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Review

New Super Mario Bros. U Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • WIIU

New Super Mario Bros. U incorporates the best elements from classic entries, making it one of the most enjoyable Mario Bros. games in years.

New Super Mario Bros. U is an amazing jump start for Mario's 2D platforming career. It incorporates the best elements from the classics and mixes them into the New Super Mario Bros. formula, revamping the subseries' reputation for bland level design and menial difficulty.

As a whole, Story mode is a blend of joyful speed-run-friendly courses and precision-based platforming puzzles. It's the same balance of freedom and challenge that defined legendary entries like Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3, and it's the backbone of New Super Mario Bros. U's success. Also here are branching paths, a sprawling world map, and the overall sense of wonder that comes from exploring every last corner of the modern Mushroom Kingdom for secrets and alternate exits.

The first half of the game is a relative playground; troublesome enemies are at a minimum, power-ups are plentiful, and the environments are generally forgiving. Even at their easiest, the earlier stages are still enjoyable because their compositions lend themselves to acrobatic displays of triple-jumps and power-up-fueled maneuvers.

Sprawling overworld map with alternate routes? Don't mind if I do!

Sprinting through the first few worlds is carefree and instills confidence. Eventually, however, such hubris must give way to patience and awareness lest you squander all your remaining lives. The game's rise in difficulty is easy to miss, seamlessly transitioning from a light romp to a challenging test of perseverance.

Should you continue to fail multiple times in a given stage, the Super Guide box appears granting you a demonstration of Luigi completing the level, or allowing you to bypass the stage completely, though you may choose to forge ahead on your own. When failure persists despite your best efforts, the addition of a second player on the GamePad becomes a very attractive option. By using the touch screen, a second player can place up to four platforms at a time within a level, and can also stun enemies and interact with elements in the environment.

Mario maintains his positive disposition even when surrounded by Boos and poisonous waters.

Where New Super Mario Bros. Wii's co-op was often frustrating and useful only on occasion, the touch screen method employed here affords an experience that rewards teamwork. There are still ways that the "ghost" player on the tablet controller can interrupt Mario's flow and ruin the experience, and this opens up delightful opportunities for the tablet holder to make a little mischief. Deviously obstructing a player's progress can be as amusing as virtuously helping them to victory, and every player should be sure to take a turn with the tablet. Up to five people may participate at a time when four Wii Remotes are used, and roles can be switched from the world map without having to exit to the main menu.

Whether flying solo or with a team, rescuing the princess isn't relegated to platforming experts. The primary objectives only take a few dedicated play sessions to complete, but they represent only a fraction of the amount of content within New Super Mario Bros. U. Like other games in the "New" series, each level contains a set of star coins: large coins often just out of sight and reach. The motivation to collect every star coin comes partly from the sense of accomplishment it provides, but primarily from the extra levels that are unlocked as a result.

There are a surprising number of secrets hidden behind false walls.

In many ways, hunting for the star coins is a whole other type of experience compared to the typical race for the finish line. You need to explore every crevice, peer behind every obstacle, and risk almost certain death in your attempt to locate and collect each coin. A quick look at the star coin index also reveals that (surprise, surprise) there are hidden stages within each world to uncover before you even have a hope of completing a collection of that world's wealth of star coins. This extension of the endgame is akin to a New Game Plus mode; it offers a way to replay the main game and take a significantly different approach, thereby enriching the overall experience.

When you've exhausted your desire to hunt for secrets, or you've simply done everything there is to do in Story mode, there are three additional modes to sink your teeth into: Coin Battle, Challenge, and Boost Rush.

Coin Battle follows a basic premise: 2-4 players compete to see who can collect the most coins in a given stage. There are custom stages created specifically for this mode, but you can also compete across every stage from the Story mode. In this instance of competitive coin collecting, utilizing exits or warp pipes allows for strategic neutering of your opponents' scoring potential as every player automatically rejoins those who move onward. Competitors use Wii Remotes exclusively, though someone else can pick up the GamePad and place platforms, assisting or hindering participants as they wish.

The extra modes will keep you busy long after you've completed the main quest.

