Looking at the list of the best-selling Nintendo games, it is clearly visible which is the most important saga: six titles out of fifteen are called Super Mario Bros., are exclusively two-dimensional, and two of them came out after 2006, so after the posthumous and belated exhumation of the saga, with that strange "New" in front of us, as if the game itself was not enough to communicate a novelty, but also needed explicit textual communication. Super Mario Bros. is a long-running series, which has achieved greater success than Mario Kart and Pokémon: this is because it is a universal saga like very few others. The two dimensions and the intuitive controls mean that it is immediately appreciated even by novices; the depth of the controls, accompanied by that of the game design, have often elevated it to the most precious star of the electronic firmament.
If Super Mario has been Super Mario for more than thirty years, with fluctuating but constant fortunes like no other, it is above all thanks to this series, and in particular to the first and third episodes for the NES, closely followed by Super Mario World for Super Nintendo. Between this last chapter and the next, dated 2006, there was a long, unconscious and erroneous ostracism, which we have discussed in depth here, which can be summarized in the idea that Nintendo considered this saga to be superseded by the three-dimensional one. Nothing more wrong. Because the immediacy and genuine purity of two dimensions, of the run and jump buttons, is quite another thing. And the outstanding sales are there to prove it. Too bad they did not help bring this series back to the good graces of Nintendo leaders, who - in recent times - have never ennobled it enough. On Switch we expect a chapter able to reverse this trend and, in the meantime, almost two years after the launch of the console, here we are writing the review of the Deluxe Edition of New Super Mario Bros. U, released on Wii U in 2012.
New Super Mario Bros. U
Already at the time of the first publication New Super Mario Bros. U was a conservative sequel to a Mannerist series, not very ambitious but decidedly well built, with marble foundations inherited from a royal past. Although more than six years have passed, our judgment about it has remained almost unchanged: two-dimensional platformers have not proliferated as some might have imagined, and the happy period after New Super Mario Bros. Wii was exhausted in a short time. The genre is still better than in the past decade, but from 2012 to now, excluding the beautiful Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it has given its best especially in the indie world - for example with Celeste, the great success of 2018. graphics of New Super Maro Bros. U is perhaps the most aged element, especially in terms of lighting: already in 2012 it looked like a high resolution version of its predecessor, with the exception of the well-kept backgrounds, and the impression of backwardness in this period has certainly not diminished. The glare and care of Nintendo Land materials at the time made it seem outdated, now it looks like a title, as they say, from "a generation ago". Having said that, the aspect as a whole is still graceful, with a little sought after but effective style, and we point out the usual pleasant, playful songs to accompany the action, repeated over time and certainly functional.
It is a platform masterfully tested, with an ideal learning curve, and an excellent structural declination: at any speed you cross a stage, it can give you some satisfaction. The three secret Star Coins to search for in each level, otherwise aimed at reaching the flag at the end of the course, are educational for those who have tried it previously, but at the same time stimulating for novices. It looks like a product built in the laboratory by skilled hands, with every ingredient in the right place, without the slightest desire to experiment: the power-ups are fun but not very galvanizing (penguin excluded), the various but not very original worlds, the harmonious stages but - usually - not exciting. We reiterate what was written at the time: it looks like a work created by the nerd of the class, in this case Masataka Takemoto, and not by the genius of the company. In this version you can run the pirouette by clicking the jump button twice, and it is not a solution that we appreciated: it is much better to allocate the action to the backbone, to prevent it from activating randomly, as happened to us. The unpublished characters included in the Deluxe edition, Ruboniglio and Toadette, add little to this mode ... as opposed to in Luigi's story.
