Review by pikachupwnage

"New Super Mario world?"

Some Mario fans feel the New Super Mario Bros games aren't quite up to par. Most agree Super Mario world was a much better game then all three of the previous New super Mario bros games though they were still quite good games in their own right. Does this game finally live up to the pedigree of Super Mario world?

Like usual the story is very simple. Mario and the gang are dining at peaches castle when Bowsers airship fleet attacks. The castle shakes and poor luigi is a bit slow on realizing something is up. A giant mechanical arm smashes through the ceiling gently shoving peach aside before smashing Mario and co. It hurls them far away, deep into acorn plains while Bowser stays behind for some extreme makeover bowser edition at peaches castle. Its up to mario and co to journey back and kick Bowser out. It's all very simple, charming and full of personality.

The games soundtrack brings a fair amount of new tunes that are catchy as ever and perfectly fit the atmosphere of the game. However the game does reuse a few too many tunes from New super Mario bros Wii. Don't get me wrong the old music that is brought back is still good and fits the game and I even welcome a few of the returning with open arms but it is still disappointing. Luckily the new tunes outnumber the old and it still all sounds catchy and fitting.

As for the sound effects they are remain the pitch perfect and the sound of collecting coins, 1ups and powerups or stomping goombas are as satisfying as ever.

The graphics retain the same bright colorful artstyle of the New Super Mario Bros series but backgrounds have more layers and detail and are quite beautiful. Many new lighting effects and a HD resolution further improve the look and the overall effect is very pleasing to the eyes. It doesn't push the power of the Wii U but runs incredibly smooth at sixty frames per second with no slowdown whatsoever.

The world map is like super Mario worlds in that it is a non-linear seamless world map. There is a fair amount of secret levels, shortcuts and even branching paths. It is fair more engaging then the straight path that was New Super Mario Bros 2's map. The world themes are largely the same as previous New Super Mario Bros games but the levels design is what matters. Still it Would've been nice to have some new world themes.

As for the levels they are well done and thankfully present an increased challenge over New Super Mario Bros 2. It starts out easy but ramps up at a satisfying pace. The games level design is rock solid and several levels truly wowed me.

Co-op returns and remains as mad as a hatter. Its there and is a fun option but isn't the highlight of the game.

And of course it wouldn't be Mario without enemies, bosses and powerups. Goombas, Boos, Koopas, and all the usual suspects come back along with a fair handful of new enemies like the waddlewing and dragoneel.

Boss battles are a step up from previous 2D Mario games being far more inventive then before. The Bowser Jr. Battles in particular are standouts. However Boom Boom is fought a few too many times with each battle being largely the same.

Power-ups consist of the usual suspects of the fire flower, Super mushroom, Mini mushroom, Star and the ice flower. A new addition is the super acorn, which grants Mario the ability to glide and cling to walls as well as a second jump.

However Mario has more then power ups. Everyone's favorite dinosaur Yoshi is here as well though he appears in a disappointingly low amount of levels. Luckily the baby yoshis make up for this. Baby yohsis can be found in several locations on the map and may be brought into any level that isn't a castle or fortress. There are three baby yoshis. The Pink one blows up like a balloon allowing for flight though he doesn't stay in the air forever. The blue one spits out bubbles, which turn enemies to coins or with clever usage, can be used to bounce you up to higher locations. The final baby yoshi glows brightly and can be used to light up dark areas and stun enemies though he is quite rare. And all baby yoshis posses the ability eat virtually any enemy just like their older brethren.

Aside from the main game there are three other modes which let you use your mii's instead of Mario/Luigi/Toad if you so choose.

The first of these is challenge mode. There are around 40 challenges and they provide a brutal challenge. They may ask to beat a level without touching the ground, Speed run a level, Reach a goal without killing a monty mole that is constantly pursuing you (With plenty of other complications of course) reach a very high up platform using the bubbles of a blue baby yoshi and more.

The next mode is boost mode. The idea of boost rush is to make it to the end as fast as possible. However the level auto scrolls slowly and speeds up whenever you collect enough coins. Collect too few coins and you will get a bad time but collect too many and the scrolling can get nearly as fast as you can run and its easy to get overwhelmed. It's an exhilarating challenge.

The last one is coin battle. Coin battle has everyone competing for coins as the name implies. Its not particularly engaging compared to the rest of the game but it's a fun enough extra on the side.

So as you can see overall the amount of content is quite solid and I can without guilt say this is worth the 60 dollar price tag. Be warned though. If you plan on playing multiplayer the pro controller is not supported for some reason. Its Wii remotes and gamepad only.

The round up

Presentation 9/10
Audio 8.5/10
Gameplay/Controls 9.7/10
Lasting appeal/Content 9.5/10
Overall 9.5/10(Not an quite an average. Gameplay has the most weight in determining the score)

Pros

+Level design is great. The best since super Mario world. Several levels truly “wowed” me.
+Controls are tight and work very well.
+A seamless non-linear world map instead of the generic straight path from new super Mario bros 2.
+Boss battles are a step above previous New Super Mario Bros games
+More challenging then its predecessors
+Graphics are pleasing to the eye and run at a perfectly smooth and stable sixty frames per second
+Baby yoshi's are fun allies and can be brought into any level much like how yoshi worked in super Mario world.
+New and fun modes like Challenge mode and boost mode add much more playtime to this game and provide a challenge for veteran players.
+Supports off TV-play
+Music remains catchy and is a perfect fit for the lighthearted world of Mario and the sound effects remain as pitch perfect as always.
+There are some clever references to older Mario games and even real life. One about halfway through the game will have fans of Super Mario world squeal with delight and another will delight art fans.

Score

Presentation 9/10
Audio 8.5/10
Gameplay/Controls 9.7/10
Lasting appeal/Content 9.5/10
Overall 9.5/10(Not an quite an average. Gameplay has the most weight in determining the score)

Cons

-Reuses a bit too much Music from New super Mario bros Wii and NSMB2. It's all good and fits with the game and the new music outnumbers the old but it still is a little disappointing
-World themes could've been a bit more different from previous Mario games.
-Yoshi is not in enough levels
-No leaderboards for challenge mode is a missed opportunity
-For some odd reason the pro controller isn't supported.
-Player 1 must be Mario in story mode. It's irritating that you cannot choose to use your Mii or luigi when playing alone in the main game.
Too many fights with Boom Boom

Conclusion

There are a couple missteps in this game but overall it is a delight to play and a step in the right direction for the series with more modes, more challenge and embracing the old while still bringing new things to the series. In the end it lives up to the legacy of Super Mario World and is a must own for any Wii U owner.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/12

Game Release: New Super Mario Bros. U (US, 11/18/12)


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