News Article

First Impressions: New Super Mario Bros. U

Posted by James Newton

Mushroom magic?

It's OK to say you were disappointed that New Super Mario Bros. U is Wii U's first Super Mario game. You may have wanted something groundbreaking like Super Mario 64, and Nintendo revealed a shinier, sharper version of a Wii game from 2009. You're entitled to be disappointed.

Your excitement for Mario's next home adventure all depends on how much you enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. Wii. If you loved its chaotic multiplayer and new power-ups, this HD sequel will already be near the top of your want list; if the whole thing left you colder than an Ice Flower, though, there probably isn't a lot in U to change your mind.

The addition of the GamePad means five players can now tussle at once, four using Wii Remotes and one using the GamePad to place platforms and stun enemies with a tap. Imagine the co-star mode in Super Mario Galaxy 2 with added platform-building and you're about there. Of course, GamePad play is optional; four players can play with Wii Remotes just as they can on Wii, and it's as big a riot now as it was in 2009. Symmetric gameplay is still big.

NSMBU is one of the few titles you can play entirely on the GamePad, and we found this very comfortable and precise; the screen is clear and bright enough to do Mario's world justice, with no 'ghosting' or streaking when things get fast. In fact, despite being stood in front of a 32" HDTV, we were happier just using the controller's 6.2" screen. It's really not about size after all.

Only three levels were available in this preview and each felt familiar yet just different enough, with the spinning stars of course 3 being the nearest we got to encountering truly new ideas. Of course these are three early stages, and if our previews of past Mario games have been anything to go by the final designs will be different.

The two new power-ups, the flying squirrel suit and inflatable Yoshi, both felt like slightly adapted versions of the propeller suit. Flying squirrel Mario (the three best words ever?) can glide and catch a gust of air under his wings by shaking the controller, giving him a little boost upwards for a touch more height. The red Yoshi inflates like a balloon, with multiple inflations possible for extra lift, but the advantage to both forms of getting high seemed to be a power-up and a nudge back on track. Don't expect stacks of verticality; it's all about the left-to-right dash.

Three levels isn't anywhere near enough to assess NSMBU, but we didn't see anything that suggests this will be anything other than another enjoyable Mario game. It might not be the incredible leap we've come to expect from the famous mascot, but we thought the same thing about Super Mario 3D Land before that arrived and turned out well, from most perspectives.

Some of you may be disappointed now, but look at the bigger picture. Wii U will have a Mario game at launch, and not just any Mario game: a follow-up to two of his biggest-selling adventures. New Super Mario Bros. U might be a move motivated by sales instead of pure creative inspiration, but as long as it's enjoyable along the way, everybody wins.

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User Comments (83)

RicKnight

#2

RicKnight said:

I think it will be great. NSMB Wii was an impressive game to play with friends.

Xiao_Pai

#5

Xiao_Pai said:

Eh...it just looks like another Mario Bros. game with the obnoxious "New" theme...>.>
I'm starting to think I'm more interested in the 3DS game since they're mixing it up a little at least.

Nintendaholic

#7

Nintendaholic said:

Rayman Legends looks like a better alternative platformer to this game. will get this eventually though

Knuckles

#9

Knuckles said:

Wait Flying Squirrel Mario Glides? Why does this remind me of a certain red echidna?

LavaTwilight

#12

LavaTwilight said:

Well I'm looking forward to it. I feel the DS has the better NSMB games but this is probably worth the purchase. It's not high on my list either but it's there.

Rapadash6

#14

Rapadash6 said:

What's to be dissappointed over? A 2D Mario, however derivative it may be, at launch is way better than no Mario, I say. In spite of what the critics say, having a revolutionary new 3D Mario ready when the system is released was never a likely thing to happen. Those games take time, and we all know they're working on one, so why don't we just enjoy this undoubtably fun game in the mean time?

motang

#16

motang said:

I loved the last game, and I am sure it will be the same with this one. Still not sure if I will get the Wii U at launch yet though.

bro2dragons

#17

bro2dragons said:

NSMBW had some of the best level design I've seen in any video game ever. Watching those "Super Skills" videos made that plenty clear (my personal favorite being the one where three characters on Yoshis take Luigi and all hit the finish line without ever letting him touch the ground, despite numerous passes back and forth.) So few developers have the skill to make such perfectly tuned games. If this is more of the same, I won't be disappointed in the least.

