A lot of people poop on New Super Mario Bros. Wii for not being original enough. Personally, I don't see it. The game looked a lot like its prequel on the DS, but thanks to the four-person simultaneous co-op, it played like no other Mario title before it, or any other 2D platformer for that matter.
The way the game forces players to constantly vie for physical space inspires all kinds of interactions, both in and out of the game. Those dynamics can lead to a lot of interesting relationship moments (including divorce by some reports).
New Super Mario Bros. U has taken that philosophy towards local multiplayer and put it on steroids with Boost Rush mode. These timed, auto-scolling levels fill the screen with enemies and make safe, stable platforms a rarity. With four on-screen characters playing at a time, the pace is hectic, space is limited, and the challenges can feel impossible. That's where the fifth player comes in.
The player utilizing the Wii U GamePad is in an interesting position. While they don't have to worry about maneuvering a character on screen, they do have worry about keeping every other character alive at all times. They have the power to crush enemies and create blocks with the Wii U GamePad's touch screen, and just like Uncle Ben says, with great power comes great responsibility.
That makes for an experience where the players still have to work together at all times. The difference now is that the player using the GamePad is placed in a different, more god-like position. Will they be a skilled, smart deity or a stupid, sloppy omnipresent moron? The answer to that question will determine the fate of the four players trying to survive this onslaught of goofy madness.
It's the kind of game that works as both social lubricant and as a Rorschach test. Inhibitions drop quickly when life or death is determined by how soon you command (or beg) the player with the GamePad to save you from being punctured by a Piranha Plant.
You'll also see how secretly sadistic your friends can be. Sure, they'll claim to have put that block in front of your jump to try to help you, but when they chuckle to themselves as you plummet to your death, it won't take a psych major to pick up on their sadistic streak.
The game offers all new ways to help (or hurt) your friends in a local co-op environment, with the intensity of those interactions exaggerated by the game's fast-paced, tough-as-nails level design. If New Super Mario Bros. Wii was like going on a treacherous hike with your friends, then New Super Mario Bros. U Boost Rush mode is like running a marathon with them through a mine field, while one player looks on from a distance, doing their best (or worst) to digitally defuse the bombs before they blow.
It may not be a reinvention of the 2D Mario series, but stuff like Boost Rush mode shows that Nintendo is still working to find new ways to make local multiplayer feel fresh and exciting.
|10:00 PM on 02.18.2013|
The sad truth about New Super Mario Bros. U
Oh ScrewAttack, you say the things I think in such a delightful manner. Please Nintendo, no more New Super Mario Bros. games.more
|12:15 PM on 02.01.2013|
Gamer beats NSMBU level without touching the ground
When I first saw this video for New Super Mario Bros. U, I thought "no big deal, this guy is just beating the level by flying through it with the Flying Squirrel suit and a Pink Yoshi. Then I saw the "wow" moment where he ca...more
|11:00 PM on 11.17.2012|
Review: New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Mario Bros. 2 was a good game, but I couldn't help feeling disappointed with it. The first New Super Mario Bros. felt like a breath of fresh air, a welcome return to the past in an age where such simplicity had been...more
|6:00 PM on 10.30.2012|
More modes for New Super Mario Bros. U detailed
Nintendo has detailed all the other modes you can expect in New Super Mario Bros. U. Challenge Mode will feature Time Attack, Coin Collection, 1-Up Rally, and Special. One example of a challenge is clearing a level without to...more
|9:00 AM on 10.11.2012|
Nintendo confirms that New Super Mario Bros. U is 1080p
Outside of an emulator, it wasn't possible to play Nintendo games in glorious 1080p -- that's all about to change in a short month, as Nintendo has just confirmed that New Super Mario Bros. U will indeed support it. According...more
|8:00 AM on 10.04.2012|
New Super Mario Bros. U shows co-op in new trailer
Here's a new trailer for New Super Mario Bros. U, showcasing the wacky comic hijinks that will be delivered when you and three of your crazy friends team up to tackle that no-good Bowser. It looks very safe. I think th...more
|12:45 PM on 09.13.2012|
New Super Mario Bros. U is looking better than ever
This trailer has me feeling much better about New Super Mario Bros. U. Not that I was feeling great about it before. There are things to be excited about, like the new modes (Boost Rush and Challenge), Flying Squirrel Mario,...more
|5:50 PM on 06.06.2012|
E3: Become a flying squirrel in New Super Mario Bros. U
Jonathan Holmes and Shannon from Nintendo are back for another two-part Wii U demonstration. This time, they're playing New Super Mario Bros. U, and -- I'll admit it -- the game looks considerably more fun than I expected it...more
|11:32 AM on 06.05.2012|
E3: New Super Mario Bros. U announced
In a move that should shock no one, Nintendo just announced New Super Mario Bros. U at its E3 2012 press briefing. No word if it'll be a launch title or not (it should be), but it's looking like a NSMB game alright!The defining factor for me, though, is the inclusion of baby Yoshis. SO CUTE! Oh, and there's a new flying suit. But BABY YOSHI BLOWS BUBBLES, GUYS!more
|11:00 AM on 05.17.2013|
Review: Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
I remember where I was when Donkey Kong Country Returns was announced for the Wii. I was in the E3 press room during the Nintendo conference, and I shouted a few obscenities at the screen after the surprise trailer, garnering...more
|9:29 AM on 05.17.2013|
New Super Luigi U release date, standalone ver. revealed
Luigi is rockin' it hardcore! The upcoming New Super Mario Bros. U expansion, New Super Luigi U, is ready to drop on eShop on June 20 for $19.99. Not only that, there will be a special standalone disc, which doesn't require y...more
|9:25 AM on 05.17.2013|
New Sonic game coming exclusively to Wii U and 3DS
During today's Nintendo Direct, it was announced that a new Sonic game is coming exclusively to the Wii U and 3DS, called Sonic: Lost World. This is part of a worldwide partnership that Sega and Nintendo have entered into, so...more