Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: New Super Mario Bros. U

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

I've been staring at this empty document for a while, trying to figure out what to say about New Super Mario Bros. U. What can I say that I haven't already said, either in my reviews of New Super Mario Bros. Wii or New Super Mario Bros. 2? Can I just say, "Just read those reviews and come back here?" What about, "It's OK, I guess." Can I say that?

I suppose I can't, but that's the problem that Nintendo's starting to bump in to with the New Super Mario Bros. series. It's bringing in diminishing returns, even as the sales continue to pile up.

So let's just do this: Let's point at what's new in New Super Mario Bros. U and grade each part individually. That should give us a good idea of whether this new one is worth playing.
The most obvious change is the Wii U GamePad. I'll be honest: Playing this on the GamePad has been fantastic. I love being able to play the game with no latency on the pad itself while having headphones plugged into it. Grade: A+.

Multiplayer on the Wii game was really frustrating. With the addition of the GamePad, multiplayer has been expanded greatly now. One person can either help out by adding blocks or troll everyone by creating obstacles. Most everyone will create obstacles instead, which leads to beautiful anarchy. Grade: A.

The difficulty is cranked up. I'm ashamed to admit that I let the computer take me through one of the later levels. Am I getting bad at platformers in my old age? I don't think so, since I don't have a problem with other platformers, just this one. I'll blame the game, not the player. Grade: B

Miiverse integration is really cool the first time you see it. It's cool to see what other people have posted in-game, and there are some very creative people out there. After a while, though, it gets a little tedious. Grade: B

The extra challenges are a cool addition, though I'm not sure what purpose they serve other than showing off how awesome you are to yourself. Grade: B+

The world map is a definite improvement over the boring and stale New Super Mario Bros. 2 map, and harkens back the days of Super Mario World. However, is having a cool world map necessarily "new?" I don't think so. Grade: Did not qualify.

So where does that leave us? This all averages out to about a B+. That seems fair to me. A quick ranking of the "New" series:
  1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  2. New Super Mario Bros. U
  3. New Super Mario Bros. 2
  4. New Super Mario Bros.
All right, now that Nintendo has pumped out game after game of side-scrolling Mario action, can they please stop? I beg of Nintendo to stop with the New series for now. Wait until the next Nintendo system. We're all worn out on side-scrolling Mario games for the time being. Too much of a good thing is still too much.

Final Grade: B+

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