‘New Super Mario Bros. U’ Review

Published 2 years ago by

New Super Mario Bros U Review

The Nintendo brand is synonymous with Mario and no Nintendo console launch feels right without a game featuring his name in the title. For the Wii U, that game is New Super Mario Bros. U and in the same vein as its ‘New’ Wii, DS, and 3DS predecessors, it’s a classic-styled 2D side-scroller featuring single-player and multiplayer modes.

Does New Super Mario Bros. U earn its ‘New’ title and is it a must-own Nintendo Wii U launch title? Read on for our review.

Bowser and the Koopalings are back again to cause more problems for the Princess and the heroes who’ve been been rescuing her for decades. Instead of kidnapping Princess Peach this time around, Bowser and co. have invaded her castle, dispatching Mario, Luigi and the two Toads to the far ends of the Mushroom Kingdom where they must journey back to save the day. The cartoonish cut scenes are back and the concept is the same: conquer each of the worlds until getting to the end.

New Super Mario Bros. U World Map

The themes of each world are mostly familiar, with ice, desert, plains, water and haunted lands, offering the usual lineup of aesthetics for the beautiful and improved background art of each stage, with a few new areas to explore as well. Stages look and play nearly identical to the Wii version and any of the side-scroller Mario games. They’re short, they work, they’re well-balanced in terms of challenge, and there are a few twists and turns mixed in with plenty of welcome throwbacks (especially in terms of enemies) to Super Mario World from the SNES.

Each world contains castles, featuring bosses of old, and although the castle levels can be trickier than most – especially with multiple players – the end boss battles are uninventive and don’t prove challenging to anyone who’s played a Mario game before. Veteran Mario players will enjoy the nostalgia and should take delight from some of the new level designs – notably the Van Gogh “The Starry Night” inspired stage – but there’s so little of that originality that it feels almost out of place.

There are also bonus stages scattered the world that see the return of mini-games from New Super Mario Bros. Wii where players can stockpile a few more lives or earn powerups to save up and activate when required. The powerups also return in the same fashion, with the mushrooms, Starman (mostly useless) fire and ice flowers taking center stage, bolstered by the new P-Acorn (think the classic P-Wing) which lets  Mario transform into squirrel mode where he can glide and temporarily attach to walls. The latter can be obtained by nabbing the rascally Nabbit who shows up in certain stages, offering a neat chase sequence.

New Super Mario Bros. U Van Gogh Starry Night

Yoshi plays an important role in the Wii U’s first Mario game. Players can ride the full-grown default green Yoshis and come across baby variants of the others which they can carry around stages once obtained. It’s not as fun as riding them, but they retain the tradition of having different abilities. Yellow baby Yoshis can glow in dark places for instance, while pink baby Yoshis can bubble up so players holding them can float. In multiplayer, players tend to lose them pretty quickly.

Multiplayer lets up to four (+1) players play together on the same TV screen, stepping again into the shoes of Mario, Luigi, Yellow Toad and Blue Toad, but the more players on the screen the more challenging it becomes. Player will accidentally knock each other down, take each other’s power-ups (even if they already have it), and that’s the fun of it. Multiplayer is very social and will absolutely result in laughter. Remember to press ‘A’ to bubble out of danger!

Where New Super Mario Bros. U stands out is in Boost mode, where one player wields the GamePad, not needing to look at the television and can help (or hinder) their co-op partners. While 1-4 players use a Wiimote as normal to play, the additional player uses the GamePad to place up to four temporary blocks anywhere on the screen. These can be used to save a fallen ally, block an enemy’s movement or even help build stairs to help players reach secret coins or hit the top of the flag at the end of each regular stage. They can also knock down enemies, help stop projectiles (including fireballs) and can help illuminate dark areas.

New Super Mario Bros. U Yellow Yoshi

It’s a smart use the the tech that dramatically changes how players tackle each stage, but outside of the Coin Battle (collect the most coins) and Challenge modes the game doesn’t offer much in terms of newness. In Coin Battle, the GamePad user can place boost blocks to help players out and can even customize the layout of coins along the stage. The Challenges let players complete stages under specific conditions, whether it be conquering a level in the shortest amount of time for a speed run or gather the most 1-Ups before hitting the ground. They’re recorded can can be viewed later for bragging rights.

There’s shockingly no online multiplayer support and the level designs, the world, the characters are all too similar. New Super Mario Bros. U is a solid, fun, and mechanically perfect platformer that Wii U owners should have on their must-own list, but it’s one we’ve played before, a lazy effort taking advantage of the release window and branding. It is not to the Wii U what Super Mario 64 was to Nintendo 64 or what Super Mario World was to the SNES.

New Super Mario Bros. U is available exclusively for the Wii U.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5

TAGS: New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo, Wii U

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/FerguliosoFilms Poncho

    The Challenge levels really earn their names.

  • Matt

    I feel like it’s time reviewers man up and start giving Mario games lower scores. They’re just rehashed versions of the same thing, so why should they get the same scores as innovative and great new IPs? Same goes for CoD.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/FerguliosoFilms Poncho

      Maybe because they’re good? Just because they’re “rehashed”, as you say, doesn’t mean the games can’t be good/fun. Maybe if you played it, you’d understand. However, I did expect a lower score from this review, especially with that closing paragraph.

