By: Lara Murray, staff writer
ESRB Rating: E
Released: November 18, 2012
Available on the Wii U
New Super Mario Bros. U takes us back to the Mushroom Kingdom, where Mario, his brother Luigi, and two of their toad friends must save Princess Peach and her kingdom from the ever determined King Bowser and his Koopa Kids. It’s an old plot device that’s been used in nearly every Mario Bros. game, but it’s a tried-and-true formula that always hooks us in.
Players are taken across eight various, luscious areas that are brought to life with the high definition graphics. Visually, it’s one of the best Mario games out there. The graphics are crisp and colorful, showcasing many subtle details obtainable only in high definition, and is complimented by the array of catchy music unique to each level. It’s hard not to chuckle when a koopa stops mid-step to face the screen and subtly dance to the music.
Family Gaming Assessment:
In order to progress through the game, Mario and his companions must defeat enemies by a number of different means: jump on them, knock them over with spinning shells, throw ice- or fireballs, or become invincible. When defeated, enemies flash briefly or make a comical sound before vanishing.
Online features of the game allow user’s friends to post their thoughts on a level, and can indicate whether their post is a spoiler or not. Only friends of the user will have their posts appear, eliminating strangers from the game.
Up to four players can control Mario, his brother Luigi, and two toads through the main story, in addition to an additional player who can use the gamepad to influence the environment, affecting gameplay for the players. There are challenge modes as well that put a player’s skills to the test, usually by requiring players to achieve a goal before finishing a level within a drastically limited amount of time.
This is a great game for young children with little to no platforming skills because of the use of the gamepad. You can sit back and help younger players by creating floating blocks or building up power to help beat enemies, or switch roles to let young players feel like they’re helping in a big way. Older players shouldn’t find using the gamepad as a demerit of their skills; more often than not players will work with the gamepad to easily clear pesky levels and find tucked away secrets.
New Super Mario Bros. U is a great addition to a family that already owns a Nintendo Wii U, or is looking into purchasing a Wii U but isn’t sure what to buy. Those already familiar with the series won’t find much new brought to the table, as the gameplay and world design are retreads of older game designs. Despite the rehash, New Super Mario Bros. U is a safe investment for lots of fun, long after the princess has been saved.