GAME NAME: New Super Mario Bros. U
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
GENRE(S): Side-Scrolling Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): 11/18/12
Mario is back, but this time he’s back in HD. Throughout the years Nintendo has released some great versions of Mario, they have also been releasing watered down iterations of Mario. A good example of this is, after Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, the “New” Mario series has taking the basic formulas and not made anything nearly as good as the old legacy Mario games. Basically what I’m saying is that NES and SNES days are golden and Nintendo hasn’t been able to capture that in modern times.
New Super Mario Bros. U however changes this pattern. Its definitely not redefining Mario but it is capturing the essence of the golden era and how it felt to play it growing up as a kid. Nintendo is capturing the challenge and exploring within story mode and outside of story mode as well. You can tell that the team that was in charge of planning this game grew up with the iconic Mario series and put the proper love and attention into this game.
Let’s talk about the over world. Nintendo has gone back to the first 2D Mario game with this approach but took it to the next level. This huge over world not only houses the “world” levels as we are used to but also adds castles, items, roaming enemies, secrets, alternative paths, and even some boss fights. This is truly awesome and it works very well. It’s a wonder why Nintendo moved away from this formula since it worked so well. Now that were seeing it again, I think Nintendo should stick to it.
The over world is just scratching the surface when it comes to the great design in Super Mario Bros U. Now, I’ll admit when I first started playing I was a bit worried. The game starts off very slow. If you felt the same way, I don’t blame you. I do however hope you did not stop playing. The later stages escalate in challenge and provide layouts that beg to be explored quite a few times; there are a lot of secrets within this game. This is what I call bringing old school back with new enemies, power-ups and world threats to keep you on edge, Nintendo definitely brought back that NES and SNES thrill. The pacing of the levels also feels right, you’ll never die and have to start over but you’ll lose enough here and there to feel the pressure to move forward and be more strategic throughout the levels. You’ll definitely want to find the Star Coins and that will be a challenge in itself but there is a reward for it in the end. Now if you’re shaking your head saying to yourself that this game in no way challenges your elite gaming skills, I’ll beg to differ with the challenge mode, this mode will rock you and kick your ass. It’s highly addicting and fun and if you think you’re elite this will put your skills to the test. I found this particularly fun and this feature adds a ton of replay value to the Mario U.
There are a couple of downfalls in the game and they are visual and audio flaws. Now, I’m only comparing to the contemporary games. I had higher expectations when it came to an HD version of Mario. The Wii U is capable of a lot. I wanted to see Nintendo rip through some sexy visuals and sound. There are many things they could have done to add more visual layers, particle lighting effects, and a new stellar soundtrack. I’m not saying that the visuals and audio are bad by any means, the graphics are great, and the sound is good. It’s just not as memorable as it could have been, there was a lot of potential and I just think they could of done a little more. For instance, the ‘Starry Night” level has great graphical shine, I would have loved to see the rest of the game be as visually stunning as that level. The audio felt like it was holding on to the past too much, there was nothing terrible new or different, they could have evolved this soundtrack to add more modern twists to what we currently know and love.
Mario U features a great multiplayer feature. This is extremely fun to have a few of your friends hop on and wreck the Mushroom Kingdom one Koopa at a time. You can have up to 4 other people at a time hop on. It does add a little more complexity to the situation as everyone is fighting for foot space, and its definitely not needed as this game is doable alone but its just plain fun in my opinion. If you want a social Mario U experience at home with the family or friends this is a great feature. However, if you are trying to accomplish goals and beat levels this will frustrate you beyond belief when your friends or family keep dying and getting in the way.
Mario is getting old; he’s 30 years old now. It’s hard to keep a 2D world looking fresh and keep it exciting. New Super Mario Bros U shows us that there is still life left in these old games and Nintendo knows how to keep things fresh. They know how to cater modern content and keep the nostalgia alive. Nintendo was able to balance story and challenge all at once. Having multiplayer adds dimension to the game although not necessary, and with Challenge mode you have tons of replay value. This is truly a game that everyone can enjoy and is a new milestone in the Mario world, I highly recommend giving it a play.