Never owning a Wii U has been one of my biggest gaming regrets. I know that it’s generally seen as an L for the Big N, but the Wii U offered so many enticing first-party titles that not owning one has left a gaping hole in my Nintendo catalog.
I didn’t make the same mistake with the Switch. There’s a lot to love about Nintendo’s hybrid system, but one of my favorite aspects is all the Wii U ports that Nintendo has slowly but surely brought to its latest console. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker have all been invaluable additions to my library. But it’s Nintendo’s latest Wii U port—the unfortunately named New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe—that was one of the titles I was most anticipating.
The core gameplay of New Super Mario Bros. U (and, by extension, its Deluxeversion) is as smooth any 2D Super Mario entry. For my money, there’s no game that’s as timeless as the original Super Mario Bros., and the rest of the series has dutifully maintained the responsive, buttery gamefeel that’s special to Mario titles. To mix things up a bit, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe features inventive level design, a fun power-up in the form of an acorn that turns Mario into a flying squirrel, a handful of new bad guys, and lush, colorful graphics that look crisp and clear on the Switch’s screen. Traveling through each level overcoming obstacles of increasing difficulty is a tried-and-true formula with this series, and Nintendo has perfected it to a science in the latest title.
That isn’t to say that the latest 2D Mario platformer is the greatest. Since we already reviewed the game back when it first launched over six years ago, I won’t go into too much detail, but I would like to quickly add my two cents. On some level, it’s a little disappointing that New Super Mario Bros. U didn’t introduce any new mechanics the way that Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and even New Super Mario Bros. Wii all pushed the series forward with exciting gameplay directions. And like the other games in the New Super Mario Bros. subseries, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe isn’t as challenging as its ancestors. Seasoned players should be able to get through the game with plenty of lives left over. In the end, despite its few minor faults and shortcomings, New Super Mario Bros. U is still the pinnacle of straightforward video game fun, and finding each level’s three gold coins does add a bit of difficulty to the mix.
As far as ports are concerned, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is probably the best since Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Just like its Deluxe counterpart, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is more than just the same game on a different console. Whereas Mario Kart 8 Deluxe added all the DLC and additional goodies that came to Mario Kart 8 over time, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe comes packaged with New Super Luigi U, which is basically a second full game. New Super Luigi U takes the same levels from the base game, reconfigures them in devious ways, and gives players a severe time limit to complete them in, all while making them play as the slippery, high-jumping Luigi. You can switch between both games from the main screen, and it’s the perfect answer to players looking for a higher difficulty level. Add to that the different challenges that you’ll unlock as you progress, and there’s a ton of content beyond the game’s eight worlds for you to explore and enjoy.
In both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U, you can play as two of the new characters Nintendo’s introduced in the Deluxe version. Toadette is the “easy” character to use, in that she’s even easier to control than Mario and has a more generous time limit. The Super Crown that turns Toadette into Peachette and spawned a million memes is cool in that you get to ostensibly play as Peach, but the power-up functions pretty much exactly the same as Mario’s acorn power-up. Nabbit, who provides some of New Super Mario Bros. U’s more fun level variations when he pops up in the main game, is also playable in Deluxe, and the only way he can die is by falling into a pit or getting crushed, so there’s no need for younger or less skilled players to worry about running into bad guys. Both are playable in the game’s cooperative and competitive modes, too, making them more accessible to everyone—which is a good thing if you feel like being social while playing a Super Mario game.
The Switch helps make the port an impressive one, especially in handheld mode. Thanks to the Joy-Cons’ HD Rumble, subtle but effective tactile feedback is now something I’ll expect from every 2D Super Mario title. If you’re not paying attention, you might not notice how breaking a block just slightly shakes the controller, but it creates a helpful, subconscious feedback tool. The sound and musical cues also come across crisply in the console’s surprisingly clear speakers. I already knew that the Switch was an impressive system, and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe only furthers that notion. The only drawback to playing in handheld mode are the Joy-Cons themselves. After a long play session, the small buttons might give you a slight thumb cramp from simultaneously running and jumping for hours on end, but it was barely noticeable and became more comfortable the longer I played.
If you’re a Switch owner who leapfrogged the Wii U like I did, then New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a no-brainer. It isn’t as revolutionary as its predecessors, but it’s about as polished and expertly executed as a 2D platformer can get, and the inclusion of New Super Luigi U makes this as valuable a package as pretty much any you’ll find on the Switch. Now, Nintendo only has to bring a few more ports over to the Switch, and I can stop regretting my blunder of skipping the Wii U. I’m looking at you, Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario Maker.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a must-have for Switch owners who skipped the Wii U. Packaged with two complete games and a plethora of challenges to complete, the Deluxeversion will give you plenty of bang for your buck. Even if you already owned the game, it’s worth trying on the Switch, if only to have a mobile, 2D Mario game at the ready. It might not be as difficult as past Mario games, but it’s never not fun.
E - Everyone
|New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is available on Nintendo Switch. Primary version played was for Nintendo Switch. Code/hardware was provided by Nintendo for the benefit of this coverage. EGM reviews on a scale of one to five stars.|