Platforms: Wii U
Release Date: US – November 18th 2012, EU – November 30th 2012[/wpspoiler]
It’s amazing to think that with the amount of Mario games we get every year that this is the first Mario game in high definition. It’s taken a long time to finally get to this stage but Mario looks as glorious in HD as you’d imagine. HD visuals are a thing that most of us are used to now, but seeing Mario in HD seems to have an added pleasantness.
But what else is new here? The New Super Mario Bros games have been around for a little while now, taking inspiration from the undoubted classics that came before it on the NES and SNES. If you enjoyed these games on the Wii then it’s highly likely that you’ll enjoy it’s debut on the Wii U. There’s a large variety of worlds to explore, each different and more varied than the last with a host of different challenges and platforms to reach.
But the classic Mario formula still feels the same and unlike Mario’s 3D iterations the New Super Mario Bros’ games are starting to feel more like yearly updates rather than fully fledged new games with fresh ideas. Out of all the New Super Mario Bros’ games this is probably the one that had the most potentially to thrust some freshness into the series with the inclusion of the GamePad.
You can of course play the entire game on the GamePad, it’s a feature that I like but when you do have both the TV and GamePad I don’t think enough is made of it. During gameplay the same screen is visible on both and I have to admit that sometimes it put me off. Perhaps seeing the entire level on the GamePad would’ve been handy or some other type of feature?
There is a Boost Mode as well, during which a player on the GamePad can put blocks on the level using the GamePad helping others throughout but that’s pretty much where the uniqueness of the GamePad ends.
But it’s not where the innovative features of the Wii U end, as the integrated Miiverse is strewn throughout the world map. A quick press of the L button and your able to whisk around the world map with Mii characters littered throughout each with a simple message. Whether that message be one of relief at passing a level or frustration of difficulty the messages from Wii U players is a nice addition. While it certainly won’t change your gameplay skills it was nice to see that I wasn’t the only one stuck on a few levels. In fact should you fail to complete a level on more than a few occasions the game will ask you to post a message to the Miiverse, letting the world know ‘how you feel at this precise moment’. I have to admit I usually quickly hit B to back out of posting but I can only imagine some of the responses people may have.
For those who need more than just the usual Mario fare and Boost Mode there is also a Challenges section. In here you’ll be faced with a series of tasks and most are quite enjoyable in their own right. Jumping on Goomba’s to earn 1up’s and gliding through a level without touching the floor are just some of the examples you might face here. Even though I failed with quite a few tries it’s easy to get straight back in and try again, it can be quite addictive and really has that ‘just one more go’ attitude that a mode like this needs to be fun.
With the launch of a new Nintendo console a new Mario game is usually the first thing fans look for. While it won’t hold a candle to the utterly brilliant 3D Mario titles, New Super Mario Bros U does a good enough job to tide you over during the launch window of the Wii U.
I have to wonder about the New Super Mario Bros formula in the future though as titles like Rayman Origins have overtaken Nintendo’s mascot in the platforming stakes. With Rayman Legends due to launch early next year for the Wii U as well it looks like New Super Mario Bros U will quickly succumb to the limbless wonder yet again.
But all being said if you enjoy these 2D Mario games then you will enjoy this one. While I can point out the lack of innovation and almost identical mechanics of previous titles it’s still a fun ride while it lasts.
The only problem is that Mario is in danger of becoming a yearly franchise and unless your a sports game that usually doesn’t bode well.