New Super Mario Bros. U review
A must have for any Mario fan

The good:

+ Decent HD graphics
+ Can play only on the GamePad
+ Multiple extra modes

The bad:

- Annoying frequent Miiverse posting prompts


This review will use the following weighted system:
Graphics – 20%
Gameplay – 45 %
Plot – 5%
Music/Sound – 15%
Replay Value – 15%

(Author's note: I have update this review because of the release of Super Luigi U)

Graphics – This is one of the very first games to take advantage of the HD graphics on the Wii U. One can definitely tell there has been improvement compared to New Super Mario Bro Wii (NSMBW). Colors are richer and backgrounds have more detail. While this game doesn't show the latest technologies for graphics, it does a good job bring Mario to the world of HD. (8.0/10)

Gameplay – The game comes with multiple modes: Story, Challenges, Boost Rush, and Coin Battle

Main Story – This what players will come to expect over the years. This game plays almost the same as NSMBW. The key difference this time is the GamePad. Single players have the option to use the GamePad to control Mario or to use a Wii Remote exactly like NSMBBW. I found the GamePad easy to use although I ended up using buttons for certain actions instead of the motion activation. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but player might not use the motion controls of the GamePad. I actually used the GamePad exclusively during single player story. Someone will small hands might prefer the Wii Remote. All of this changes however when playing with more than one person in story mode. The person with the GamePad can only place boost blocks or stun enemies using the touch screen. The rest have to use Wii Remotes. I personally think that there should be options involved. Player one is always Mario. The rest can debate in choosing Luigi, Yellow Toad, or Blue Toad. I wish everyone could choose who they want to be.

The main map is a continuous map in this game. In previous games, players would be given one world at a time. This time players can view all worlds, expect for Star Road. The themes of the different worlds remain the same: Plains, Desert, Ice, etc. There is only one new power up in this game: The Flying Squirrel suit. This suit enable the characters to float in the air and cling to walls. It is a welcome addition, but I prefer the cape, raccoon tail, or tanooki suit for flying. Returning power ups include the fire and ice flowers, and invincibility star. Also returning are the power ups from NSMBW: propeller and penguin suits. I should mention that Yoshi returns this game as well. One ups are a bit more difficult to come by in this game. In the one up toad house, players must collect more one up orbs instead of Bowser orbs. This is more difficult than it sounds. Speaking of difficulty, there is a nice variety here. Some level are easier than others, but overall, I would say that this game is slightly more difficult than NSMBW.

Challenges – This mode consists of five different game types: time attack, coin collection, 1 up rally, special, and boost. In time attack, you must reach the goal within the time limit. Coin Collection involves collecting as many coins ( or not!) in each challenge. For 1 up rally, collect as many 1 ups as you can given the scenerio. Special is a variety of things including dodging fireballs for as long as you can. Boost mode is a multi-player option only. Complete the challenges by placing boost blocks at the right time and the right place. It's harder than it sounds. These are a great way to hone one's Mario's skills and each challenge has a star ranking with one star being easy and three being hard (at least in the minds of Nintendo). What I also like about the challenges and the rest of the other mini games is that one can select a character, even a Mii, unlike the story mode.

Boost Rush contains different course packs to test one's skills. In the different courses, the ultimate goal is to complete the course with the quickest time. To that end, collecting coins speed up the course. Although the courses come from the main game, everyone of them are moving course, even if some of them were not in story mode. As I mentioned, collecting coins will speed up the course, but the increased speed will increase the difficulty as well. If you die, you will reappear in bubble, but if you run out of live, it's game over. Again this mode provides an interesting challenge. Although, you can play this mode solo, I really think that Nintendo designed this with the boost blocks of multi-player in mind. I also sense a DLC opportunity for Nintendo here.

Coin Battle is similar to coin rush mode in New Super Mario Bros 2 (NSMB2) for the Nintendo 3DS. Players must collect as many coins as possible while also finishing the course. But this is a competitive game. The one with the most coins at the end of the course wins. So will players be nice or will they pick up their “friends” and throw them down a pit? Also bouncing on the other players head will cause he or she to lose coins so you can collect them.

I would like to add some other features of this game starting with Miiverse. Players have the option to post comments, screen shots, or hand drawings to Miiverse. While looking at the overview map, other players' posts about certain levels will appear. Nintendo has set up this game to ask for a posting given different scenerios like collecting all three star coins. Sometimes this becomes annoying especially if you are having difficulty with a level. Miiverse will ask, would you like to post to Miiverse in the form of a letter to Bowser? My answer is no because the letter would not be appropriate for Miiverse given the situation. Also this game has the ability to be played only on the GamePad. This may help resolve some conflicts over who controls the TV.

Even though much of this game remain similar to the previous NSMB games, Nintendo does enough here to prevent it from feeling stale unlike NSMB2. (8.0/10)

Plot – Since this is yet another Mario action platform game, I think most people will know what the plot involves. It hasn't changed here. Rescue Princess Peach from Bowser and his children (Koopalings and Bowser Jr.) (2.0/10)

Music/Sound – Much of the music and sounds here come from NSMBW. While that's not a bad thing, it would be nice to hear something different. Sounds are much the same. I don't find either unpleasant or strange with the possible exception of the Mii's speech sound. That sounds a little strange. (7.0/10)

Replay Value – Much of the replay value is playing with other people especially in some of the mini games. Again, there are the challenges and boost rush for solo players. Star Road opens after completing story mode, but the individual worlds do not unlock until all the star coins are collected for the matching world. Nintendo has released new courses in the form of Super Luigi U. It can be downloaded as DLC for this game or purchased seperately as an independent game disc. (8.0/10)

8 * .2 = 1.6
8 * .45 = 3.6
2 * .05 = 0.1
7 * .15 = 1.05
8* .15 = 1.2

Score = 7.55 Rounded to 7.6

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