CanisWolfred

#18

CanisWolfred said:

Yeah, it looks okay, but I'll wait until they come up with something more...groundbreaking. Or at least another 3D platformer, more akin to Super Mario 64.

bezerker99

#19

bezerker99 said:

I didn't like the other New Super Mario Bros games so this news is def disappointing to me. The first NSMB game had Mario and Luigi.......and two generic Toads (?) because Nintendo was too lazy to implement other characters in the game. Making a copy of this game for Wii U is just more Nintendo laziness....in my opinion.

CanisWolfred

#20

CanisWolfred said:

^Actually, in order to be a launch game, they kinda have to do "more of the same". They're just checking the boxes right now. A more impressive entry will take longer to make, so I'm fine waiting at least another 3 years before thinking about a Wii U.

Yasume

#21

Yasume said:

I loved the Wii version. This is an absolute must-have for me personally. Although I prefer my Mario games to be 3D, I'm still not tired of some 2D goodness.

Katernity

#23

Katernity said:

hey i just noticed those black piranha plants! could that mean a return of kuribo's boot?

Xiao_Pai

#29

Xiao_Pai said:

What Pixel said, lol.
It was fun and all that on the DS, but now its just obnoxious. xD

Rect_Pola

#30

Rect_Pola said:

My only big detraction from NSMBWii was the penguin suit also had ice flower powers. Yeah, it was sort of like Raccoon tail vs Tanuki, but Tanuki was a lot rarer through normal play.

E-Man

#31

E-Man said:

Hell yeah! I'll be glad if this game is a launch day title. I would buy it!!

C-Olimar

#32

C-Olimar said:

@Rect_Pola that's not really big is it? I see what you mean, I would have preferred the frog suit.

Anyway, there is something wrong with the world when Ubisoft make better platformers than Nintendo. Next SEGA will be making better platformers! No, that has never happened and never will...

Knuckles

#33

Knuckles said:

Hey has anyone realized that this most likely is the last New Super Mario Bros. until the next new console comes out. And these games are going to sell like crazy, no matter how many people say they won't, 80% of these will buy the game anyway :P

drumsandperc92

#34

drumsandperc92 said:

look at the story book style to the ghost level screen shot.
do you all remember Yoshi's Story on N64?
Take the art style of that ghost screen shot and give us Yoshi's Story 2 on Wii U!
I'd be super excited for that...was that Yoshi's last standalone console game?
it's been far too long! One of my favorites on N64.
NSMBU looks good. NSMBW was good fun, and an incredibly well tuned game, and it looked great. No doubt about it. But this isn't enough of a step up for the series. It's essentially a Wii game upscaled to HD. MAYBE some better lighting effects. But really, NSMB2 on 3DS looks more interesting than this game.
I think they were definitely lazy about this...they could've added more characters to play with, or maybe keep the same basic building blocks for gameplay but changed it up a little more. The simple concept of NSMB2 being about collecting a ton of coins and all that is fun and different. And so simple.
They could've definitely done more with NSMBU.
That said, I'll pick it up whenever I get a Wii U just because I know it'll be good...but it isn't worth me buying the system for.
And to those saying, Galaxy 3, no, I don't want a galaxy 3.
I want something new.
I also would love a return to an overworld such as the castle in SM64 and Delfino Isle in Sunshine....those were more expansive, interactive, interesting overworlds to play around in between levels, as opposed to the ship in Galaxy 1 and the even less-to-do-in floating mario head hub world in Galaxy 2.

