Mushroom Kingdom residents that no one bothered to get the name of have been conveniently thrown seven worlds away. We can only hope that they can jump, bop, glide and slide their way to the Princess’s rescue… again. On a side note, the Mushroom Kingdom government has finally announced an independent commission to investigate the woefully inadequate police and security force currently “protecting” its royal family.

Yup Mario is back in all his 2D glory for the launch of Nintendo’s latest system and (you guessed it) not much has changed. You’re once again tasked with saving the princess and the only way to do so it to guide Mario through eight increasingly difficult worlds and face Bowser once again. If this sounds familiar, then you have probably played a Mario game in the past 20 years and you won’t find much new here.

You can’t help but feel somewhat bored and disillusioned while playing a game that is almost identical to its predecessors.

This lack of innovation is the biggest problem facing New Super Mario Bros. U. (NSMBU) You can’t help but feel somewhat bored and disillusioned while playing a game that is almost identical to its predecessors. From the lush, garden themed opening levels, to ice and desert worlds, from jumping on goombas to eating things with Yoshii. Even the mini games are almost exactly the same as previous versions. There is simply nothing here to differentiate the game from its pedigree. You have wonder if Nintendo has given up on trying something new with a formula that it knows will sell. It seems to be worried that if the game changes in any significant way, its guaranteed cash stream might disappear.

Luckily then the gameplay is as tight as ever. Nintendo again displays a rare ability to polish a game to perfection and NSMBU is no different. The controls are pitch perfect, the sound is a great mix of nostalgia and new and the HD graphics are, of course, better than ever. This is a game that has had plenty of love injected into it. Without a (much needed) radical reinvention, the 2D Mario experience can’t get much better.

There are some new side features that add a few five minute diversions to the main game. There is a challenge mode where you can take on the mini games and beat your high scores. These usually involve jumping on enemies without hitting the ground or taking out some adversaries within a certain time. They can be fun for a few minutes but you won’t get much replayability out of them. The other newcomer is the Dash mode, in which you can take your Mii through a time based level of the game. You have to keep your character ahead of the moving screen so as not to die. This mode may remind you of some of the tougher parts of the original Mario games and adds a nice challenge to the easier levels.

…if for some reason you haven’t played a 2D Mario game since the days of the SNES, then you will likely get a massive kick out of this new version.

The four player multiplayer mode from the last game in the series also makes a return. With four Wiimotes players can help, or more likely hinder, each other through the whole game. This can be entertaining but often the onscreen chaos becomes too much, making it harder to finish the level and not easier. The one addition here is the ability to use the touchscreen to add blocks to the level on the fly. These are placed just by touching the screen and can be used to help fellow players reach a higher point or simply to annoy everyone. As far as innovation goes, it really isn’t much to write home about.

In the end, the amount of enjoyment you will get out of this game depends on two things. First if you simply can’t get enough of 2D Mario, then you will find possibly the best version right here. Secondly if for some reason you haven’t played a 2D Mario game since the days of the SNES, then you will likely get a massive kick out of this new version. For the rest of you, the sense of “been there, done that” may be too much to get past. There is no doubt this is a good game, but it is the same good game you have all been playing for 20 years.

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