At its core, New Super Mario Bros. U is the latest New Super Mario Bros. game and plays exactly how one would expect it to. All the controls are exactly the same as New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and fans will quickly find themselves at home. Like the demo last year, it’s possible to play as Mario, Luigi, Yellow Toad, Blue Toad, or Mii characters.
New Super Mario Bros. U can be played with the Wii Remote on its side or with the Wii U GamePad. It’s also possible to play the game off the Wii U GamePad completely instead of using the TV.
The demo featured three stages, and each had its own unique features. The first stage really focused on introducing players to the new Flying Squirrel suit. This new suit is really awesome and extremely useful. The suit allows for players to float, or slow fall, in the air. When using this costume, it’s also possible to grip onto the walls for a few seconds. The most valuable thing about the Flying Squirrel suit is that it allows the player to do a double jump! After the player jumps once a simple shake of the Wii Remote will thrust the character into the air even higher. The downside is that after the second jump horizontal movement while floating seemed to be lessened.
The second stage introduced a red baby Yoshi. Players can run into the baby Yoshi’s and hold the dinosaur the same why they would hold a Koopa Troopa shell. Running into enemies with this Yoshi causes the little guy to gobble them up, as one that has played Super Mario World would expect. Sadly, the dino never seemed to grow larger. Instead, shaking the Wii Remote caused this Yoshi to balloon up lifting the player’s character into the air. Successive shakes would keep the character in the air, slowly floating down when the remote is still.
The final stage offered the greatest platforming challenge of the three and was really there to show that yes, there will be some harder stages. I’m not saying that this last stage was overly difficult, but the first two stages were more of an introduction to the two new game play mechanics mentioned above.
Unlike New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. U offers up to five player support, but there is a catch. One of the five players will have to use the Wii U GamePad and play in what is being called Boost Mode. The Boost mode player can view the game world on the Wii U GamePad and can tap anywhere to make blocks appear. These blocks can help aid, or hinder, the progress of other players. Tapping the block twice will make the block shrink in size, but it can then spew out a few coins. The player using the Wii U GamePad in Boost Mode can also tap enemies to stun them for a second. Boost mode can be played by only one player as long as there is at least one other person playing as an actual character.
New Super Mario Bros. U is in many ways more of the same, but that isn’t a bad thing. The Wii version was a really fun game and New Super Mario Bros. U is clearly adding elements to keep the game play a bit fresh. I’m excited to see first hand how the recently announce MiiVerse will truly add a level of social interaction between players. Additionally I want to know if New Super Mario Bros. U will feature online co-op or DLC levels. While those features may just be a dream, the game is going to be an overall fun experience regardless.
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