Mario-Fan

#35

Mario-Fan said:

Definitely getting the game. I love the flying squirrel Mario but I really hope Nintendo will think of at least 1 or 2 more New power ups. I don't really like only 1 new power up per Super Mario game. For example, Mario Galaxy. Nintendo Made 6 new power ups for that game. But I also have to remember that it looks harder to invent power ups for Mario in a 2D Side-scrolling adventure. I can't think of any.

Onett

#37

Onett said:

Sure why not, It looks like fun. This and Rayman Legends will keep my WiiU warm.

hydeks

#38

hydeks said:

Day one purchase :P I wasn't disappointed that this is the first Wii U mario game, I think it's a great first, but it doesn't bother me that it's only 2D like it does other people. Fun games are fun games, dispite the graphics maybe being less than spectacular showing of what the system can do. on the other hand, we have zombi u and that for that reason :P

MrWezzle

#39

MrWezzle said:

It'll be a good game. As much as we'd all like our perfect, handcrafted, personal-pan Mario, this is what we're getting, and we're getting it at launch, and we're getting to play it with all of our friends. I would have committed murder in first grade to be able to play a Mario game simultaneously with a friend, much less four. These games may be a bit on the safe side, but there's no denying we're getting well-crafted, true-to-form quality fun. I don't know how we get to complain about that, when most other fanbases can only hope for quality. We have it as an unspoken guarantee, yet still somehow clamor for more. They'll do more 3D Mario, guys. I promise. And it will be good. Just wait for it. This is made to sell the system, showcase the "network" of players, and make the console sit comfortably in a living room, where multiple family members can play at the same time. Enjoy it for what it is (or maybe even more than that), and look forward to what will follow. Everything's gonna be okay.

Korbin64

#42

Korbin64 said:

I'm sorry, I believe I just got lost in U; and I don't believe I can find a way out.

Mario for Wii U 2012!

FonistofCruxis

#43

FonistofCruxis said:

Even if it wasn't that creative, New super Mario bros. Wii had some o the best level design I've seen in a 2D platormer but even so I'm disappointed that we're getting four similarly themed 2D Mario platformers in a row.

rjejr

#44

rjejr said:

Nice well rounded write up. I wonder if Nintendo will actually have this ready at launch or just in the window. I think this would be a much better launch system seller than Nintendo Land, but it needs to be available at launch, not in March.
Still not enough to make me buy a Wii U, but if I did Ild get this, even though Ild rather have a newer game.

TheN64Dude

#45

TheN64Dude said:

How can you be dissapointed. The only reason they made this game is so we can HAVE a Mario Launch title. They didn't have time to make another Super Mario Galaxy before launch which is the reason they took a Tech Demo and made it into a game. If they already had a Super Mario 64 like game ready for launch then New Super Mario Bros. U wouldn't exist.

steveex

#46

steveex said:

I think I'd be more hyped if we didn't already have New Super Mario Bros 2 on 3DS just a few months before.

janettocrossing

#47

janettocrossing said:

I got NSMBW on 2010 and i never finished it. IDK why , i just didn't really like it that much... I loved Super Mario Galaxy though! It's my favorite Wii Game ! :D

NintyMan

#48

NintyMan said:

Although NSMB2 has the unique coin extravaganza, I happen to find myself anticipating this game more. It has a much more creative look to it than the past NSMB games. Just look at past screenshots of all the NSMB games and compare them to the ones in this game. Mountainous lands, a surrealistic painting-like ghost level, and a starry snow level at night shows how this game has the potential to look beautiful. It's no wonder then that this game happens to be inspired by Donkey Kong Country Returns, a game notable for its gorgeous backgrounds.

With just these three levels to go by, there's still a lot we don't know about the game. The flying squirrel suit actually allows you to climb on walls. I'm not sure if you can do it on all walls, but it doesn't only allow you to glide. Since they're coming back in NSMB2, I hope I can fight the Koopalings again in this game. I'm looking forward to seeing what NSMBU has in store.

StephenYap3

#49

StephenYap3 said:

I'll be getting this game since I can play as my Mii. And looking at the Flying Squirrel abilities, I feel as though it should've been the Cape power up.

