The Nintendo Wii U was a flop, despite being a great console with some great games on it. New Super Mario Bros. U was one of those great games, though it wasn’t exactly warmly welcomed at its release. Maybe people wanted a sprawling 3D Mario title (which we wouldn’t get until 2018’s Super Mario Odyssey), re-releasing these titles is something I’ve said was a great idea from the beginning. New Super Mario Bros. U ends up being the perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch.
We all know the setup: Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, and Mario and Luigi–joined by Toad, Toadette, and Nabbit–have to save her. Like usual, Mario has to jump, spin, and smash his way through eight worlds fighting Mushroom Kingdom denizens and Bowser’s forces—including the seven Koopalings—until he can save the princess from Bowser himself. It’s a formula that has been in place for 2D Mario games since the iconic Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES.
If you’re familiar with the New Super Mario Bros. series, you should know what to expect with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. Despite some differences from classic Mario Bros., the New Super Mario Bros. series should still be extremely familiar, even if you haven’t played a Mario Bros. game in decades. There are power-ups to collect, and blocks to bash. Mario and company do feel a little weighty, but momentum has always played a role with Mario’s movement. There are several power-ups to collect, like the familiar mushroom, fire and ice flowers. The acorn power-up allows for Mario and friends to don the super fun squirrel suit—one of my favorite flight power-ups since Super Mario World’s cape.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is great to play with friends, too. There are a few multiplayer modes—like coin attack and boost rush. But you can also play with up to three other people throughout the entire game. Playing with friends is both great and horrible, simultaneously. Teamwork allows you to reach places you might otherwise not be able to easily (or without power-ups) but other players are also obstacles.
Friendships will be tested.
This is similarly true for modes like Coin Battle and Boost Rush. Coin Battle has players compete to grab the most coins, where Boost Rush is about getting the best time—by collecting coins. Players are obstacles here, too, but in Coin Battle you can intentionally try to trip up your competitors.
If you can master playing with friends, it can be great fun.
New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe isn’t perfect, though. Its visuals, a common complaint during its original Wii U release, still look generic. Everything is colorful and vibrant, and it doesn’t look bad—it just doesn’t have the visual charm like older classics. There’s also a sort of sheen over objects, environments and characters that makes everything look like plastic.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has made a few changes to make its challenges less challenging. There are difficulty modes, but they are part of the character selection. Choose to play as Mario, Luigi, or Toad for “normal” difficulty, and Toadette for “easier” difficulty, with Nabbit being the “easiest” difficult. Toadette is the only character than can use the (internet famous) Super Crown item that turns her into “Peachette”—a copy of Peach with a fungal crown. This Peach doppelganger can float gently down (like Peach traditionally does when she can get into the platforming action.) Nabbit, on the other hand, can’t use power-ups at all—but he’s completely immune to all damage from enemies, though he will still suffer from instant kills, like fall damage or touching lava. Playing as Nabbit removes the ability to collect power-ups like the squirrel suit, or the ability to shoot fire/ice with the appropriate flower pick-up. Toadette doesn’t have such restrictions, making her an “easier” option with more traditional gameplay. Both Nabbit and Toadette take less time to slow down, and swimming with them is easier, too.
One of the best parts of this New Super Mario Bros. U repackage is the fact that New Super Luigi U is included. Previously available on Wii U as separate paid DLC, New Super Luigi U includes the entire New Super Mario Bros. U game world, but with the difficulty increased and other nefarious variations thrown in. Mario is missing, leaving the princess saving to Luigi and company. Whoever you choose to play as, the movement is slightly tweaked. You can jump higher as any of the characters, but you also tend to slide around more. This mode does have some surprises outside of just movement: enemies can be tougher, you have less time to complete levels, and hazards are generally more hazardous with more dangers throughout each level. Each level features slight variations on the base game, but it’s just different enough that it feels fresh and familiar at the same time. Plus, more content is not really a bad thing—and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has a lot of it.
In addition to the regular game, and Luigi DLC, there are a few couch multiplayer modes, and a challenge mode.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is another game that made the transition from Wii U to the Switch with flying colors. It’s Mario Bros., so most will be instantly familiar with it, making it great for couch co-op or portable, spontaneous video games on the go. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the definitive edition of the Wii U game, and it’s a great addition to any Nintendo Switch library. Hey Nintendo, do Super Mario 3D World next!
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is available now on Nintendo Switch.
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