Reviews

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe – a CO-OP Review

‘2006 saw the release of a new Super Mario sub-series entitled ‘New Super Mario Bros.' On the Nintendo DS. Featuring a 2.5D display format, New Super Mario Bros. Incorporated classic Mario gameplay with brand new power-ups, features and gimmicks such a Giant Mushroom that enables Mario to completely trash courses.' ‘2009 was the 25th Anniversary of Mario, which was celebrated in-part with the release of ‘New Super Mario Bros. Wii' which was again well received. The series even saw a release on the disgraced Wii U, does that even count?'

Well readers, as you may well know, this Friday sees the release of ‘New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe’. Serving more like a second chance to play the game and it’s ‘Super Luigi U’ expansion in its entirety, I decided to get our resident Weeb and a direct competitor to ‘Grammarly’, Mikein2D.

Mikein2D has spent a good amount of time on the initial Wii U release, so much so that we will be drawing comparisons between the two releases in order to assess if this is simply a port or light re-master.

So Mike: There is no doubt that Deluxe is a brilliant game that peels away the years of adulthood to reveal a core of nostalgia. Sort of like a human onion, but in a non-murderous sense. It’s a solid title for sure, what’re your highlights with New Super Mario Bros. U?

Mike: Well, let me open with this; Super Mario U released in 2012! That seems insane to me as it feels like a recent release. Well, that was until it dawned on me that there’s a lot I don’t remember so I had to promptly hook up the Wii U again to give it blast.

Digging Out Some Nostalgia

Reg: “Sorry about that ‘hon’ xoxo”.

I’ve seen quite a few members of Nintendo’s fanbase donning their keyboard warrior gloves when it comes to the offering of content New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, even more so with pricing. Whilst I can safely say the 80+ levels in the vanilla game, 80+ levels in Super Luigi U mode, 4 player co-op and the introduction of new playable characters is enough content to justify a full price release, it is still a port of an old title. Even complete overhaul remasters such as the ‘Spyro: Ignited Trilogy’ or ‘Crash: N-Sane Trilogy’ released for a budget price tag of around £30.

Mike, do you see the value in this title giving that you would be essentially buying the same game again, or would you say that New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is targeting newbies such as myself who didn’t catch the title the first time around?

Mike: Value for money really can’t be understated here. If you bought the original on release, followed by Luigi U as DLC, it was actually more expensive. The only complaints will likely stem from those Wii U owners who had their fill. This isn’t really targeted at them. From what I’ve seen of the new features, there’s very little to offer those who already own the original game other than the option to play it on the go. Having said that, I’d still say it’s worth the price of admission if you missed out on the Luigi U content and enjoy elevated difficulty in a 2D Mario game.

Value For Super New Bros.?

Reg: I think we may be on the same page here. Whilst people may argue that New Super Luigi U physical copy on Wii U is somewhat of a collector’s item these days, it is still hard to justify the cost to someone who already owns the game and a Wii U.

However, I’m guilty of more or less skipping the Wii U bar the HD Zelda Remasters, so for someone who doesn’t own a Wii U and hasn’t played New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe before, it’s not a bad deal.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this co-op review. Aesthetically, New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe doesn’t look any different than it’s Wii U cousin. Yes, we are getting a slightly better resolution in docked mode with slightly more vibrant colours and textures. But it’s again the same game.

The beauty of this title is first and foremost, it’s a bog-standard Mario game. Please don’t take that statement in a negative light, it’s actually quite the compliment. Mario has seen his fair share of gimmicks and odd circumstances over the past 20 years, but why did we all fall in love with this Mushroom Abusing Jumping Plummer in the first place?

Courses, power-ups, speed runs, boss battles, character design, iconic yet simple bit-chip soundtracks and it’s easy-to-learn-hard-to-master platforming mechanics. This all makes a return in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe with some new and returning power-ups to mix things up, furthermore, that’s what makes it fun and memorable.

Mike, as a fellow Nintendo buff, you’ll understand the nostalgia I’m channelling here, do you agree? Or do you think New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe could do more as a nod to fans? Maybe it could do more to meet fan satisfaction such as using the ‘Mario Odyssey’ mechanic of flipping to 8-Bit courses every now and again?

Dodging Series Fatigue in 2019

Mike: It’s hard to answer, having owned it fairly close to launch. The game was released at such an awkward time. If you bought it way back in 2012 there was more of an issue with ‘New’ fatigue at that point, which dulls the nostalgia element a fair bit. The same aesthetic with an HD coat, same physics and very little new to offer, the game didn’t carry the usual hype (also bear in mind, this was before the Wii U had officially failed).

