New Super Mario Bros U review
Nintendo hasn’t launched a console with a brand-new Mario game since Super Mario 64 on the N64 a decade and a half ago, so it’s easy to see why there’s such a groundswell of hype surrounding the Italian plumber’s latest outing, New Super Mario Bros U. Does it live up to the intense expectation and is it a worthy launch title for the Wii U? Let’s head down the green pipe to find out.
Mario – and Nintendo itself – may be late to the HD party, but when you see New Super Mario Bros. U running in glorious high definition, it still blows your socks clean off. Everything looks so vibrant and sharp it’s almost as if you’re playing a Pixar movie. Mario has simply never looked so good and though only 2D, the game makes us very excited indeed about Nintendo’s future in HD.
The core gameplay stays true to the template laid down by the insanely successful New Super Mario Bros. Wii but adds in a massive, sprawling world map which calls to mind Super Mario World on the SNES. Finding all of the levels, locating all of the special coins and completing the game 100% is going to take many sleepless nights, and that’s just in single-player. Like its Wii predecessor, New Super Mario Bros. U is a game which is made infinitely better by the introduction of other people. Five players can take part, with four using Wii Remotes and one using the GamePad to help (or hinder) the others by laying down blocks and interacting with enemies.
In single-player, New Super Mario Bros. U uses the console’s unique GamePad by mirroring the on-screen image rather than offering any unique gameplay possibilities. It’s slightly disappointing that Nintendo hasn’t taken this opportunity to really show off the potential of the controller, but it does mean that you can essentially treat it like a portable console – we were able to enjoy the game from the comfort of our bed, although you may find that the distance between your living room and bedroom may be too great to maintain the wireless connection.
If you were being really grumpy then you could moan that New Super Mario Bros. U isn’t as groundbreaking as previous installments such as Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy; it’s basically the same game that you played back on the NES in the ‘80s, just with better visuals and more to see and do. However, this viewpoint doesn’t hold much water – when a game is as delightfully addictive as this, innovation isn’t really a requirement.
The only other negative is the stern challenge; New Super Mario Bros. U gets hard fast, and is likely to prove a little too testing for younger and less experienced players. Mario veterans will lap it up however, as recent games in the series have arguably been a little too easy.
The bottom line
While New Super Mario Bros. U may not be as innovative as some of the other entries in Nintendo’s popular platforming series, it’s a successful refinement of a recipe which has been thrilling audiences for four decades now. Mario has literally never looked better, and the tight control and fantastic multiplayer simply increase the game’s appeal.
With a massive world to explore and the opportunity to indulge in social challenges once you’ve finished the solo campaign, expect to still be playing this in the months to come. He may be one of video gaming’s old guard, but Mario remains unbeatable in this arena.
5 out of 5
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