The Wii U had some of the best entries into any given Nintendo series – so much so that it was an absolute crime it didn’t sell better than it did. Nintendo, to their credit, have been showing everyone what they were missing out on, re-releasing some of the best Wii U games (and consequently, some of the best Nintendo games) on their much more popular Switch console. New Super Mario Bros. U is a worthy addition to this stable of second shots, and if you were one of the many who missed it on its original home, this port is a fantastic place to right that wrong.
Bowser has kidnapped Peach, surprising nobody. It was a bit galling in the original game – a four player title that offered you the choice to play as Mario, Luigi, Toad or… Toad – it seems archaic that Peach continually gets side-lined to play the damsel when she showed she was just as tough as the Mario brothers way back in Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES (and she’s currently dominating the tier-list in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate).
Not too much has changed here though; Peach, for all her moxie, still gets nabbed, but Nintendo – to their credit – at least swap out one of the toads for Toadette. In an all new addition, Toadette is the only character who can make use of the new crown power up, turning her into a strange, pigtailed amalgamation of herself and Peach. It seems like Nintendo is trying to right a fairly obvious oversight here, and they sort of pull it off – as fun as Peachette is to play, however, a little cutscene shuffling could have just given us Peach as a playable character and we could have forgone this silliness.
Besides one-and-a-half new playable characters, NSMBUD (oof that’s a mouthful) throws in all of the fantastic Luigi and Nabbit DLC, which reworks the entire game into a frantic sprint to the finish on each level. I really dug this mix up the first time round, and it’s just as killer here, though conveniently bundled in from the off.
NSMBUD plays much like any Mario game in the ‘New’ series – 2.5D platforming through large, luxuriously rendered themed worlds. Nintendo’s confident level design and tight controls work in tandem to make one of the most engaging entries into this sub-series, with some memorable stage layouts and interesting platforming challenges making sure your time in the Mushroom Kingdom will linger in your memories long after you put the controller down.
It’s also replete with plenty of reasons for that putting down to be as put-off as possible – Nintendo have packed NSMBUD with loads of additional content, from star-coins to collect and those aforementioned time trials to demolish. The new suite of powerups – the king of which is the Flying Squirrel suit – are a blast to mess around with, easy to get to grips with but challenging to master, as all the best Mario power-ups are. It’s nice to see Nintendo return to the depth that power ups such as the Cape allowed way back in Super Mario World.
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