Somewhat ironically, ‘New Super Mario Bros. 2′ for 3DS tried something different and it backfired, however, this was due to many poor level design choices based around its core gimmick. New Super Mario Bros. U fixed these issues but did very little to iterate on the template. ‘Super Mario Maker’ was the breath of life Wii U owners needed in a 2D Mario offering. That said, for those missing out on the Wii U and, ignoring the 3DS entry, a lot of people will see this as a blast back to 2009’s New Super Mario Bros. Wii. That’s a decade to get over fatigue so it’s likely a non-issue.

Reg: For me, I found this announcement odd considering the demand of a Super Mario Maker port to Nintendo’s flagship. For me, that seemed to provide the definitive Mario 2D/2.5D platformer experience with unlimited courses at a players disposal. Mike, do you see New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe as a way of Nintendo putting it’s big N-shaped foot down on the fanbase, simply stating ‘We call the shots, this is what we want to do next’, or maybe it’s just Nintendo’s overall plan to release Wii U back catalogue titles during quiet parts of its foreseeable launch window?

The Making of Marios Odyssey

Mike: The Wii U’s gamepad was integral to the Mario Maker experience and not simply by having the means to operate the touch-screen. The UI, the stylus usage and implementation of how the gamepad felt to use when combining button shortcuts and touch controls was masterful. If the Wii U had launched with Mario Maker, maybe, just, maybe, people would have figured out how to use the thing. Missing the peripheral would mean that, short of waving a cursor around through motion-controls, the design elements would have to be handled with a complete overhaul so it could be more of ‘wait for the inevitable sales slowdown, then do a sequel designed around Switch’ line of thinking. I think it’s a little early in the Switch’s lifecycle for anything first-party that detracts from the core hardware gimmick.

But back to the game at hand, it wouldn’t be fair to judge the game with 2012 eyes, given it’s a full-price offering but, funnily enough, that only works in Nintendo’s favour as now, a fresh batch of Wii U-skipping Switch owners with a yearning for a new 2D Mario basically have one. You need only browse the many reviews of the time to find what still holds true today; Mario platform physics are immaculate, the level design is as clever as it’s ever been and, you know, it’s polished to that mega-shine that only comes with a mainline Mario title.

Add to that some ridiculously chaotic four-player platforming, which is unparalleled in its field, and there’s so much to love. The structure still leaning on that ‘Mario 3′ blueprint still works just fine and there are classic secrets dotted across the many, many levels. New Super Luigi U’s devilishly hard take on the game pits you against the clock, effectively forcing a spot of speed-running, through the remixed levels.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of the too-clean-for-its-own-good art direction of the ‘New’ games but that doesn’t mean it looks bad. On the contrary, the game’s visuals are superb, with the classic bright, saturated colours and everything popping beautifully in the flawless fluidity of a Nintendo evergreen title. It’s a tad plastic is all.

Reggie-boy, I believe there’s a ‘Funky Kong-esque’ mode here in the weird Toadette-turns-into-Peachette thing. An easy mode is nice for accessibility, what did you make of it? Kid friendly?

Child Friendly?

Reg: You took the words right out of my mouth buddy, The new ‘Toadette’ and ‘Nabbit’ character additions are the Mario IP’s answer to ‘Funky-Kong’. Toadette further questions the legality of the IP’s ‘Natural’ power-ups by being able to use Big Mushrooms, Fire and Ice Flowers and a Peach power up. Yes, Toadette can turn into Princess Peach (@Nintendo, is this the closest we’ll get to Bowsette?)

She makes gameplay easy by literally having a long jump and no skid when running, this is then aided by Princess Peach’s exclusion to the laws of gravity. The kid-friendly character is 100% Nabbit, mostly due to the little ‘tea leaf’ being impervious to damage (with the exclusion of falling from platforms.) I would be quite confident in my 3.5-year-old daughter playing with Nabbit at the helm!

Mike: Wait, one more thing: Nintendo’s latest comment on Bowsette is non-canon. I don’t believe them. That is all.

MikeIn2D, thanks very much once again for providing your expert opinion and knowledge for this Co-Op review. Mike can be found on all formats (bar Ouya) on Twitter (@2DMike3D) and authored on Reggie Reviews.

Reg: Agreed!

Verdict:

Presentation: 9
Graphics: 9
Gameplay: 9
Sound: 9

Overall Score: 9/10

I decided to score New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe on its content, and as a proposition to new players who skipped the Wii U generation. Although, the price point could have been a bit easier on everyone’s pocket.

Whilst this is a great proposition for new faces, I wouldn’t advise buying New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe if you have it’s Wii U counterpart. There simply isn’t enough new content to recommend dipping in your wallet!

CO-OP play is an absolute blast and makes the title, but the Joy Cons are again suffering from a lack of D-Pad Goodness. I found the best way to play was using 8-Bit-Do’s SNES Pro Controller, it just made the whole experience better tuned.

Format: Nintendo Switch(reviewed)
Price: £49.99 (UK eShop)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 11/01/2019

Review Copy Provided By Publisher


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.