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New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Review - It's-A-Me, Again!

  • First Released Nov 18, 2012
  • Reviewed Jan 9, 2019
  • NS

Mamma mia.

Of all the New Super Mario Bros. games, beginning with the 2006 DS title, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is probably the one least deserving of the "New" moniker. It is, after all, a Switch remaster of the Wii U launch title, and although some new features and the New Super Luigi U expansion are included in this capable repackaging of an already great game, it's getting tougher to justify calling this series New with each passing entry.

There's no doubt the formula works; the 2D Marios continue to boast the best platforming of any game series, with accessible controls and inventive obstacles complementing the best-feeling jump in video games. And as with the Wii U version, NSMBU is inventive from start to finish, with the mid-game Soda Jungle world being one of the best Mario environments ever. However, we've done all this before, haven't we? You start off with a grassy world, then a desert one, then a snowy one, then a water one, repeat ad infinitum.

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Once upon a time I found this repetition comforting. But U Deluxe is a victim of its 3D cousins' success: It now exists on the same console as Super Mario Odyssey, which is possibly the finest 3D platformer ever made. By comparison, NSMBU Deluxe feels a little… ordinary. By the numbers. Safe. Where Odyssey confidently transported us to fresh worlds filled with moons and stars and dinosaurs an uncanny valley New York, NSMBU suffers from a lack of originality.

That's not to say it's boring--no, not by any stretch. Within the restraints of a New Super Mario Bros. game, Nintendo does a wonderful job of thinking up new enemies and hurdles for you to overcome, with each level offering a new electrifying critter, weight-limited transport or water-filled safety net. Latter worlds plateau at a satisfying level of difficulty that never becomes frustrating but still gives you a rush when you succeed, while star coins remain available to collect for those who want an extra challenge. Ghost houses can still absolutely get lost, though.

The Switch remaster also adds a new item, the super crown, which transforms Toadette into a version of Peach with special powers. She can double jump, for instance, as well as use her trademark dress to float downwards. Other characters, however, cannot use the super crown, which, as well as denying the internet the Bowsette it so dearly desires, is a strange exclusion. Toadette is denoted as "easy" in the main menu, where Mario, Luigi, and Toad are normal difficulty and Nabbit is "very easy." You can change characters outside of any level throughout the game, but it strikes me as an odd choice--why keep Peach's powers isolated to one difficulty level?

Once you inevitably defeat Bowser--spoilers!--a post-game opens up, offering super-hard levels only unlocked for those who collect every star coin throughout each of the game's eight worlds. From the start you can also access special challenges, such as dodging fireballs for a certain amount of time or triple-jumping to coin glory, as well as the aforementioned New Super Luigi U. The Luigi-led expansion remixes each level from the main game to be shorter but harder, and Luigi himself changes to have a higher jump but slower--and thus trickier--reaction times. NSLU is the most substantial mode outside of the main game, and it's thankfully unlocked from the start for those seeking a challenge.

Despite its aging formula, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is still a great entry in the series, with its typically tight platforming and both accessibility and depth to spare. While it can feel a bit stale for those who have been round the Mushroom Kingdom one too many times before, Deluxe is well worth playing, especially if you didn't get a chance to play NSMBU on Wii U.

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The Good
Platforming feels as good as ever
Some inventive obstacles and levels
Plenty here to keep you busy after you finish the main game
The Bad
The New Super Mario Bros. formula is starting to feel old in the face of Mario's advances elsewhere
Nothing substantial to offer those who played this and NSLU on Wii U
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for New Super Mario Bros. U

About the Author

Oscar played around 12 hours of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, and he hasn't stopped hopping around the room since. Maybe it was those mushrooms he ate. A complimentary code was provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.
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GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for thebadjesus

I’ve tried a few times, most recently with Mario Odyssey, to get into and enjoy a 3D Mario game, but for me there’s something about them that I just don’t enjoy. But I’ve always enjoyed 2D Mario games and having never had a Wii U this one’s definitely on my list to get.

Avatar image for silv3rst0rm

It's clear now that Nintendo is gonna make up for its Wii U failure on Switch owners...

They did it with some titles beginning with Mario Kart 8 but now that they saw the formula actually work and we (customers) buy into it, they will be releasing most of 1st party titles back for the switch in the very state they were for the Wii U adding 2-3 bells and whistles here and there.

They'll get back on the money they lost on Wii U by re-releasing titles needing very little reworking done on the Switch at full retail price.

I'm not sure if it should be called genius or robbery.

Avatar image for onesiphorus

If Toadette can transform into Peachette, why not have any of the Toads transform into Mario or Luigi? Peachette is nothing more to have Peach as a playable character eventhough she is also the damsel-in-distress in this game and cannot be as two roles (captive and heroine) at the same time. Also, why not have Daisy in the game instead of having Toadette? She made her playable debut in a main Mario game in the mobile Super Mario Run.