New Super Luigi U
Also New Super Luigi U, which was to be downloaded as a DLC in 2013, has remained essentially unchanged. Now you have more seconds available to finish the levels, two hundred - which do not correspond to as many seconds in reality, they are shorter - and, as we anticipated, you can choose as characters Toadette and Ruboniglio, which greatly simplify things. This downward calibration was decided because New Super Luigi U, while sharing the world map with the original, was decidedly more difficult than New Super Mario Bros. U: the many novices who will try it in 2019 for the first time ( and they will be able to play it right away, before the "main" adventure) will have more life jackets to hold onto. Toadette has the now known crown-shaped power-up, which she transforms into peachette, capable of gliding and carrying out a further push upwards - but, unlike the Squirrel, not clinging to walls. Not only is it a useful transformation, but it is also very widespread: the effects are very similar to those of the Acorn, but the Crown is found more often.
Ruboniglio for its part is totally immune to enemies, an event that takes away much of the charm of the game, but which could be ideal for the little ones or, in general, for beginners. There physics of New Super Luigi U is different from the original title, it follows that of Luigi in Super Mario Bros. 2: more inertia, higher and longer jumps. These uniqueness are not always exploited by the level design, but sometimes it happens, and in general they help to diversify the experience from that of New Super Mario Bros. U, thanks to the slightly altered bases. After a while, should you need it, it will also be possible to interpret these stages with the physics of the original. Overall the levels of New Super Luigi U are more difficult, more focused on the path to the flag than on the search for secrets: the same Star Coins they are positioned in such a way that it is more difficult to reach them than to find them, when in New Super Mario Bros. U it is basically the opposite.
Challenges and multiplayer
As you may have guessed, in case you have already played the originals, the number of new features of this Deluxe edition is not stratospheric. However, it would be silly not to point out how well this game marries the Nintendo Switch: the multiplayer it works very well in any situation, both because it is one of the titles in which the isolated joy-cons perform at their best, and because the screen is shared, and it is also seen quite well in "tabletop" mode. If this were not enough, as mentioned at the beginning, the nature of the work is so accessible and magnetic that it catalyses the sharing of the experience, whether you are on the sofa in the living room or traveling by train. In addition to the main adventures, multiplayer is supported, within Mii Mode, in special sections such as Turbo Game and Coin Hunt. Both of these parts propose structured levels for the occasion.
In Turbo match you have to collect as many coins as possible, so as to speed up the pace and get to the finish quickly, trying not to get crushed by the forced sliding stage. It requires a continuous compromise between collection and continuation, which is even harder to achieve in multiplayer. Coin Hunt it is the only mode - separate editor - that can only be used by multiple players: it is also the most chaotic and fun for novices, because it is important to get to the bottom, but it is even more important to collect coins and not fall into the ravines. At the end of a customizable series of levels, the one who scores the most points will have won: the counting methods are daring and full of upgrades, so the reversals are always around the corner. For experienced players the most interesting section remains that of Challenges, although those in cooperative with the Wii U tablet have disappeared: perhaps it is the only mode capable of fully enhancing the control system, the only one in which great skill at the pad is essential. At the time we had warmly praised this section, and our perception has not changed: Challenges are still the best segment of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
We were expecting a two-dimensional chapter of Super Mario Bros. developed specifically on Switch, a breaking title compared to the recent past. Nintendo instead preferred to re-propose, for obvious reasons, the launch game of Wii U, accompanied by New Super Luigi U, with some additions designed to protect novices. As much as the loyal public may dispute the operation, two certainties remain: the game is not exceptional, but it remains a very valid platformer. And its nature fits perfectly with Nintendo Switch: perhaps there is no more universal title than this, and the "where, when and with whoever you want" facilitates the enjoyment of the multiplayer mode. Graphically it was backward in 2012, and now, when compared to works like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it looks like a generation ago. We strongly recommend it to those who have not played the originals, and to those who want, and can, share it with their families, even with those usually not interested in video games. In this, Super Mario Bros. is magical. That said, we eagerly await a new, valuable episode of the series on Switch.
- It's always a great platformer
- Great control system
- Universal like few others
- Fun and accessible multiplayer
- Overly mannerist and conservative
- Graphically backward
- Uninteresting to anyone who has played the originals