I’ve held back on buying a Wii U all this time simply because the system doesn’t have that many titles that appeal to me. Still, I was always saying I would pick one up eventually just for the chance of playing the latest Super Mario. Ever since I saw the first trailer I wanted to play this game. A classic Mario title, but in HD? What could be better than that?
New Super Mario Bros. U is a love letter to fans. A lot of levels draw direct inspiration from two of the best games in the series, Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s a wonderful feeling playing these stages and having fond memories of your childhood while doing so. One level in particular took me way back and reintroduces a particular flying enemy last seen in SMB3. Think of New Super Mario Bros. U as a homage to one of the greatest platforming series ever.
+ HD visuals! Finally! They kept the classic look intact, but it looks stunning on an HDTV. There are a few hand drawn stages in particular that are a joy to look at.
+ The difficulty is back! While it will never reaches the scale of the NES games, I’m glad to report that some levels will drain your lives bank, especially the later worlds. The thrill of completing a really difficult stage makes a triumphant return, and I couldn’t be any more pleased. New Super Mario Bros. U also challenges you to find three Star Coins in each level, some of these will take you a long time to discover because of how well hidden they are. There are also tons of secret exits leading to bonus stages making this one a lengthy adventure.
+ Miiverse integration is surprisingly fantastic. You can share your accomplishments, or post screenshots and start deep conversations almost instantly. Can’t find a certain star coin, then ask for help and within a few minutes someone is bound to give you clues. It’s an amazing community that instantly hooked me. It really extends the game, and encourages interaction. Who would have thought that Nintendo would come up with such an excellent community feature?
+ Challenge mode is another way to play the game once you’re done with the story mode. Even this veteran Mario player cannot come close of getting a gold medal in 75% of the stages. Good luck is all I can say.
+ Took me 16 hours to complete 100% of the story mode. For a 2D platformer, that’s not too shabby. I know this is a game I’ll want to revisit time and again.
+ A la Super Mario World, you have a real overworld to explore. As you unlock new areas, you can start to piece together which levels have secret exits and how everything connects. Each new world has a different theme to it too, so it’s fun going from one to the next. Exploration is back baby! How long have we waited for this excellent feature to return? Too long!
– For absolutely no logical reason, the Wii U Pro Controller is not supported, yet you can play the game with a Wiimote. Sucks, since the Pro Controller is perfect for these type of games.
New Super Mario Bros. U brings the franchise back to glory. This is well worth investing into a Wii U if you’re a diehard fan of the series. While there might not be too many other games out there, the Wii U can at least claim to have one killer app. If you get a Wii U, get Mario, that simple.