The most diverse of the extra modes, Challenge, presents five types of trials: Time Attack, Coin Collection, 1-Up Rally, Special, and Boost. Time Attack pits Mario against the clock, racing through original stages and selections from the main game as quickly as possible. Coin Collection challenges your ability to collect, or in some cases not collect, coins as you race through stages. 1-Up Rally plays on the mechanic of earning 1-Ups for consecutively jumping on enemies' heads without touching the ground. Special challenges offer a variety of scenarios: in one, you must race through a level while leaping through rings of ghosts, while another consists of avoiding incoming fireballs with only a single block to stand on. Finally, Boost challenges are focused on using the GamePad's touch screen to help the other player reach a goal or accomplish a specific task.

Regardless of which challenges you attempt, they are all difficult to master. Only when you achieve perfection do you earn a gold medal for your efforts. Completing these challenges is like setting up a winding series of dominoes. Just as every domino must be in the right place, so too must your jumps, slides, and runs be deftly timed. It's tough to make every move just right, but when you do, the rush of satisfaction you receive makes it all worth it. If you ever feel at odds with your ability to complete the main game, challenges are the perfect playground to perfect your understanding and control of Mario's tendencies and physics.

A prime example of the obstacles Mario must overcome during his quest to save the Mushroom Kingdom.

Lastly, there's the Boost Rush mode. Essentially, Mario needs to get through levels as quickly as possible, but the rub is that the stage auto-scrolls at a snail's pace. In order to speed it up, allowing you to complete the stage in a timely manner, you need to collect coins. The problem is, do you move deliberately, thoroughly collecting coins, or do you charge ahead? You're required to balance the two objectives, but when the screen is devoid of coins and you're left waiting for upwards of fifteen seconds for more to appear, the use of "Rush" in the title no longer feels appropriate. If there's any criticism to be levied against New Super Mario Bros. U, it would be that Boost Rush mode lacks focus.

New Super Mario Bros. U is not a game that takes many risks, nor is it definitively the best 2D Mario title, but it's certainly a contender. It's consistently charming, often challenging, and an excellent illustration of that which makes Mario games so special. Nintendo seemingly recaptured traditional, distilled platforming, but also incorporated a newfound attention to modern gaming trends and expectations. It's a challenging platformer, an excellent recreation of Mario's best moments, and it's the perfect way to kick-off Nintendo's journey into HD.

The Good
Excellent level design
Smart difficulty curve
Classic Mario elements make their triumphant return
Additional content is plentiful and challenging
The Bad
N/A
8.5
Great
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Discussion

13 comments
Ovirew
Ovirew

I think this game looks like great fun.  Maybe that's the childhood in me rushing to the surface, but it just does.

happypanda53
happypanda53

same old Mario formula yeah but its a formula that cant be beat.

KurnSonOfMogh
KurnSonOfMogh

What blatant anti-Nintendo bias. C'mon GameSpot. You can't list a single flaw for your "The bad" section, but the game only gets an 8.5?  But GTA4 (which, btw, isn't on Wii) has two "the bad" flaws but gets a perfect 10/10?

greymon12345
greymon12345

Another great Super Mario game.  This time with HD graphics and new adventures.  A good collection to the Wii U.

DWraySweZ
DWraySweZ

Played Mario games since I was 8 years old meaning just about everyone and saying that this isn't the best Mario title in 2d ever is ridicules. Get over the nostalgia of Mario 3 and world... Btw I'm 34

terafumos
terafumos

You have to use wii motes for multiplayer. Damnit. I guess I'm skipping another Nintendo generation if their games keep this theme going.

KennKool
KennKool

Well one thing we can agree on, Nintendo does not force you to register your game in your console only.  You can still sell them, or let a friend borrow it, or bring it to a friends house and enjoy some good fun.  XBOX720 and PS4 your screwed if the game stinks you own it, and can't do anything about it.  

emarati999
emarati999

i o=alwayz loved Super Mario Bros it's one of the best games out there the best

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

How about the controls? You mention that you have to use the Wiimotes, which I'm assuming means you also have to use the motion control 'shake' to do one of the actions? Can people still put themselves in bubbles whenever they want by hitting 'A'? Do the bubbles still get in everyone's way and stop your jump / timing when you hit them? When someone dies does it do a mini-pause of the game, screwing up the timing of everyone that doesn't suck in the game?

