Borderline double dip
It took me a long, long while to warm up to the “New” Mario series.
I thought the DS debut was rather stale and devoid of life, but over time it started to prove its mettle. The Wii version was a slight improvement, but it really wasn’t until New Super Mario Bros. 2‘s DLC and New Super Mario Bros. U‘s Luigi expansion that I started to get on board.
With the aforementioned freedom of add-on projects, the New developers are allowed to spread their wings and try new things. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe on Switch benefits from said ingenuity.
Breaking down the seemingly silly $60 price tag is pretty simple. With the Switch “Deluxe” edition you’re getting 164 levels of four-player Mario (the result of the base game and the good New Super Luigi DLC) with some extras. That’s not a terrible deal since the Wii U original, when bundled, still goes for $60 (oh and the physical version went out of print). The “New” whimsy is still intact from prior entries, but with a little less meandering. U‘s level design, particularly with Luigi U, is fantastic, pointed, and memorable. I’ve talked about that at length here, so I’ll get on to the Deluxe stuff as quickly as possible.
Toadette, the new character that replaces one of the Toads, is a welcome addition, mostly thanks to the contentious Super Crown that only she can pick up. It’s kind of interesting to go through a level and find an exclusive power-up that effectively transforms you into a new entity (Peachette), albeit one that has massive and floaty jumps that make gaps much easier to handle.
My only real contention with “Deluxe” is a problem that wasn’t present in the original. Now the fourth player has to play as either Nabbit (who is immune to enemy attacks) or Toadette, the latter of which you’ll need to do some gymnastics with to ensure she doesn’t simplify the game. It’s not a massive deal as they’re both fun to play, but there’s zero harm in making both Toads playable (especially since Blue Toad returns as a skin) and I hope that functionality gets patched in at some point. On the flipside, Nabbit can now be played in the original set of non-Luigi levels (even solo). A bit (ha) of give and take.
Having it on the Switch is a huge convenience all on its own. I love the idea of having it digitally, taking the system along, and playing a two-player game with just the Joy-Con and the screen without thinking: no mess needed. It’s one of the easiest ways to play classic-style multiplayer Mario to date and the ability to use Pro Controllers or other remotes like the 8bitDo family makes the prospect of playing how I want even sweeter.
You’ll also get a Super Mario Run-esque “Boost Rush” challenge mode (the screen scrolls faster as you collect coins but you can still move in any direction freely) with multiple difficulty settings and four-player support, and “Coin Rush,” a gametype that lets you duke it out while collecting shiny things. Most of this is returning content from the Wii U release, though sadly “Boost Mode,” which allows a fifth player to screw around with the game on the Wii U GamePad, is gone (man I miss these unique second-screen Wii U experiences! Another give and take from Nintendo).
If you already own New Super Mario Bros. U on the Wii U, you probably don’t need this version unless you have three other people knocking down your door to play it on a modern system. That said, I had a blast going through the entire package again and will continue to bust it out when someone tells me they haven’t played it yet.