Avatar image for bullsharktestosterone

It's a good game, but the 3D Land/World games are wayyy better; they have the best of both 2D and 3D worlds. THOSE shoulda been rereleased. This game also is too not different from the other three NSMB games which came before it. Not to mention the fortress, castle, ground, and ghost house musics are exactly the same as the other NSMB games.

Avatar image for hochstreck

A 7/10 appears kinda weired for this game, as its course designs and general gameplay comes with superior polish, creative intent and variety, compared to the 9/10 for Donkey Kong: TF.

And a 7/10, compared to a 6/10 from Crash Bandicoot is almost preposterous.

Avatar image for croxus

I really enjoyed Odyssey, Zelda too.

But on a mobile console nothing beats platforms imo. Mario bros somewhat disappointed me. I don't feel that 60fps i see on the videos in real life the flow of the game is not that natural, mario moves a bit slower than expected, its hard to make a precise jump because of that. I never owned a Nintendo console before, i am not familiar with the buttons and uniforms and there is no tutorial as it was on odyssey and Zelda. The run feature is in a very bad position on the x button, its really hard to keep the run button with the X, then press the B to run, at the pre ise moment, because of the distance your thumb has to make and the game's own decelerated physics and Mario's old man reflexes.

The game grows pretty hard/demanding later on and those core control issues, make it a frustrating experience, some save points are not as frequent as they are in modern days and are remiscent of the 80ies.

At any cases, its still a solid 8 for anyone that didnt own the original version.

Avatar image for zimerust

So many angry Nintendo haters upset that this will probably outsell Spider Man lol

Avatar image for bigruss51

@zimerust: So many you can count them all on one finger if you could count that high lol

Avatar image for dino7c

Its not really a remaster since the new hardware isn't much more can play it on the go I guess

Avatar image for zimerust

@dino7c: it's actually much more powerful

Avatar image for bigruss51

Nintendo should be buried with its overpriced games and last gen console. They're good at recycling garbage. You'll think you're blessed if they release 10 games in a console generation. How long did it take to make a new Zelda? Poor investment buying a console for 2 or 3 games imo. I don't see anything worthy of my time here.

Avatar image for salty101

@bigruss51: You sound like a spoiled 10 year old. I'd rather have 1 Zelda game than a collection from the annually releasing franchises.

Avatar image for bigruss51

@salty101: Don't lie to yourself. Some of those annual release are a ton of fun. I call out Nintendo for being a poor investment and that makes me sound like a spoiled 10 year old? They must walk on their hands instead of their feet where you're from. I am spoiled because PC Master Race. But there's a lot more than annual released games and cost is significantly lower given a waiting period after initial release. I wouldn't buy a console for 1 game, help yourself man. What's worse annual releases or having to buy the same game every 6 years and pay full price for it on old gen hardware. There's plenty of games better than Zelda out there. You're not a gamer if all you need is 1 title per console generation.

Avatar image for angrycreep

The 7 is very harsh score this is still a good quality game even some 6 years later. the game is at least a solid 8 out 10 Oscar Dayus you are an idiot reviewer and your low score don't reflect how good this game still is today. IGN gave it a 8.0 out 10 and Game Informer also thought it was still a solid game and gave it a 8.5 out 10

Avatar image for Xerosch

As someone who didn't enjoy Odyssey and 64 very much, I hope the classic gameplay of 2D Marios never ever changes.

Avatar image for cs1323

I'm excited to play tomorrow! Had NSMB for Wii back in '09 but had disc drive issues later on. Great to have a good ol' traditional 2-D Mario platformer on the Switch for once too.

Once this game's out the way hopefully Nintendo has more in store for the Switch itself in the future.

Avatar image for moviespot

Where's xenoblade chronicles X, the only wii u game worth revisiting

Avatar image for dani3po

Between remasters and old indies (with new prices), the Switch catalogue is growing fast.

Avatar image for EricShadow366

Nah...$60 is just way too much. Maybe when the price goes down I might get it again. But alas....Resident Evil 2 remake and Kingdom Hearts 3 are calling me this month.

Avatar image for Sindroid

@EricShadow366: I never seen Nintendo titles on sale... Ever...

Avatar image for cs1323

@Sindroid: It may be mythical, but I finally witnessed it happen. For "The Game Awards" last month in December, Super Mario Odyssey was 30% off. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe/Hyrule Warriors had discounts that ended just this week.

I'm sure it'll be quite some time before NSMBUD gets any sort of discount though.

Avatar image for Defender1978

Great game. Have on the Wii U.

Avatar image for mattsaroni24

I feel like the price point should have been mentioned. $80 AUD for the digital version is a joke.

Avatar image for silv3rst0rm

Nintendo will make me regret my kids...

They want this game...again!!

They didn't get to play this enough on Wii U...

Avatar image for Celsius765

Is Peachette really that slow or is the person playing not running on purpose

Avatar image for Starshine_M2A2

So happy to be able to play this. Loved the DS games.