And lastly castles, are they still the equivalent of playing the waterfall level from contra for every one of these? If the answer is yes to any of these it looks like this game is a solid "Pass". 

Very interesting that the review didn't have a single 'bad' item on it even though there were so many things wrong with the first NSMB's game on the Wii. 

hpg101
hpg101

No way I'm not getting a Wii U now.

pathosfire
pathosfire

They are really tempting me to buy a Wii U, aren't they?  Love Mario.

SectorSix6
SectorSix6

this is my favorite 2D mario game!

Billfredbobob
Billfredbobob

After playing this game I can honestly say it is the best mario scroller since world, 2nd or 3rd best overall.

Billfredbobob
Billfredbobob

What I'd like to see is a full mario sidescroller that uses the mechanics of the mario galaxy 2 sidescrolling. Those levels where you switched the gravity, used clouds for platforms and shook the wiimote to climb things were awesome. Why not have a scroller like that?

Spacerac
Spacerac

To be fair, there's only one NSMB game per console. CoD releases a game every year. That means starting back in 2006 where the first NSMB came out on DS, that 7 CoD games have been released since 2006. There are 4 NSMB games, one per console.

fastfoodjunkie
fastfoodjunkie

whoaaa, a lot of fan boys here who hate on Nintendo. if you don't want the game, then don't buy it. i can say CoD is a decent game but I don't like it, not my cup of tea. you keep on talking about, innovation, innovation, yeah, as if you know anything about it. i bet this person who say he/she wants innovation is also the same person who keeps on buying the same CoD game, same Halo game, the same RPG game, the same freakin Madden NFL every year! Your hypocrisy makes me puke!

Vickman178
Vickman178

This game game SOOOO much better then the one that was released on Wii.

 

Seriously I tried going back to the Super Mario Bros Wii and just couldn't!! They up'ed the difficulty in this too which was nice. I actually died!

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

the title says "new super mario bros U" but i don't see anything "new" beside the better graphics and a few more power ups

 

i only wish they could made more 3D games like "super" mario 3D land 

 

seriously there is bilions of side scrollers around the net 

but not much 3D platforming 

 

still nintendo is kinda targeting this to kids so 

i don't think they care if it's recycled 

 

but as for the veteran player, he knows it's not worth a WII-U 

 

stick to 3DS 

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

Another side scroller to showcase a new system? C'mon Nintendo, give me a reason to buy Wii U

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

I don't know what I'm more tired of; Call of Duty or New Super Mario Bros.

ChrisJH9
ChrisJH9

Ever since the original release of Super Mario "Galaxy" (and following the standard evolution from Super Mario "World") I jokingly (although actually seriously) suspected the next main series game would be called Super Mario Universe. When the Wii U was first announced, I was like...Wii U? That's an odd name...but now I'm starting to actually think my premonition is coming true and they named the Wii U as such specifically so that they could be clever and release..... Super Mario "U"niverse!!

 

Which actually really excites me if they do that for some reason...

mr_azim
mr_azim

What bugs me is they released only one Mario Bros for Wii..... the rest was galaxy and kart and a series of poor sports games.  So I need to buy a whole new console if I want another Mario Bros. game???  Lame. 

edpeterson
edpeterson

Why make a new 3D Mario game with some new things when you can just rehash the New Super Mario Brothers series again? Same game but with a different title, a few new power ups, and different levels. Nobody will be the wiser, just look at COD!

 

Well, at least the graphics seem like they got updated and they look pretty nice. It also seems better than New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the 3DS!

Birth_By_Sorrow
Birth_By_Sorrow

"Incorporates the best elements" i.e it's a mishmash of content that has already been released. Why, why is innovation so frowned upon these days? New backgrounds and flashier coating don't change the fact that it's still the 50th Mario game that has you go from one end of the screen to the other.

THE_DRUGGIE
THE_DRUGGIE

They're just gonna keep stamping "New" on every Mario release from now on, aren't they?