FluttershyGuy

#50

FluttershyGuy said:

I'm not the least bit disappointed. I waited OVER A DECADE for another Mario side-scroller, and this bonanza is way past due. The 3D Marios WILL COME, so nobody has anything to worry about. This game looks incredible, and we've only seen 3 levels. Those worried that it'll mostly be a rehash can rest assured that there'll surely be lots of goodies in the final product that we don't know about. There are things I wish they'd do differently. For instance, all the NSMB games use the flagpole, whereas the original series mixed it up. SMB 2 USA had the Birdo/boss fights at level's end. SMB 3 had matching the mushroom, fire flower, or stars 3 in a row for extra lives. SMW had the rising/falling "finish line" goals leading to a bonus game. SML had the upper and lower goals. SML 2 had the bell to reach for a bonus game. There are little complaints here and there I have, but mostly it's just me nitpicking. I love what they're doing with the NSMB series so far, and I hope Mario side-scrollers never disappear again!

Oh yeah, in the late 80s-early 90s, there were Mario side-scrollers almost every year! No internet back then to know if game fans thought it was overkill, but I never heard my classmates complain about too much Mario! ;) Maybe it was because there was no 3D Mario series that some would prefer over 2D then, nor were there the Mario sports games, Mario Kart, Mario & Luigi series, or Paper Mario. Here's the Mario side-scrollers from the late 80s-early 90s here in the US...

11/88-Super Mario Bros. 2
7/89-Super Mario Land (8 month gap)
3/90-Super Mario Bros. 3 (8 month gap)
8/91-Super Mario World (17 month gap)
11/92-Super Mario Land 2 (15 month gap)

So, that's 5 Mario side-scrollers in a span of 4 years, versus 4 in a six year period from 2006 to present (and it was 3 years between NSMB & NSMBWii). Unless you want to count Super Paper Mario as a side-scroller, making it 5 over a six-year period, still less than in the late 80s-early 90s period. :)

PixelatedPixie

#51

PixelatedPixie said:

I thought NSMB Wii was a decent game, but it was pretty forgettable. I'm dissappointed that they've stuck to the exact formula with this release. I'd love a 2D Mario game which actually felt novel and interesting rather than a rehash of concepts from previous Mario games.

shonenjump86

#52

shonenjump86 said:

New Super Mario Bros Wii is fun, but I got bored with that game pretty fast. Even with friends to play along with. NSMBWU may not be for me.

Emaan

#53

Emaan said:

I'm excited for Mario being back at launch, and this game is looking really nice so far. However, I still can't hide my wish that Wii U could start off with a bang, by having an imaginative adventure Mario game in HD. Oh well. This game looks great anyways.

Gilius

#54

Gilius said:

Looks like mauled Mario world and smb3 put together. But, nsmbw got me bored quickly. This is a game I may not be getting. I'm not gonna bother with the wii u. Good thing I got a 3ds.

Marks

#57

Marks said:

I'm glad for the change of heart.
The Wii version wasn't my favourite, but it was still good. I might get this.
I like the fact that five people can play!

Nardar

#58

Nardar said:

I will be getting this game once I get a Wii U because I always love these games. I have mastered every NSMB game and both are unique. With the graphics upgrade it will really feel "New" life to the series. I just don't know about the up and coming NSMB 2. With getting a lot of lives in that one, it better be like Lost Levels difficulty!

sketchturner

#59

sketchturner said:

If the level design of this matches the Wii version, it will undoubtedly be a great game. Still, it's sad to see Mario getting so terribly outclassed in presentation quality by other platformers like Rayman. This game looks like it could have been on the GameCube.

Jaco

#60

Jaco said:

@sketchturner
I agree they could have done more with the visuals, but I do have to say the backgrounds aren't bad (But its the background...)
Anyways, a flying squirrel suit sounds awesome even if it plays familiarly

PoorVGameNerd

#61

PoorVGameNerd said:

I agree it looks like an upscaled GameCube game, but like I always say, gameplay is all that matters. I have never played a 2D Mario game I didn't like.

