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New Super Mario Bros U Review

New Super Mario Bros Wii U. It's a flagship title for Nintendo's new flagship console. It's also the first time that Mario has entered the world of HD, meaning that Mario has never looked so good, despite the fact he is getting on a bit. As much as things change though they always stay the same, so while Mario on Wii U does bring innovation, he also brings along a little bit of familiar too.

The beauty and most frustrating part of Mario games as a gamer is that everyone seems to be attracted to them. This is obviously a wonderful thing, but at the same time it's also a bit annoying when you have to wrestle the controller off the kids or the wife so that you can get on with your hobby. Thankfully New Super Mario Bros U tackles this problem quite brilliantly thanks to the inclusion of four player co-op. Now the only problem is if you have enough Wii Motes to go around.

Let's take a step back from the new features for a moment though and look at the world itself. New Super Mario Bros U give players a vast map to play through. As you'd expect it houses the usual entry points to levels, fortresses and castles, but in addition adds a little more interactivity, allowing you to pick up items, defeat enemies, find hidden paths and secrets and even read messages left by other players of the game. The map also includes alternate paths which you can use to make your way to the end goal, meaning that there's plenty to keep you occupied before you even begin.

Starting from the first level, things feel so very familiar and quite simplistic, however as you progress the difficulty ramps, leaving your frustrated as you lose all your lives and have to continue from your last save point. Thankfully as the difficulty ramps so the new power-ups start to appear and you'll need them if you hope to take down the numerous enemies which litter your path to the princess.

If you are as terrible at Mario games as me, then you'll notice that Luigi is present after numerous failed attempts at a level in order to guide you through. In this 'super guide,' Luigi will run through the level and even complete it for you if you let him. You can take over from him at any point, which is handy if you are stuck at a particularly hard section or if you wish, you can just watch his technic and start again.

As mentioned up to four players can take the screen together, allowing you and friends/family to take control of Mario, Luigi and two Mushroom People, while someone else on the GamePad can help all of you along by making platforms appear, to allow you to reach hard to get to places. The multiplayer is fantastic fun, although if you only have one Wii Mote and the GamePad you cannot play co-op, instead the only option is once again to use the GamePad to create platforms, which seems a bit of a shame.

So what else is new? Well I have a particular fondness of the Challenge Mode which throws up all manner of situations such as asking you to dodge the projectiles of a lone enemy, speed your way through levels or get through levels without killing anyone. It's a frustrating experience but one of these highly addictive modes that you'll keep plugging away at until you achieve your goal.

There are other modes too, such as Boost Rush which sees you trying to get through an automatically scrolling level as it increases in speed as you collect coins. The idea here is to clear the level as quickly as you can, although that's easier said than done. Finally there is also the return of Coin Battle, where you rush to collect the most coins, with the player on the GamePad placing Boost Blocks to help players get coins that are difficult to reach.

Graphically, New Super Mario Bros U is a bit of a mixed bag. Sure Mario is now in HD, but there does seem to be something missing. Obviously this is the first wave of games for the console, so perhaps down the line we'll see more but for now the graphics feel all polish and no substance. It just feels like a lot more could have been done to make this, the Wii U's flagship launch game, stand out from the crowd. Maybe I'm being picky in wanting more, because it does look good, it's just that I feel it could look better.

So what is the preferred method of control for the single player, GamePad or WiiMote? Personally I have to say the former. I love the GamePad, it's light, easy to use and it's also pretty great being able to turn the TV off and continue your game on the GamePad screen. You don't use the touchscreen during the main levels, however it all just feels a lot more seamless not having to switch from one control method to the other.

Overall it seems that Mario's first venture onto the Wii U is a great one, although perhaps not an instant classic. Saying that, anyone who loves the Italian plumber and his brother will lap this up thanks to its new features and newly found HD gloss. New Super Mario Bros is addictive as ever and thanks to the GamePad it also has a new lease of life. This is what a launch game should be, addictive, nostalgic and feature packed enough to last you until the next wave of titles and beyond.

(Version Tested: Wii U)


- It's Mario, in HD
- Great new features
- Addictive Multiplayer
- Brilliant Map Layout


- Graphics could offer more
- GamePad can't be used in conjunction with Wii Mote for co-op play only, to Boost

