Console: Wii U
Reviewer: Reid

Pros

  • Mario in 1080 looks as good as it sounds
  • Interesting ways to play when including the GamePad
  • High replay value in the challenge modes

Cons

  • Boss fights are still pretty weak
  • Same plot and game-play formula may get boring for some
  • Mini boss fights are never worth it, and seem forced

Another Nintendo console, another Mario game. You’d think after 25 years of playing Mario games I’d get sick of them. I still love the basic plot and the familiar, comforting feeling when having total control over the life of a mushroom eating plumber. Some love Mario games for the coins, or the level designs, but I love going as fast as I can through the levels at full speed. I think that’s why I hate water levels so much. Whatever you love, or have loved about previous Mario titles, it’s all here in this one.

Presentation A+

Even though you’ll see level designs that your familiar with in previous New Super Mario titles, New Super Mario Bros U looks amazing, and the Wii U really brings out the color and detail without changing too much of the atmosphere your used to. I was very impressed with the character models, especially on the Koopalings and Bowser.

NSMBU has much of the familiar animations from the previous installments, and even though not much has changed except a few things here and there, it is still top-notch, and entertaining when on the screen. The characters that are new to the game provide new animations that look great, and I still love the way some of the bad guys will pause and dance in sync with the music, as it adds a degree of difficulty.

The sound and sound effects are pretty much what you would expect, and have heard in the previous installments, with maybe some slight variations in tempo. The sound is still great, and fits perfectly with what you’re playing. I still personally enjoy the familiar sounds and music in the game, though I can understand the yearning of some for different music.

Single Player Ā B+

Okay, so how does it play? Well, exactly like the previous New Super Mario titles. Of course there are variations here and there. For example, the “Acorn” power-up which turns you into the flying squirrel. Your going to see level themes that you’ve seen before like Ice, Sand, and Lava in which you will traverse to save (spoiler alert) the princess that has been kidnapped. Hmmm…seems like I’ve written that line before in ALL my Mario reviews. šŸ™‚

The star coins return, and provide that extra something to do while going through the levels. I will admit though I was kind of disappointed by how easily I was able to locate the star coins. I know there are only finite places to hide these coins, and maybe it’s because I know where to look, but either way they aren’t that difficult to find. Retrieving them in some cases does get pretty difficult. That’s where the GamePad comes in, and this is a double-edged sword. You see, someone can use the GamePad to make platforms to help the other players reach areas that are very difficult to get to without it. Though there is still a degree of difficulty to properly place these platforms, it makes the gameplay easier while at the same time takes away the satisfaction of finally getting to that hard to reach place.

You can play up to 4 players on the screen, plus a fifth player using the GamePad to either help the players or annoy them. You can also use the GamePad to subdue enemies for a few seconds, or knock turtles out of their shells. I’d have to say that even though it is cool, it seems more like a novelty, and I only really used the GamePad for the platforms.

My major complaint of NSMBU shouldn’t really count I guess, but I’ll bring it up anyway. When there are two or more players on the screen, and one player dies, or gets or loses a power up, the screen pauses for maybe a half second. Again, this is purposely programmed in the game to deliberately make it hard, and is nothing new for the series. Nintendo’s thinking is a risk reward system where if your going to get ‘help’ by adding a second player, they are going to throw in the screen pausing, and bumping off each other to add a degree of difficulty. It messes up my jump timing and frustrates the hell out of me. Again, I understand it completely, it just breaks up the game flow for me.

The difficulty of the game is pretty easy actually, even including most of the star world. The mini boss fights are kind of forced, and they are trying to recreate the ones from Super Mario Bros 3 on NES. The bad part about them is they usually only give up stars. At least in Mario 3 you could get warp whistles, hammers, and frog suits. These little fights also break the game flow, and really the game would be better with out them. The boss fights are still three hits. I understand if Nintendo wants to let first timers learn to play, but at least give me a difficulty option to change the boss hits to 5 or something. I think it’s about time to up the hits.

If you play the game for a few hours each night you’ll probably beat the game in a week. It’s about the same length as the previous installments, and really adds no incentive to replay it. As fun as it is the first time through, if you’ve gotten all the star coins I doubt you’ll go through it again, except maybe when you dust the game off in a few years.

Multiplayer A+

At LAST! A Mario game with great mulitplayer that’s both addicting and fun to play! I mentioned above about being able to play with multiple people on the screen like most Mario games, but the real fun is in the challenge section. The challenge section has 5 modes: Time Attack, Coin Collection, 1-Up Rally, Special, and Boost Mode.

Time Attack is by far my favorite because it tailors to my style of play. I have already unlocked 16 challenges under this category, and the range from easy to INSANE on the difficulty level. Most of these focus on making it to the end of the level, or goal under a certain amount of time, like a speed run. But where it gets really interesting is on the harder ones, you can’t get a single coin. You wouldn’t think it would be that difficult, but it is. And it’s addicting to try to get the gold medal on all of them.

The Coin Collection category focuses on different ways to collect coins. Some levels want you to use triple jumps, others make you only jump on enemies heads while collecting coins and not touching the ground. These are very fun, but very hard.

1-Up rally is good for practice in the real game, as it makes you time your jumps perfectly and try to get as many 1-ups as possible. Some levels require you to get 60 or so, and it takes a lot of patience.

The Special category is really neat. Take the first challenge ‘Fire, Bro!’ for example. In this challenge you literally stand in place and dodge fireballs for an extended amount of time. This category gives even more diversity to the challenge mode.

The Boost Mode challenges involve using the GamePad so you’ll need two players for sure, and it focuses on adding platforms for the other player to reach certain goals. This is quite fun and sharpens your platform placing skills.

There there is the Boost Rush mode you can select when your done trying the challenges. Now, I personally am not a fan of this mode, but that’s not to say it isn’t good or fun, I just prefer other modes. It is an interesting way to play through certain levels where you constantly try to get through them faster by speeding up the scrolling screen with coins. Though I love trying to run through levels, the only goal to beat really is your own time, so I usually feel no incentive to play it. But it is a cool mode.

Want MORE multiplayer stuff? There is also Coin Battle mode. This is where two or more players battle through screens to earn more coins than the other players. This mode is fun as well, and adds more variety to the gameplay.

Like I said, there is an awesome amount of multiplayer fun, and a ton of different challenges under each category.

Replay Value: A+

When you factor in the story mode, collecting all the star coins, the 50+ challenges in several different types of modes, I’d say New Super Mario Bros U provides the most replay value I’ve seen on a Mario title in a while. DLC, I’m sure, will add more to these challenge modes as well.

————

Like always, if you’re a hardcore Mario fan, this game is worth the money and a must have. They didn’t take too many risks as they could have since it is on a new console, but it won’tĀ disappointĀ in any of theĀ familiarĀ Mario areas. It has the best of all your old school Mario titles.

If you’re a casual fan, you might get bored, as it does have aĀ repetitiousĀ feel, but even so you should be able to find enough about it to play all the way through. I mean, how else will you know what happens at the end?

OVERALL: A

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2 responses »

  1. Sounds like a good game, makes the Wii U sound even better now!

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