Chunky_Droid

#63

Chunky_Droid said:

Saw this being demonstrated on Good Game (Aussie TV show) last night and it looks like a massive load of fun, can NOT wait for Wii U!

odd69

#64

odd69 said:

2D mario is better . It started as 2D, its better for me this way, as long as nintendo makes these types ill be happy.

luminalace

#65

luminalace said:

It may be motivated by sales and that's not a bad thing! It is a lauch title after all. Also from experience seeing a video or reading a preview doesn't do a Mario game justice. Those who buy it will positively have a fun time with it.

AltDotNerd

#67

AltDotNerd said:

Let me point out that this is actually the first time Nintendo launched a home console with a Mario game since Super Mario 64 with the N64. I'm not counting Luigi's Mansion as a "Mario" game.

FluttershyGuy

#68

FluttershyGuy said:

@Aviator_Dragon
And first Mario side-scroller at launch since Super NES! I love the nostalgia of that almost as much as anything else. I take this as kind of Nintendo's love letter to we long-time hardcore gamers that Wii U will have us in mind (that remains to be seen given their "launch window" lineup, however).

PoorVGameNerd

#69

PoorVGameNerd said:

@ the two above me

those were interesting points. If Nintendo were to include the game as a pack-in title like they did with two other 2D Mario games (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World), I'm sure that would win over a whole bunch of people who are on fence about buying a Wii U. Given the lackluster interest in the console, it would really help out.

PixelatedPixie

#70

PixelatedPixie said:

@FluttershyGuy

I don't know about that. NSMB U is certainly a love letter to Nintendo's investors (these games sell like gangbusters) and I'm sure casual gamers, who would shy away from a Mario Galaxy-type game, will eat it up. For long suffering Nintendo fans though I would have thought that something more exciting and novel would have been desired. If any announced Wii U game is a love letter to core Nintendo fans I would argue that it's probably Pikmin 3, which holds a place in fans hearts but in terms of sales has greatly underperformed.

Gilius

#74

Gilius said:

@odd69 I can see we're you get liking 2d Mario. But, since technology is getting more advance, I think it'd be better with 3d Mario games. It is nice to see the old classic Mario style games- ecspecialy for younger gamers.- I remember being 3 and. Nintendo 64 was dying out going to game cube.

Kirk

#76

Kirk said:

I really don't like the visual look of this game or the visual direction the New series is going in general; it's too girly, cute and twee looking.

Why can't they stick to the more universally appealing asexual look of the best classic 2D Mario platform games, such as SMB, SMB2, SMB3, SMW, Super Mario 3D Land or even New Super Mario Bros 2?

I mean Yoshi's Island was supposed to look like a kids crayon drawing and even that didn't look as girly, cute and twee as this game often does imo.

No one ever complained these games weren't girly enough, Nintendo!

I still vastly prefer the classic 2D gameplay and 2D viewpoint over the full 3D gameplay and 3D viewpoint of the 3D Galaxy style games, it's just far more honed and perfect, but this visual look is just getting a bit too kiddy and 13-year-old-girl looking for me to fully appreciate it.

she_gamer

#78

she_gamer said:

NSMBWii was meh for me, but I'll probably buy this one anyway. I can't seem to stop myself from spending money on Mario games.

Gamer83

#80

Gamer83 said:

I'm not as hyped as I used to get over the announcement of a new Mario game (in part because of how many Nintendo has released lately) but I'd be lying if I said I'm not at least a little bit excited for the game. While the release of a new Mario game isn't exactly the event it used to be they're still fun to play. This will be one of the first games I buy whenever I purchase the Wii U and I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

TheN64Dude

#82

TheN64Dude said:

You all seem to be forgetting that New Super Mario Bros. U was made for the sole purpose of HAVING a Mario Launch Title. I thought it was obvious considering it was made from a Tech Demo that wasn't even going to be a real game. They didn't have time to make a Super Mario Galaxy 3 before launch so they did whatever they had to to get us a Mario Title. So why are you complaining guys? It was this or nothing! Which would you prefer?

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