New Super Mario Bros. U Review

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Mario has taken his time when it comes to showing off his true colors in 1080p. This has all changed with the release of New Super Mario Bros. U, the fourth entry in the New Super Mario Bros. series; it combines the best elements of prior games and has some new tricks of its own. Are the new levels and suits a good enough reason to venture back through the warp pipe? Or should U leave this princess in another castle?

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Story

It would seem that Bowser hasn’t learnt his lesson yet, as he’s kidnapping the princess again. Rather than taking her to a castle eight worlds away, he’s simply thrown Mario and the crew out of the castle leaving King Koopa with Princess Peach. It’s not anything new, not that we expect a new story for Mario games, but it would have been good of Nintendo to give us a little something more. None the less, this game isn’t about story and doesn’t equate for much of the final product; it simply serves as a basis for why Mario is jumping on turtle heads and eating strange flowers.

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Gameplay

Nintendo hasn’t changed the main staple of Mario, jumping and flying around levels has never been as fun. Taking the same formula as the previous three New Super Mario Bros. games, you run and jump your way through a variety of levels; but rather than 8 separate worlds, every level is linked in one massive over-world much like Super Mario World. The over-world is still split into sections following themes such as desert, ocean and snow much like prior games and at certain points you can choose which route to take completely missing the god-forsaken water levels.

Each level is crafted with an amount of care you simply don’t see in other platformers; they’re imaginative and truly a joy to play, you often wonder what obstacles the games going to throw at you next leading to you spending a lot of lives on one level.

Controlling Mario is the same as ever with from the tight controls you’d expect from a Mario game to the simplicity of the control scheme, with the D-Pad controlling Mario’s movement and one button for sprinting/special move with another one for jumping. Nintendo hasn’t played around with the controls here and there was no reason to; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. One thing to fix is the tilt controls that frustrate me to this very day, much like the entry on Wii you control certain elements using the gyroscope in the Gamepad; this takes away from the otherwise brilliant controls, please Nintendo we don’t need tilt controls in a platformer.

A new squirrel suit has been added to this latest entry, which allows you to glide through the air and give yourself a one-time boost. By far the best and most helpful suit in this game, there’s challenge maps that will test your skills with this suit. These challenges, that vary from 1-Up challenges to speed runs, add a large amount of re-playability due to the countless times you will attempt to get a gold medal; these challenge maps are amply named due to they are the most difficult aspect of this game.

The gameplay overall has seen little change since the previous entries into this series, but the new levels and the squirrel suit add enough to make this game enjoyable.

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Graphics

With the new HD capabilities of the Wii U, Mario has been upgraded into full 1080p and has never looked better. The Mushroom Kingdom has never looked better with sharp images, vibrant colors and beautiful backdrops. The overall look hasn’t changed since the previous games but given the larger resolution looks considerably better than before. By no means the best graphics out there, they are considerable improvement over older games and give another reason to give this game a go.

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Gamepad

The gamepad isn’t used extensively in this title; it’s main use is off-TV play allowing you to play the entire game on the gamepad. It’s a nice addition, especially for those who often have to fight for control of the TV. It’s also used for the new boost rush mode where up to four people play as characters on the TV while a fifth user places platforms and holds back enemies; this can either be very helpful or incredibly frustrating dependent on the person using the gamepad. By no means the best use of the gamepad, it’s useful enough and adds to the experience.

Verdict

The first New Super Mario Bros. game was launched in 2006 on the Nintendo DS and since then the game hasn’t evolved much. The series still has its problems and Nintendo is going to need to start innovating in order to stay on top when it comes to platformers. But when you look at this as a standalone title, the gorgeous graphics, excellent gameplay and the overall difficulty makes this game a must have for any Mario fans and Wii U owners.

New Super Mario Bros. U gets an 8 / 10

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