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New Super Mario Bros. U

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ESRB Rating: Everyone

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New Super Mario Bros. U

UPC: 045496902995

Platform: Wii U

Publisher: Nintendo of America, Inc.

Developer: Nintendo EAD

Category: Action

Style(s): Side-Scrolling Platform

Synopsis: Gamers can enjoy classic Mario platforming, a host of new and updated modes, and five-man multiplayer action as Nintendo's ubiquitous plumber takes on his first truly HD adventure in New Super Mario Bros. U. The traditional Story mode finds players joining Mario, Luigi, Toad, or custom Mii characters as they travel through the Mushroom Kingdom on another journey to save Princess Peach from Bowser and the bothersome Koopalings. New power-ups let gamers glide and cling to walls with the Flying Squirrel suit or float through the air dangling from a Balloon Baby Yoshi.


The Wii U platform gives Mario fans special options, such as five-man multiplayer action, with four gamers using Wii Remotes and the fifth using the GamePad to place helpful boost blocks or distract enemies. And If conflicts over the TV arise, players can always continue their adventure right on the GamePad screen. New Super Mario Bros. U also includes the new Boost Rush, Challenge, and Coin Battle modes. In Boost Rush, two to five gamers work together to speed through levels as quickly as possible, with the screen scrolling faster as players gather more coins. Challenge Mode is played in levels separate from the main game, and tests how well gamers perform various tasks. Coin Battle finds players speeding through levels in an attempt to grab the most coins, and it comes with a Coin Editor that allows gamers to create their own custom challenges. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide

Package Contents: Club Nintendo Code

Controls: Joystick/Gamepad

Nintendo's maestro of merriment and his cheery consortium have been thrown, literally, out of Peach's castle and into a Koopa-controlled kingdom in New Super Mario Bros. U. Your goal, as always, is to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser's clutches by conquering a series of side-scrolling levels. As with previous entries on Nintendo DS, Wii, and 3DS, New Super Mario Bros. U is a throwback to such Mario masterpieces as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. An overhead map ties together the colorful levels making up each themed region, as Mario jumps, bops, leaps, heaves, glides, rides, swims, and kicks his way past enemies new and old en route to each level's flagpole-marked exit.

While some may be disappointed in seeing a similar version of a game they've played plenty of times in the past, the action in New Super Mario Bros. U ranks among Mario's best. Those concerned over how previous entries in the side-scrolling series have panned out will immediately appreciate the level of challenge offered in this Wii U version. Even veterans of the original 8-bit games will find their hand-eye coordination put to the test right from the start. You'll need precision timing to jump through a spinning ring of Boos, for instance, and use a variety of techniques to overcome the dangers that await you, whether it's perfecting the triple jump or kicking the right koopa shell at the right moment. Each level is impeccably designed, offering plenty of hidden areas, secret switches, and other surprises to make you want to revisit each stage again, if only for the sheer pleasure of exploring every nook, cranny, drain pipe and coin block.

So what does the Wii U add to the experience that sets this game apart from other installments? Sadly, not much. As enjoyable as New Super Mario Bros. U is to play, there's nothing remotely innovative about its appearance on the console. You can play the game entirely on the Wii U GamePad, of course, and there is now the possibility of five-player co-op games instead of four, although the one person holding the GamePad is more of a helper than direct participant (he or she uses the touch-screen interface to place "boost blocks" to conjure platforms within the level). Other than this boost mode, which most hardcore players will ignore since it simplifies much of the action, the interplay between the GamePad and console is minimal. You won't, for example, crouch into a pipe on the television screen and view the underground area on the handheld.

There's also no online support for co-op or competitive games, or even leaderboards to show off your high scores on a particular stage. While there is some online connectivity, it's limited to posting brief messages or sketches displayed on the overhead map. Since the majority of messages are of the "This level is hard!" or "Finished it without taking damage!" variety, you'll quickly tune them out. While it's disappointing that the online features aren't as robust as they could be, New Super Mario Bros. U isn't short on content. In addition to the main campaign, which spans over 70 levels and boss battles against Bowser's brood, there are a variety of separate "challenge" stages that live up to their name. You'll have to complete each challenge within a certain time, such as racing from point A to point B, or by achieving a specific milestone, such as avoiding fireballs for x-amount of seconds, to win a gold, silver or bronze medal.

Meaningful changes to the gameplay are slight. Mario can acquire a flying squirrel costume to glide or use ice flowers that temporarily encase enemies in blocks of ice. Yoshis big and small can be found on certain stages and offer some creative ways to complete levels, but the rest of the power-ups simply consist of fire flowers and magic mushrooms. There are also a few different types of enemies, but most of the foes are recycled relics from the plumber's past. So New Super Mario Bros. U is not a new take on the series that some might be expecting. It is, however, challenging, inviting, and exciting, whether you're playing it alone or teaming up with friends. The Wii U may not be tested with this launch title, but your platforming skills will be, making for a strong -- if not ground-pounding -- debut for Nintendo's bouncy breadwinner. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide

the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.