New Super Mario Bros. U was initially released as the Wii U’s flagship launch title in 2012. Seven years later, the game has been ported to Nintendo Switch with additional content and a new “Deluxe” subtitle. With the recent release of Super Mario Maker 2, is New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe still worth a look for the same price?
Main series Super Mario games have never been known for their storylines, and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is no exception: it’s about the gameplay, not the plot. The game starts off exactly as you’d expect, except Bowser actually takes over Peach’s Castle, meaning it serves as the final world. It’s a tiny change from the traditional Mario plot, but isn’t revolutionary by any means.
Visuals & Audio
In terms of its graphics and music, New Super Mario Bros. U meets (but does not exceed) expectations. As a standalone title, the art style is clean (albeit a bit lacking in personality) and the music is catchy as always. Unfortunately, New Super Mario Bros., New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and New Super Mario Bros. 2 featured very similar visuals and soundtrack, meaning New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe isn’t doing anything innovative. If you haven’t played a New Super Mario Bros. game, you’ll likely be impressed by New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe’s presentation. If you’ve played previous games in the series, you might agree that seeing the same presentation for the fourth time isn’t exactly exciting.
With all of that being said, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe does excel in its gameplay. The controls are fairly solid; the player can spin in midair to halt their momentum for a moment, which makes tricky jumps a bit easier and allows the player to feel more in control of their character. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe features two games: the default New Super Mario Bros. U campaign as well as New Super Luigi U, a DLC campaign released as part of the Year of Luigi on Wii U.
Both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U boast great level design, as is usual for the series. Each features a huge amount of courses to play as well as a wealth of collectibles, meaning players will have a lot of content to complete. Between the two, I personally prefer New Super Luigi U, as levels are much shorter and thus don’t drag on for as long. Don’t get me wrong, New Super Mario Bros. U’s levels are good — it’s just that I enjoy the greater sense of “pick up and play” found in New Super Luigi U.
Both campaigns also include local multiplayer. In New Super Mario Bros. U, players can choose from Mario, Luigi, Toad, Toadette, and Nabbit. The latter two are essentially “easy modes” for the game; Toadette can use an enhanced Super Acorn and Nabbit is invincible to enemy attacks. New Super Luigi U removes Mario from rotation; if you’re playing with four people, one of them will be forced to play as Toadette or Nabbit (easy mode).
With all of that being said, the game still suffers from a handful of issues. If you lose a life in a level, you’re booted back to the world map. From there, you have to select the level again. This means you’ll have to sit through two loading screens every time you die, which feels clunky and annoying, especially from one of Mario’s most recent 2D outings. Furthermore, the game only allows you to save after beating a tower or castle level (this changes when the game is beaten), making it more difficult to pick up and play.
New Super Mario Bros. U also includes a Challenge Mode, which sees players completing a huge list of difficult tasks. Getting a gold medal on all of these is almost impossible, as several of them require pixel perfect jumps and angles. In other words, if you don’t dedicate yourself to speed-running the game and learning its ins and outs, you won’t be getting gold medals on everything. The game also includes Boost Mode and Coin Battle, but they likely won’t hold your attention for too long.
Despite the inclusion of “Deluxe” in the title, New Super Mario Bros. U offers little to no content over the Wii U original. The only real change is the addition of Toadette, and that’s about it. Needless to say, if you played the original New Super Mario Bros. U, there’s no reason to purchase New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
Overall, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a solid platformer; as mentioned before, if you have played the original, this version isn’t worth getting. Given the recent release of Super Mario Maker 2, you’re better off purchasing that instead, as it offers more game styles and, of course, the ability to create your own levels.
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