Oh Yeah, Mario Time! Who can resist the charms of our stout moustachioed hero Mario? He is embarking on an adventure with his bro Luigi, Yellow Toad, Nabbit and Toadette? Whoa, this isn’t quite how I remembered New Super Mario Bros U on the Nintendo Wii U. Well, I guess it is time to see how the Switch port of New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe compares to the original expanded release.
Released on the Wii U back in November 2012, New Super Mario Bros U was a 2.5D platformer that allowed 4 players to play simultaneously on the same screen much like New Super Mario Bros Wii. Though, not considered the best in the “new” rebooted series. New Super Mario Bros U still has plenty of charm and is jam-packed with levels to keep players occupied for quite some time. The original Wii U game received a big DLC expansion of the form of Super Luigi Bros. U. It could be purchased via digital separately or physically as a stand-alone game or bundled with New Super Mario Bros. U in later retail releases.
The Expansion added rehashed levels of those from New Super Mario Bros U designed to work around Luigi’s ability of jumping higher and slight floatiness when in the air. The time limit was also reduced to 100 seconds to help increase difficulty. Nabbit also became a playable character, replacing Mario and serves as an easy mode type character as he is impervious to damage from enemies. This time around both New Super Mario Bros U & New Super Luigi Bros U are bundled together again into one little cart to be played on the Nintendo Switch.
As with most Mario games, King Bowser and his minions have kidnapped Princess Peach and it is up to Mario and Luigi to rescue her and restore peace to the Mushroom Kingdom. Along their journey, Mario and Luigi must run, jump and collect coins in order to reach the end of each level and get ever closer to Princess Peach’s Castle. It’s the same tried and tested method that has been a staple in Mario Games since the first Super Mario Bros.games but hey, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it am I right? If you want more variety in a Mario game, why not try Mario Tennis Aces and try and recover the Infinity Racket, I mean the Lucien Racket.
Not much improvement has gone into New Super Mario Bros U. Deluxe graphically. It still looks bright and colourful but there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable enhancements. Well, it would be ridiculous to try and improve on perfection. Okay, the game isn’t perfect but you can’t fault the art style or the performance as it runs steady all the way through.
The music is as funky and as catchy as ever. I just love the way that even the enemies themselves can’t resist dancing a little to the music. The way they turn to the screen and do a little “Jazz Hands,” that’s some serious fourth wall breaking stuff right there. Move over Dead Pool, we are all about Jazz Hand Koopas now. A lot of the classic tunes from the original game are here but there is plenty of new music as well. Maybe not “new” new, seeing as this is a port but new in the respect that is was new and refreshing for the original Wii U version compared to other games in the series.
We can’t have a review and not talk about gameplay so I best talk about that now. As you would expect, you have to run across the screen, jump on platforms and occasionally bop on top of a goomba or koopa. There are a wide variety of power-ups to give players special abilities until they are hit by an enemy or it wears off naturally. There are your standard super mushroom, fire flower and invincibility star. We also have some relatively new game changer items like the mini mushroom, the penguin suit and propeller suit.
As regards to players and characters, up to four players can play at the same time just like in the original. Toadette, who is a new playable character and has taken over the role of Blue Toad, though she does have some unique features of her own. There is a unique power-up that can only be used by her in the form of the Super Crown. It allows Toadette to transform into “Peachette” and gain the ability to float in the air after jumping and survive pitfalls. There is a special fifth character that can be used when playing Challenge Mode. The character is you or should I say Mii.
You can play as your Mii and take on a number of challenges or the extra game modes. The extra modes include Boost Rush and Coin Battle, which were also available in the original version of the game. Challenges Mode is only available to play in single player but Boost Rush and Coin Battle can be played with others. It does add more options to play. Boost Rush has players run through two courses back to back. The course scrolls faster and faster as players collect more coins.
In Coin Battle, players have to play against each other and try to collect more coins than the other. There is no visible score so you can’t tell how many coins each player has. The player with the most coins will be indicated with a little star above their head. The Challenges mode has courses with set objectives like 1-Up Rally, Fire, Bro! and The Goombrat Stomp. There aren’t any unlockables to gain except more challenges but it is something else available for players looking for a little more difficulty.
Miis are not playable in the main story mode but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the game anyway. There are 9 worlds in total and each have their own miniboss and end boss. While most levels have a single end goal, there are some that have secret paths that create shortcuts to other worlds. Some of these require having a particular power-up like the mini mushroom in order to find them. At the end of each world, you will have to board an airship and take on one of the nefarious Koopalings.
Controls are extremely simple and can be played easily on a singly Joy-Con. The lower and right button are used to jump and the left and upper button make you run or use power-ups if you have collected one. The SL button allows players to hop into a bubble and follow the leading player. This is handy for less experienced players like young children that have trouble with more troublesome levels. It will allow them to float harmlessly above any dangerous obstacles.
If you play with a Joy-Con grip, Pro-controller or the Switch in handheld mode, you would use A or B to Jump. Holding X or Y will make you run and pressing them will allow you to use your current power-up’s effect. The L button is then used to activate the safety bubble as opposed to the SL button.
I have noticed that controls can feel a little slippery at times. There is travel after movement which, is more noticeable when playing the Mii characters. In a way, you could say that movement behaves more realistically but it isn’t ideal in a game that requires some precision when making jumps from platform to platform, or when you need to stop quickly.
Normally with Nintendo’s “Deluxe” ports, they have some kind of added features. Pokkén Tournament Deluxe had extra fighters and a special 3 Vs 3 mode. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe had a whole revamped battle mode as well as compatibility with Nintendo Labo. Oh, and the inclusion of the Master Cycle Zero from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe only has the inclusion of a new character which doesn’t really scream “Deluxe” but the game is pretty full with content anyway. There is the Challenge Mode and Super Luigi Bros. U so nothing has been cut out except maybe Blue Toad.
I very much enjoyed the original game on the Wii U and the Switch version is still just as fun. Being able to play New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe wherever, whenever is a Joy and multiplayer fun can be had at any time. For those that prefer the more traditional gameplay of Super Mario Bros. games you will have a good time with this game. Super Mario Odyssey may have taken the main series of Mario games to new heights but New Super Bros U Deluxe is a return to the original style of gameplay that can be enjoyed with others or on your own.
If you owned the game before on Wii U, there is almost no difference except you can now play as Toadette and Peachette. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is aimed for people that have never owned the game on Wii U or even a Wii U. By being ported to the Switch, it has the chance to reach a wider audience of gamers than it ever had on the Wii U. It is a fun romp with many colourful worlds and even though it is a port of a 6 year old game, it is still a fine addition to the Nintendo Switch Library.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
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