New Super Mario Bros. U is a pitch-perfect example of side-scrolling platforming in the modern era.
As a Nintendo-published game, it’s the most popular Wii U launch title, and the first new Mario game to launch with a Nintendo console since Super Mario 64 in 1997.
New Super Mario Bros. U casts a wide net to cater for gamers of all abilities. It’s the most challenging entry in the New Super Mario Bros. series, yet offers plenty of help to newcomers.
The diverse range of levels offer a joyful blend of speed-obsessed courses, precise A-to-B platforming and testing puzzles.
NSMBU brings back the top-down view of the game world, which hasn't been seen in a Super Mario game for almost two decades.
Following a branching path, you can choose to visit any world in the Mushroom Kingdom to complete its levels, rather than follow numbered stages.
The Wii U’s launch marks Mario’s transition into high definition in style. The vibrant world of Super Mario looks stunning with a crisp HD finish.
As a five-player cooperative game, four players can blast through the levels with Wii Remotes, while the fifth looks to offer assistance on the GamePad by drawing makeshift platforms.
It will help lesser-skilled players collect otherwise unobtainable objects, but Mario veterans will quickly grow frustrated and insist Mario is meant to be a single-player experience. I’m inclined to agree with them.
As a single-player game, NSMBU can be played on a full HDTV or entirely on the GamePad. Like many Wii U games, the full solo experience can be completed without a TV.
As the fourth New Super Mario game, HD is the obvious advancement, but more impressive is the difficulty. It’s seamless, gradually increasing on the way to some genuine challenges.
Super Guide will appear if the game senses you’re struggling, sending a computer-controlled Luigi through the stage to show you what to do. It can be ignored if you’re intent on completing everything yourself.
Like all recent Mario games, you’ll collect an abundance of lives, but this time it actually feels like you need them.
Once you’ve rescued Princess Peach from the clutches of the fire-breathing Bowser, there are a raft of skill-based games to keep you busy.
Each stage also has three special coins to be collected that are required to unlock the bonus world to really test your platforming ability. Collectively, it’s enough to keep anyone occupied for several weeks.
New Super Mario Bros. U returns to Mario’s challenging roots, as a fantastic modern side-scrolling platformer. If you only buy one launch game with the Wii U, make sure it's New Super Mario Bros. U.