New Super Mario Bros. U is much like the other New Super Mario Bros. games for the Wii and DS. It has the world map that you can navigate to levels. Once you beat a level, more levels open up. All of the levels are side scrolling. At first, it seemed like more of the same. After conquering it by getting five shiney stars on my save file, I have discovered that it is the best of the New Super Mario Bros. games.
The game starts off pretty standard. Princess is kidnapped by Bowser, and you need to save her. You traverse the eight worlds to show Bowser whats what. Each world has a theme, like desert or ice. All of the levels are cleverly designed, and are a ton of fun to play. Some levels have some interesting twists and challenges. Each level has three giant coins that you can collect to unlock a secret world. These coins add challenge if you are like me and want to complete everything the game has to offer. Nintendo brought back one of my favorite things from Super Mario World: secret exits for some levels. However, I wish that they made an indication when a certain level has a secondary exit.
The game starts off easy, but it can become frustratingly difficult as you progress, especially if you are collecting those giant coins. However, getting a success on a level that you have failed at several times feels really rewarding. The game doesn’t just hand you these moment; it is earned.
I do have something to note regarding difficulty. I’m able to admit to mistakes when I screw up in the game. However, I felt that the controls may have screwed me up a few times. The Wii U Gamepad is comfortable, but things seemed off sometimes. It didn’t happen often, but it is fairly frustrating when you work hard to collect a hard to get giant coin, and then fail because of a finger slip up.
You can collect power ups from the world map. These power ups are put into your inventory, much like Super Mario Bros. 3. You can only carry 10 items, so you have to choose your power ups wisely. Most of the standard power ups make an appearance. One of my favorite additions is the Acorn power up. It behaves similar to the Super Leaf power up from Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES. Instead of allowing you to fly upwards and then glide down, you have to choose between the two. If you jump and want an extra boost, you can do that with the acorn power up, but you’ll flutter down to the ground. On the other hand, you can jump your normal height, and then glide for a significant distance. It’s the most useful power up, with the exception of the P-Acorn.
Yoshi also makes a return in a few stages. Much like the Wii version, you can only have him for the levels that you find him on. However, Nintendo added different colored baby Yoshis. You find them in the over world, and you can keep them as long as you don’t die. These Yoshis do not grow up like in Super Mario World, but they do eat enemies. Each color has a different ability. They can make collecting those giant coins a lot easier.
Graphically, this definitely looks better than the Wii New Super Mario Bros, but it’s difficult to tell because of the Mario art style. This isn’t a big issue, because everything looks gorgeous. All of the Mario sounds are here. The music in Mario games has always been a treat, and U doesn’t disappoint. Although I did die a handful of times because the enemies stop and dance to the music.
New Super Mario Bros. U is a solid platformer, and is the best out of the New Super Mario Bros. series. If you are a fan of the other ones, you will definitely fall in love with this one. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play another New Super Mario Bros. games, but after playing this one, I have discovered that there is still a spark of love for it. The thought of getting another save file with five stars is both scary and exciting. You’ll probably see me put up some Let’s Play videos, or maybe just live stream it sometime. I also haven’t done any multiplayer, so that should also be entertaining.