Following the critical success of New Super Mario Bros. U, and as part of the celebration of The Year of Luigi, Nintendo has moved the spotlight from its favorite plumber and placed it upon his younger brother who demonstrates to be just as capable to shine on his own. In a break from the usual formula, New Super Luigi U lets Luigi take the leading role in the adventure to save Princess Peach as he goes through the same level maps of the earlier Wii U game. That said, not all stays the same in this expansion of the New Super Mario series, which turns out to be a quite challenging addition to the series as a whole.[su_pullquote align="left"] New Super Luigi U
Developed and published by Nintendo
Available on the Wii U.
*Review copy provided by Nintendo[/su_pullquote]
This game is currently being sold as DLC, but it also had a standalone release. Taking into account the amount of content, it is a wise decision to get it either way.
At first glace you might mistake this game as being identical to its original version, yet this doesn’t last long, because as soon as you enter the first stage, the familiar alert of the game clock running out lets the player know they have to immediately take off in a race against time. This is one of the major changes to the gameplay; the timer now starts at 099 at the beginning of each level. The new time constraint provokes a feeling of urgency in the player, as they need to travel these levels at break-neck speed in order to reach the stage-ending flag-pole. While all this is happening, the player might also all try to collect each level’s three star coins, which makes staying alive a complete test of the player’s skill.
The new time constraint is not the only change in this iteration of the series, for even though the game takes place in the same maps as in New Super Mario Bros. U, each level is redesigned and takes into consideration the new time constraint without compromising the game’s challenge. While the world environments stay mostly the same, the level designs now include a larger quantity of enemies, a major number of gaps for Luigi to fall through, and rarely does it allow a place in which the player might feel safe to stop and rest; the game is all about speed and it makes it quite clear from the very beginning.
Gameplay is mostly similar in terms of how you control Luigi except that, in this entry, Luigi has been giving a gravitational shift similar to that of his character in New Super Mario Bros 2 for the NES. Luigi jumps much higher and also stays in the air a bit longer than Mario does when prompted. This adds a interesting twist to the usual platforming because not only do you have to move faster, but you also need to calculate your jumps as well. In general, gameplay is tight and you never feel like the deaths are cheap; all of it stands in the hands and skills of the player.
This entry also sees the reappearance of several power-ups like the Penguin Suit and the Propeller Mushroom which originally appeared in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and made a brief appearance in Superstar Road on New Super Mario Bros. Wii U. Also, we see the return of the Super Acorn and the P-Acorn. These power-ups are not new but bring interesting experiences to the gameplay. At one level of the fourth map I was sliding on my penguin suit through the whole level at maximum speed which makes the time constraint seem like a breeze.
The changes in this game feel mostly like a great addition; while playing it I would often feel a rush of adrenaline as I tried to reach the end of the levels while, at the same time, avoided the usual enemies and the constant pits. Level designs are as good as expected from a Mario game and gameplay feels tight and responsive. The mini-bosses present a good challenge though not much has changed in that aspect from the original version of the game. Also, since the levels have changed significantly from the original version, it keeps it from being a simple rip-off from the original.
The multiplayer of the game feels mostly like it does in most of the New Super Mario Bros. series, with the exception of a new addition to the gang: the little thief Nabbit who now takes the place of the missing Mario. Playing with Nabbit has a few advantages: he can’t be hit by enemies and he absorbs power-ups which, at the end of the level, he uses as 1-ups. However, he can still be taken out by pits and other environment kills. Nabbit is a great addition for players whose platforming skills are not as good and still want to participate in the multiplayer. However, the speed of the game makes the multiplayer a bit too difficult as sometimes it is barely possible to get through a whole level while playing in multiplayer. This game definitely shines most as a single player game.
While the challenging difficulty keeps gameplay interesting, there are times in which the quick pace of the game made me take a break from playing it. That said, this is not enough of a negative point to restate all other great points about the game and I had a blast playing through it. Great level design, tight gameplay controls, and the added challenge of the timer makes New Super Luigi U a must-buy for fans of the series or fans of platformers in general.