Edited On 30 Nov, 2012

( 26 )
Greigyboii 3 years ago
I thought that the past couple of Nintendo Super Mario games have been a little lacking. Thinking that the juice tank is drying up for Nintendo when it comes to new ideas for its games. This version too seems a little lacking. Great review as always Joe!
Gloria 3 years ago
This is the game I want to play first when mine finally arrives, damn you royal mail, I'll leave Zombi U till after dark, for added atmosphere.
Robichoico 3 years ago
I was impressed with the graphics myself. Mainly because I think there's only so much you can do with the 2D Mario genre. But Nintendo, i'm sure you can surprise me. Personally I found this one a lot more fresh and fun compared to the last few 2D ones (especially NSMB2.) maybe it's because everything feels so new? Personally I'd say the weakness in this one is the lack of being able to play it online. (same goes for Zombiu and Nintendoland.)
Forgot to add. I prefer Gamepad. I'm trying to avoid using the Wii-motes as much as possible.
Robichoico 3 years ago
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
I'm failing to see what this game does that makes it anymore worthwhile than the one on Wii... or even the one that came out on 3DS a couple of months ago. Feels a bit to me like you're softballing this one a bit Joe(no offense). I saw someone do a comparison video showing this running alongside NSMB Wii and beyond resolutions, I seriously could not tell the difference between the two games. This is the game that Nintendo is using to justify the purchase of a 300 pound console, so I don't think it's asking a lot to see it put under the microscope with a bit more scrutiny to see what it actually offers beyond "nostalgia and Mario in HD". No online multiplayer alone is a serious negative I feel should be included in the review.
Not every game needs an online multiplayer, and you'll never understand the appeal of a Mario game as you're a PS fanboy kevin.
Gloria 3 years ago
I'd sooner be labelled as such than be so blinded by childish mascot nostalgia that I'll pay full game prices (And apparently super expensive new console prices) just to play games that look no different from any of their predecessors that came out years before on older hardware. Also very rich you being so quick to play the "fanboy" card Gloria...
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
You could argue the same with a LOT of games. Medal of Honour, Battlefield and COD all look like the exact same game to me. The Halo series look samey too. As do most of the racing games. Simply put. A lot of games need to be actually played. Or seen on their consoles to appreciate the differences. And if people are buying a Wii U for just this one Mario and nothing else at all then yeah. Shame on them. But I seriously doubt that is happening. It may be the one they want the most. But just about everyone has bought something else. (Hell I got 7 titles on my Wii U and Mario was the one I wanted the most.)
Robichoico 3 years ago
Good for you kevin, accepting your fanboyism. Me, I'm generally pretty impartial, and have good things to say about all the consoles, but freely admit Nintendo is my favourite. I just don't see the need to make up lies about other consoles to put them down like you do.
Gloria 3 years ago
Please point out a single "lie" I have ever posted about anything Gloria.
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
That Nintendo Network is a mess, that's a lie for a start, it works fine.
Gloria 3 years ago
Solidus 5nake 3 years ago
Good review here and the game looks good too, but I'd expect nothing less from Mario.
hallben 3 years ago
Certainly one of the more positive reviews I have read for this. I do want a WiiU, I am just looking for justification now!
I think all the reviews of it have been pretty positive, it's got an average score of 80%+ on gamerankings and metacritic.
Gloria 3 years ago
tomas 3 years ago
Played this game at a friends, tis very enjoyable. i think it felt quite fresh and thought the graphics were nice too. i also prefered using the gamepad to play this game, felt great that we could put some tv on and play new Mario at the same time lol
0000000000 3 years ago
not gone for the Wii U but I do admit this looks a good addition to the Mario world... plus zombie U looks amazing... I just don't think its worth the price... but people who have purchased it wont agree with me!
Barada 3 years ago
No console is 'worth it' as many people say. You're paying a premium to own and play on it. You, the player deem its worth later on. Nobody who will buying it will be thinking, "Was this worth it?" They've already made their minds up days, weeks, if not months ago. It's a lot of money, but I've thought ever game and console I've ever bought (or played) is. This pastime, hobby, interest, call it what you will, IS expensive. ;)
Thing is though, there has to come a point where the question is asked "Why was this worth it?" no? What exactly does the Wii U offer that much cheaper consoles do not already? Indeed, the Wii U version of every multiplatform game so far are the worst versions available and they're the most expensive. Just throwing your hands up and saying "Well... gaming is expensive!" is a really sad outlook to have... you have a right to expect justification for spending so much money on something that offers so little new.
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
Apparently the new COD on Wii U is the best version. Not sure about the others. But why are you buying the same game on different consoles anyways? More money than sense.
Robichoico 3 years ago
It's funny, everywhere I look I see the Wii U multiplatform games being reviewed as the best versions, kevin must be living in Bizarro world where everything is the opposite of the real world.
Gloria 3 years ago
Beazi 3 years ago
Supposably the new Call of Duty Wii U version is the best. I will believe it when I play it. Mario again looks at home I think they should remake Mario 2 from the old Gameboy. Great game that!
yazuka 3 years ago
Sounds good. I'm getting more and more interested in Wii U. Guess I'll better start saving my money, so I can buy one.
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Adam 3 years ago
This almost makes me want to get a Wii U just based on this alone! Dear Santa.
Dru1034 3 years ago
I am gutted about this game, the wii version so so much better, this one is far to easy, for example when you are small the floating mushroom in the bubble, and items come up in question mark boxes far too often. the whole game is easy and has become quite boring. I feel I have wasted £40.
Really? I was the opposite and found it to be a challenge compared to the Wii one. Have you tried the challenge modes? Plenty of difficult stuff there. Agree about the amount of items it gives you however. I try not to use them unless it's a mid-point in a castle.
Robichoico 3 years ago
Yep, it's definitely more tricky than other games in the series. Anyone whop says otherwise obviously hasn't played it.
Gloria 3 years ago

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