      • Matt

        Sure they can be fun, but after awhile, anything that’s fun will become too repetitive.

    • http://gamerant.com Rob Keyes

      It’s funny you say that. At first I thought wow, 3.5, but after giving it more time and really thinking about it, it’s mechanically perfect, the levels are gorgeous and there are a lot of them, and no game right now offers as fun a couch co-op experience – a unique couch co-op experience at that thanks to the GamePad’s features which really do alter the experience significantly.

      But you’re right in that it doesn’t do enough different and to me I think it’s a lazy, too safe, effort. I’m waiting for the next-gen Mario 64 style game. Not Galaxy, or water boy Mario, actual Mario 64 style :)

  • EastOfTheAnduin

    I think this game is great. I wouldn’t dismiss it just because it shares a similar name to other “New” games. To me, this is the definitive New Super Mario game and the sequel to Super Mario World that I’ve always wanted. It’s absolutely beautiful, challenging yet forgiving and most of all it’s a blast to play. It may not be a game changer like Mario 64 or SMW, but just because it’s familiar doesn’t change the fact that it’s a superbly crafted platformer.

  • http://maxxia.info/user/profile/tommieyez/ http://healthblog.ncpa.org/obama-to-town-hall-gathering-the-public-health-plan-will-be-just-like-the-us-postal-service/

    Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will come back very soon. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice evening!
    I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or
    elaborating on many of the subjects you write in relation to
    here. Again, awesome site!
    We stumbled over here coming from a different web page
    and thought I might check things out. I like what I see
    so i am just following you. Look forward to looking into your
    web page repeatedly.
    I really like what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.
    Hello I am so happy I found your site, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Askjeeve for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a remarkable post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome job.
    Appreciating the persistence you put into your website and detailed information you present. It’s good
    to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.
    Hi! I’ve been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the bravery
    to go ahead and give you a shout out from Humble Texas!
    Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!
    I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A handful of my blog audience have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?
    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re utilizing? I’m having some small security problems with my latest blog and I would like to
    find something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?

    Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for rookie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

    Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say that you’ve done a awesome job with this.
    Also, the blog loads very fast for me on Opera. Excellent Blog!

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to
    your weblog? My blog site is in the very same niche as yours
    and my visitors would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this ok with you. Many thanks!
    Hello would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using? I’ve
    loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I
    must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend
    a good web hosting provider at a reasonable price?
    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!
    Fantastic blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of
    any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!
    Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Thank you!
    Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have developed some nice methods and we are looking to swap solutions with others, why not shoot me an email if interested.
    Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your site.
    You have some really great posts and I feel I
    would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of
    the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Many thanks!
    Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. However just imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this blog could undeniably be one of the best in its niche. Great blog!
    Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your design. Appreciate it
    Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re
    using? I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m
    having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!
    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is
    a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Kudos
    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either
    written myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it
    up all over the internet without my authorization.
    Do you know any ways to help prevent content
    from being stolen? I’d definitely appreciate it.
    Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free
    to shoot me an e-mail.
    Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared
    this website with us so I came to check it out.

    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking
    and will be tweeting this to my followers! Fantastic blog
    and superb style and design.
    Great blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a
    paid option? There are so many choices out there that
    I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Bless you!
    My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong
    none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a number of websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!
    Does your site have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating
    it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog
    you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and
    I look forward to seeing it expand over time.
    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this excellent blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding
    your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to
    fresh updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!
    Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just
    3G .. Anyhow, awesome site!
    Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask.

    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
    My site goes over a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel
    we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!
    At this time it looks like Expression Engine is the top blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is
    that what you are using on your blog?
    Exceptional post however I was wondering if
    you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thanks!
    Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform
    as yours and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!
    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Bless you!
    Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!
    Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website? I’m getting
    sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking
    at alternatives for another platform. I would
    be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    Hey there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!
    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?
    Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!
    Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!
    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?
    Hi there, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

    This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
    ..HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!
    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for
    me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Fantastic work!
    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s
    new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and
    checking back frequently!
    Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga
    group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers
    Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!
    Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while
    but I never seem to get there! Many thanks
    Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need
    some guidance from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks
    Hiya! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know
    how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird
    when browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!
    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll
    go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future.
    All the best
    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz reply as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thank you
    Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design.
    Outstanding choice of colors!
    Heya just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.
    Whats up are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but
    I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!
    Heya this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon
    but have no coding skills so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!
    Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing
    many months of hard work due to no data backup.
    Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?
    Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward
    to new posts.
    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect
    against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked
    hard on. Any recommendations?
    Hello there! Do you know if they make any
    plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
    If you know of any please share. Appreciate it!

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m
    assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% certain. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures
    on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.
    I’m not sure why but this web site is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll
    check back later and see if the problem still exists.

    Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the outstanding work!
    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say great blog!

  • http://www.tonybrightwellmusic.com/ Tony-Brightwell-Music

    you aree in rreality a just right webmaster. The website loading
    speedd is amazing. It kind oof feels that you’re doing
    anyy distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterwork.

    you have performed a great job onn this matter!