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

Well this is good. This is what we buy Nintendos for right? At least their flagship has been done right :)

Kane04
Kane04

LoL @ the New in the title of the game.You use that word Nintendo but I don't think you know what it means.I wonder how many casuals will buy this games before they realise it's not for their good old Wii, it's an all "new" Wii, too big to carry around, too small to play at home.

japanesegoth
japanesegoth

quit whining about not getting a new series. it wouldn't sell as well so why would nintendo bother? the majority of people who buy video games probably research only a small fraction of what anyone here does when buying games..if at all. they see the name and say oooh mario, or ooooh halo.

SSJMonkey
SSJMonkey

I just don't get Nintendo. How long are they going to continue to remake the same game?... wait... never mind... I guess the answer is however long ppl continue to pay them to do it... man I really hate that Zelda and Bayonetta are exclusives to this system...

orangetack
orangetack

I agree with this score but gamespot rarely give nintendo 9 or more

tomservo51
tomservo51

@KurnSonOfMogh Just because there is nothing blatantly bad about it, doesn't make it an Awesome game either.

cashnmillions
cashnmillions

@KurnSonOfMogh I agree that GTA IV is at most an 8.5, especially since the controls suck and the game really isn't that fun. Having said that, the fact that this game really just updates some of the same elements in other Mario games, really doesn't warrant anything higher. I think if Nintendo made a Mario that was more like Mario64, but with much more updated scenery and more to the gameplay, it would fair much better. 

PHILRYABKIN
PHILRYABKIN

@KurnSonOfMogh I think this site has become more biased over the past couple of years. Even with amazing games like Skyward Sword and bashing ports of a lot of classic video games that get the HD treatment.

PotentialCrisis
PotentialCrisis

@terafumos Well you use the wii remotes like you would a classic nes controller. You hold it sideways and use the d pad to move and the 1 and 2 button to jump. For others games like call of duty, you can use the wii remotes, the gamepad, or their new controller the wii pro controller which is basically like an xbox remote

nolson
nolson

@KennKool  

Wrong. Maybe on 720 but its already been confirmed this is not true on ps4. Become informed before you speak

Vylsith
Vylsith

 @Spacerac While I understand what you're saying, I'm still tired of seeing Marios face every month.  Every other time Nintendo makes an exclusive Mario has to show his face.  Over it.  I'm about at the point where I won't buy a game with Mario in it on principle.  I used to love Mario.  So done with it now.  I'm sure people who haven't seen his face for the last 25 years will still like Mario, but seriously Nintendo needs some new franchises.

Spacerac
Spacerac

 @thequickshooter I believe this was made to  sort of tide people over until the next 3D mario platformer. The 2D games are easier and faster to make, the 3D games take time

Sundaze
Sundaze

 @DiverseGamer seriously? A good platformer with new reasons to play will never get old. While I would rather have a very good and true sequel to Mario 64, this is like a combination of Mario 3 and SMW. I'll take it.

DukeRodrigue
DukeRodrigue

 @mr_azim They did exactly the same thing with the N64 : released Super Mario 64, 3 Mario Party games and Mario Kart 64 and then it went to the Nintendo Gamecube. On that one they released : Super Mario Sunshine, Mario Party 4, 5, 6 & 7, Mario Kart Double Dash and other sports game. I don't see why you point it out with the Wii when Nintendo always did that.

Sundaze
Sundaze

 @edpeterson Graphics got a huge bump in that they are full HD. Other than that, gameplay is tried and tried again, but it's still true.

blindkorn09
blindkorn09

 @Birth_By_Sorrow

 "it's still the 50th Mario game that has you go from one end of the screen to the other."  Ever heard of level design?!  The greatness of Mario games has been, and will always be, the design of the levels and the precision controls! It doesn't matter if they use similar themes and powerups for each game, because the core element will always be level design and tight controls!  As a lifelong fan, I can honestly say that NSMB U is one of the best games in the ENTIRE SERIES!  And that is really saying something!

