• New Super Mario Bros U is the latest in the “new” Mario franchise and brings with it the first Mario game to ever be presented in high definition.  New Super Mario Bros U is one of the premier Wii U launch titles and is another 2D side-scrolling adventure where you must once again save the Princess from Bowser.  This time however Bowser merely traps the Princess in her castle instead of kidnapping the perennial damsel in distress.  On your journey to save the Princess you will see familiar friends and foes and perhaps even a new trick or two.  There are multiple “lands” to explore and some ghost houses that have more than one exit you will need to find if you want to experience everything the game has to offer.  There is even a warp system utilizing pipes on the over world map in case you need to get somewhere quickly.

    After watching the opening cinematic you will begin in Acorn Plains.  As you begin to clear levels you will start to see balloons pop up in certain areas.  The balloons will have a picture of a friend’s Mii on it and will include whatever message your friend decided to leave.  He might be boasting about clearing a stage without taking damage or about getting all three of the giant gold coins in the level.  On your end whenever you do something noteworthy you are given the opportunity to leave a message for your friends to see.  You can leave just text or if you have the talent and the time you can leave a drawing for your friends to see.  Much like with Miiverse there is a spoilers button here to use as well.  If you are going to post a comment that is a spoiler be sure to label it as such so that people who don’t want to see it won’t be spoiled on accident.  If you so choose you can also choose to hide these posts so that you won’t ever see them.  For me though my friends had some pretty funny comments that made me chuckle and it only enhanced the experience.

    New Super Mario Bros U is a game that can be played either on the television, on the GamePad or both.  This past weekend I was playing the game on the GamePad as I sat back in my chair and watched NFL games.  It is really cool experience to be able to do that and whenever there was a lull in the football game I could clear a level or two on Mario.  This game features eight different lands with some of them being bigger than others.  Honestly if you wanted to you could sit down and probably go through them all in one sitting.  Even if you did that though there would still be a lot to go back for such as finding gold coins that you missed, maybe finding a secret exit that you missed that would open up a new pathway and more.  Or maybe you just want to replay a level to improve your performance so you can show off your accomplishments to your friends.    Either way the game should keep you busy for a while.

    New Super Marios Bros U also has a cool feature where it will show you what star coins you have and what you are missing.  That way you don’t have to keep replaying a level only to find out you have already retrieved all of the coins in that level.  You can play the game either by yourself or with a group of friends with up to five people being able to play at any one time.  In that scenario four people would play with Wii Remotes and one person would have the GamePad.  The four people with the Wii Remotes would control the four characters on the screen while the person with the GamePad would try to help (or hurt) those characters by placing blocks on the screen.  This is where someone can be really devious if you wanted to place a block in such a way where your friend(s) are trapped or you can be helpful by placing a block underneath someone who is falling, preventing them from losing a life.  The more players that get involved the more chaotic everything gets and in my personal experience it is a ton of fun to play with other people.  When you beat a castle the game will give you the option to save your progress or you can simply “quick save” at any point on the map and when you restart the game later you will be where you left off.  It should be pointed out that you can’t save while in the middle of a level.  You need to be on the map to do so.

    Aside from the main game there are also other modes to play around with.  For starters there is the challenge mode which will offer up a bunch of different challenges for you.  Among these challenges is being able to speed run certain stages in the game, being able to collect as many coins as you can before clearing a level, being able to stay airborne without touching the ground by stomping on enemies heads and more.  There are bronze, silver and gold medals awarded depending on how you do so it should keep completionists coming back who want to have a gold medal in everything.  Next is Boost Rush mode which is similar to a speed run concept but with a twist.  You need to get through a set of stages as quickly as you can however the stage scrolls pretty slowly, severely hampering your speed while trying to get through the level.  The way that you get the level to scroll quicker (and therefore get a better overall time) is by collecting coins.  The more coins you get the quicker the level will scroll and the faster you will clear the area.  When you first start you will have access to three course packs you can choose from and the cumulative time from the courses will be your record.  It is an interesting twist on the traditional speed run concept and one I enjoyed quite a bit.  Finally there is also the coin battle mode.  In coin battle every level from the main game is playable as well as a few exclusive ones.  Depending on how you feel like playing you can set up teams heavily in your favor, heavily in your opponents favor or as a level playing field for all.  The person who has the GamePad can also set up some custom coin layouts in other courses and have the people with the Wii Remotes go through the courses.  No matter which way you decide to play these modes they are a lot of fun and is a great way to spend some time with friends.

    New Super Mario Bros U doesn’t set the world on fire (unless perhaps you have acquired a fire flower) but it is a really solid, fun title.  It is incredibly charming and retains that Mario “magic” that we have come to expect from Nintendo.  The transition to high definition makes this the best looking Mario game yet.  The GamePad is utilized pretty well for a launch title and I can’t wait to see what Nintendo comes up with next for Mario.  Whether it is the Mario gameplay that we all know and love, playing with friends and family or trying to accomplish a new feat so that you can brag about it to your friends, New Super Mario Bros U is the best “new” game yet.

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    The TotallyGN Verdict
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    • The GamePad can really add to the experience when playing with friends.
    • Being able to play on just the GamePad is a really nice feature.
    • Local multiplayer only. It would be nice if we could play against people online.

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    Summary:

    Mario’s first game on the Wii U is a success. The story mode is a lot of fun as is playing with friends in the different modes. This is a title all Mario fans should enjoy.

    [note class=”alignright”]8.5[/note]
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    • Format: Wii U
    • Developer: Nintendo
    • Publisher: Nintendo
    • Release Date: November 18, 2012

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