Avatar image for Xristophoros

nintendo is nuts to charge another $60 for THIS lol... i know, i shouldn't be surprised at this point... this is nintedno's way...

Avatar image for agramonte

At $60, no thanks. Already have $60 pre-order for Kingdom Hearts 3.

If Nintendo wants me to make it a $120 month, they need to do better than a rehashed WiiU port.

Avatar image for superklyph

I forgot about this! Picking it up.

Avatar image for brian_ghattas

I didn’t play this or Luigi U on the Wii U so despite the $92 Canadian price tag, I’m buying it. I need my 2D fix.

Yes, Super Mario Odyssey is an overrated game. So is Breath of The Wild. Both games were bought digitally online so I’m stuck with them. I agree with all the reasons why people believe SMO is not as good as its review score indicates.

Avatar image for hosedandhappy

@brian_ghattas: Odyssey came out two years ago. Let it go.

Avatar image for Guy_Brohski

@hosedandhappy: Actually it hasn't even been out for a year and a half yet.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

Wow, Odyssey is far from the best platformer ever, and it's probably the worst 3D Mario game. It leans heavily into the puzzle aspect rather than the action focused obstacle course, where like Sunshine those parts are reserved for mini challenges where you can't use the hat's puzzle solving powers from the main game and likewise in Sunshine you can't use the FLUDD in those parts. There's what, about 10 different enemy types in the whole game, and they're mostly there to solve a situation where Mario can't do it by himself. I enjoyed the 2D sections far more than the rest of the game. Honestly I'd call Odyssey a poor and gimmicky sequel to Sunshine.

Best platformer of the generation has to go to Astrobot Rescue Mission. Of all time is probably Galaxy 2. I hope Mario can come back with Galaxy 3 because Odyssey is a disappointment. Not a bad game, just doesn't live up to the Mario name.

That said I wrecked this game on Wii U, there is no reason this re-release is as expensive as it is, so it's an easy pass for me on Switch. Bring us some new games please.

Avatar image for Sindroid

@girlusocrazy: I actually completed it 100% back in my days as a teenager when it was released. I played it again myself recently on the remaster and holy darn.. So much rage quit and anger.. Incredibly hard.

Avatar image for Xristophoros

@girlusocrazy: how about the crash bandicoot remaster? i was playing it just yesterday for the first time... i have not seen such a pure platformer in decades... it's literally entirely about jumping and nothing else. no exploration whatsoever and it is HARD. i had played it back in the day but for some reason i had forgotten how challenging it is. then again, i might have only played the sequels and was unaware how hard the first game is.

Avatar image for hochstreck

@Xristophoros: The stages designs and general mechanics in the Bandicoot games are really primitive and not varied at all, compared to NewSuperMarioWiiU or even Donkey Kong: TF.

Avatar image for doctor_mg

@Xristophoros: The first game is ridiculously hard at some points. At that time I don't Naughty Dog didn't really understand that pixel perfect jumps in a 3D game simply aren't the best idea. Number 2 and 3 are way better.

Also, the remaster kind of botches some things up. Still beatable of course, but in some instances it's even harder.

Avatar image for Xristophoros

@doctor_mg: i agree. some of the enemy hit boxes seem off at times... and the jumping control could be slightly improved? the game is very unforgiving but it keeps me pushing through regardless. i just wish they was a traditional 3-hit life bar or something :(

Avatar image for doctor_mg

@Xristophoros: Yeah, I think the hit boxes were changed a bit. Crash seems to slide off of surfaces instead of stick like he used to. My advice is to use the Dpad instead of the analog stick. Unless they patched it the analog sticks have a huge dead zone that makes it difficult to use them with precision.

Avatar image for real_o_g_d

Mario Odyssey is not at the top of my Mario list, and I've played them all. The game is too easy. It isn't challenging. My 4 year old son beat the game by himself, and he's still working on getting frustrated and not giving up. I thought the game was going to be Mario Galaxy tough, which had lots of challenging sections comparatively. New Super Mario Bros U can be very challenging in sections, especially with 4 people on the screen. In my opinion, Mario Odyssey is a great looking game, great for kids, and a great time waster if you own the switch, but it isn't great for adults who like that Mario challenge. Nintendo, can we just get a challenging Super Mario Sunshine sequel on switch??

Avatar image for DarkRikuShadow

I never got the chance to play this on the Wii U so i'm going to enjoy this one.

Avatar image for 93ChevyNut

Eh, if it's fun, I'll buy. I really enjoyed the SMB game on Wii U, but didn't get into it much. I'll get this and Mario Odyssey.

Avatar image for chisoxrule

This game was already stale when it came out on the Wii U. Pass...

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New Super Mario Bros. U More Info

  • First Released Nov 18, 2012
    • Nintendo Switch
    • 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.
    Average Rating557 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    Platformer, Action, 2D
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Comic Mischief