New Super Mario Bros. U Review
New Super Mario Bros. U is the first HD Mario game ever. That’s a pretty big deal for gamers and Nintendo overall but is Mario’s first HD adventure what we were hoping for?
New Super Mario Bros. U uses the same Mario formula found in all of the entries in the New Super Mario Bros series. Retro 2D scrolling Mario levels meet modern 3D Mario models. Nintendo has been at it with these series for the past couple of years and more than ever recently with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2 and now with New Super Mario Bros. U. At this point, the game sees very little changes to the actually gameplay aside from the improved HD graphics with great detailed backgrounds and a new power up. The little changes are nice, especially the nicer looking backgrounds but it feels like Nintendo stayed too close to the Mario formula found in the series’ predecessors when Nintendo really should have shown some creativity here.
Story wise, New Super Mario Bros. U is no different from the rest of the games in the series. Princess Peach is once again kidnapped and it’s up to Mario once again to save the day. However, rather than going through the story mode in different worlds like the previous games in the series. New Super Mario Bros. U uses the fantastic “World” map idea originally used in Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo. All the levels, fortresses castles, and overworld enemies are all found in the single vast map that looks amazing. It’s actually astonishing why Nintendo decided not to use the whole “world map” idea in its previous Mario games.
New Super Mario Bros. U starts off with some very simplistic levels and gradually over time gets more challenging. Overtime you’ll be introduced to new enemies and new power ups that keep the levels fresh and new as you gradually travel along the world map. Speaking of traveling the world map. Since it’s once again a single world map, the path to defeat browser isn’t straight anymore. There’s different paths and secret levels to unlock on the way to defeating Bowser, however they aren’t mandatory. You can in fact skip certain areas in New Super Mario Bros. U is you really just want to beat the story of the game.
New Super Mario Bros. U has some minor changes but also some pretty great ones. New power ups like the super acorn gives Mario a squirrel suit that allows him to glide horizontally and hang on to walls. The new Baby Yoshi partners have different characteristics depending on their color. Blue baby Yoshi blow out bubble that can turn enemies into coins. Pink baby Yoshi turn in giant balloons that allow you to fly over stages. Yellow Baby Yoshi illuminate the darkness with a bright yellow light. Additionally the adult Yoshi returns once again reprising his role as Mario’s trusty steed.
Just like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. U features a multiplayer mode where you can play the story mode along with friends. However, just like the New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the multiplayer mode is just filled with hectic situations Friend causing each other to miss platforms and causing chaos everywhere. Players can also use their Miis instead of the orignal cast of playable Mario characters. Aside from the Co-Op, there’s also a coin battle mode where you and your friends run through a level in a competition to collect the most coins. The “Gamepad” feature with New Super Mario Bros. U is that one player is allowed to create platforms with the Wii U Gamepad in order to help or distract the person/people playing the game on the TV. You can also use the Gamepad to play the entire game right on your Gamepad alone. There’s also a new mode called boost rush mode that has the speed of the level scrolling go faster as you collect more coins. It’s fun and very challenging to play. Those of you who are into speed runs will surely enjoy this mode. Nintendo also implements Miiverse into New Super Mario Bros. U by allowing users to share their thoughts on levels with the online New Super Mario Bros. U community. These thoughts or opinions may then become visible to someone else in the world when playing that same level you just wrote about.
Visually New Super Mario Bros. U is a pretty game but nothing that will have you amazed. It’s certainly not the HD you were expecting when you heard Mario is going to be in HD but it’s merely passable which is rather disappointing. However that doesn’t mean the game isn’t great looking. Level design has been greatly improved due to the HD upgrade. Level backgrounds look great with more detailed background and more elements that make up the background. Specifically the Starry Night level looks amazing in New Super Mario Bros. U. As for the soundtrack, New Super Mario Bros. U’s music consists of rehashed music from its predecessors but with slight changes. It’s really disappointing to see that this has been repeating over time in the New Super Mario Bros. series. I would have loved to hear some new music but the rehashed music does the job.
New Super Mario Bros. U is a great new Mario platformer that while it doesn’t push the series forward by a huge step, it raises the bar slightly higher. The return of the world map is greatly appreciated, it makes the mushroom together feel like an actual world rather than fragmented levels. For Mario’s first time in HD, the graphics aren’t outstanding as in games like the Last of Us and Halo 4, but a step forward for Mario either way and it looks nice. Nintendo could have made greater use of the Gamepad aside from the boost rush mode and the ability to help your friends by creating platforms but the ability to play New Super Mario Bros. U only on the Gamepad makes up for it. New Super Mario Bros. U is most likely not the HD Mario game you first wanted to see on the Wii U, but slight changes and graphical improvements make the game great none the less.
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