Birth_By_Sorrow
Birth_By_Sorrow

 @ydnarrewop Done right is Super Mario galaxy. That was highly innovating and unique (and i can admit that even though I'm not a huge fan of it). This is Super Mario Brothers 13.

vault-boy
vault-boy

 @japanesegoth Maybe Nintendo should bother because they should strive to bring new and fun series to games because that is what a good company does. Not to mention it isn't whining to stand up and say when a company is being a bunch of cunts with there games. It is whining, however, when you bitch about people wanting companies to do what is right for their consumers. Not to mention how do you think Mario and Halo got popular? They were new IP that were amazing at what they did and they sold well. Mario almost single handedly brought the industry out of a recession in the 80's. But that was Nintendo 25 years ago, Nintendo now seems to only care about profits, not making new games. I still love Mario, Zelda and Metroid, but I won't support a company that will make nothing but that. BTW, work on your wording. It is really bad.

Jhowkun
Jhowkun

 @SSJMonkey say that to EA and its FIFA's games lol. Ok now talking seriously, I thought this game would be the same thing again, but taking a look on all the social interaction, it's really a new addition to the series ands a great game of course. Anyway, yes, it's time to Nintendo put this series down for a while and wait new concepts to be developed as well

megafitch
megafitch

 @SSJMonkey Wouldn't Zelda fall into the category of a game which has been re-made and re-modeled endless times? With around....Thirty entries into the fray?

Fandango_Letho
Fandango_Letho

 @Sundaze  @DiverseGamer He has a point though. We got New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the DS only three months ago, and yet another one right now. No matter how good these games can be, they're always the same; same worlds, same bosses, same obstacles, same powers.

blindkorn09
blindkorn09

 @vault-boy  @japanesegoth

I just want to say that after I ACTUALLY PLAYED THE GAME, I feel that NSMBU is probably the second best 2D Mario game of all time. . . after Super Mario World!  I used capitol letters because I wanted to make the point that almost none of you have even played this game yet you are all bashing it based on the fact that it is a "New" Mario game?  Don't let the title fool you. . . this is a really hard and brutal game that I would say is about as "hardcore" as a platformer can get!  I died more then 100 times before world 5, and I'm a lifelong Mario player! No BS!!!

Sundaze
Sundaze

 @megafitch exactly... Zelda is my favorite series, and I'll admit that openly. All these people sitting here and crying CoD! are the same people play BLOPS:2 right now... Mario Bros. games will continue to be 2D side-scrollers... and, they continue to be the best in the genre. I still predict a true Mario 64 sequel on the Wii U.. hopefully that will satisfy some of these people.

SSJMonkey
SSJMonkey

 @megafitch lol, yeah, that's true, I guess I'm just being bias because I still enjoy the zelda games... some of them... and that tech demo looked awesome.

Vickman178
Vickman178

 @Fandango_Letho  @Sundaze  @DiverseGamer Uh no I'll agree that they have been releasing quite a bit of these 2D mario games lately but this game feels much fresher then previous instalments in the "New" Super Mario Bros series.

 

The only thing thats holding this game back from being even better is the recycled music from the other "New" Super Mario Bros games. That was the one thing that bugged me. I was really hoping for some new tracks not just remixed versions from previous games.

megafitch
megafitch

 @SSJMonkey If they could pull that tech demo off in a full game, then it would wipe the floor with anything anybody has ever seen - I'm sure there would be tonnes of people itching to play it! Not all of their titles would be suitable for a more graphical "mature" setting, but Metroid and Zelda could definitely lead that charge! I t would be nice if Nintendo updated a few of their old classics and bought them into this new era for themselves and their fans for sure, and modernising then slightly more would help the appeal across the gaming spectrum. I don't think Mario running around Vice City would work :P But Nintendo do have a wealth of titles at their disposal which could make fantastic comebacks. Wave race could be phenomenal, as could pilotwings. I would really, REALLY like to see a new, and I mean BRAND NEW game - one where Nintendo go for a far more visceral and realistic looking game - It wouldn't need to be filled with blood or swears (I'm sure it wouldn't be anyway), but done right they could really turn some heads!

New Super Mario Bros. U More Info

  • First Released
    • Wii U
    New Super Mario Bros. U is a new side-scrolling adventure that introduces new transformations for Mario and the ability for players to play as their Mii characters.
    8.1
    Average User RatingOut of 488 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate New Super Mario Bros. U
    Developed by:
    Nintendo
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    2D, Platformer, Action
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    Comic Mischief