New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Mario Bros. U is a side-scrolling 2.5D platform game and launch title for the Wii U system. It is the fourteenth installment in the Super Mario series, the ninth installment in the Super Mario Bros. series, and the fourth and latest installment in the New Super Mario Bros. series. Released on November 18, 2012 in North America, November 30th in Europe and Australia, and in Japan on December 8th, it is the first Super Mario series game to be released as a launch title for a home console since Super Mario 64. An expansion pack for this game was later released in 2013, titled New Super Luigi U.
Based upon the New Super Mario Bros. Mii tech demo shown at E3 2011, the game uses new, more detailed background styles and models and introduces the Flying Squirrel power-up, acquired by Mario and his friends from an item called the Super Acorn, as well as utilizing the Wii U GamePad in Boost Mode.
Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad, and Yellow Toad are with Princess Peach in Princess Peach's Castle having dinner together. Bowser and the Koopalings suddenly arrive in their Airships, with the former sporting a giant mechanical fist, that smashes and launches the brothers and the Toads away from the castle. Mario and his friends crash into the Acorn Tree, launching Super Acorns through the area. They then tumble out of the tree, passing a Bubble Baby Yoshi and Balloon Baby Yoshi, while they're at it, and look into the horizon to see Bowser beginning a siege on Princess Peach's Castle, setting the Mario Bros. and the Toads to go on a new adventure and save Princess Peach.
As the game progresses, the view occasionally shifts to Peach's Castle, showing the flags being replaced by Bowser's flags, and the castle being surrounded by a thin tornado-like cloud that is made thicker, entirely obscuring the castle. Mario, Luigi and the Toads also have to deal with Bowser's forces, including the Koopalings, Boom Booms, Kamek and Bowser Jr., who occasionally attacks the heroes with his dad's airship. None of them is enough to stop the heroes from progressing, and Bowser Jr. causes the airship to crash after making the mechanical hand punch through it. After reaching Peach's Castle and defeating Bowser, the group moves onward, but Bowser Jr. appears and urges Kamek to spread his magic across the area. After heading to the castle exterior, Mario and the others see Peach in a tower. Before they can save her, she is locked inside and Bowser appears, now at a giant size. Eventually, Bowser is defeated and Bowser Jr. runs away in fright. Mario (or whoever delivered the final blow to Bowser) gets to Peach and bows down to her, and is then kissed by her, to their shock and delight, as the clouds surrounding the castle disappear, restoring it to its former state.
Outside the castle, the Koopalings and Bowser Jr. are fleeing on the airship as Bowser recovers. Noticing the escaping airship, he climbs up onto one of the castle towers and leaps onto the ship, but his additional weight causes it to plummet into a hill nearby; they then fly away hanging on to Bowser Jr.'s Koopa Clown Car while Mario and Blue Toad watch. They then turn back to the others, who are cheering, with Mario delivering a final victory pose.
The gameplay of New Super Mario Bros. U is very similar to that of past New Super Mario Bros. games, especially New Super Mario Bros. Wii, with the return of the 4-player multiplayer functioning identically to the Wii game, while most of the elements and design found in the game make heavy reference to Super Mario World. Many other gameplay elements from the Wii game, such as the Super Guide, Enemy Courses, and the bubble function, also return. In certain modes, players can play as their Miis, including the first player, who can also choose whoever to play as. Power-ups, like the Fire Flower, Ice Flower, Penguin Suit, Propeller Mushroom and the Mini Mushroom return. The game also features a new power-up, the Super Acorn, which gives Mario and company a Flying Squirrel form, which lets them glide and grab on to walls.
New Super Mario Bros. U features two main options for play: single player using the Wii U GamePad, and single player or multiplayer using Wii Remotes and/or Wii U Pro Controllers; the player can switch controllers at any point between the GamePad and a Wii Remote or Pro Controller by pausing the game, either in a level or on the world map, and selecting the "Change Controller" option. The game supports up to five simultaneous players, with up to four being able to play as the characters with a Wii Remote or Wii U Pro Controller, and are able to drop in and out at any point while in a stage by pressing on the GamePad and selecting a character, or on the map by pausing and selecting "Number of Players". Another player is able to use the Wii U GamePad in what is known as Boost Mode. In Boost Mode, the GamePad player can assist the other players by placing blocks for them to stand on and stunning enemies. Boost Mode can be used at any point when playing with one of the other controllers; when playing with just the GamePad, it supports Off-TV Play.
After clearing Acorn Plains, an enemy called Nabbit appears and steals an item from a nearby Toad House, heading back to Acorn Plains-1. When the player enters a stage with Nabbit, the objective is to race him to the goal, trying to catch him before he can get away. If the player succeeds in catching Nabbit, they are rewarded with a P-Acorn. Replacing the Toad saving in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Nabbit only appears in one stage in the first seven worlds.
The first update to the game added Miiverse support. With Miiverse functionality enabled, players can read each others' posts on the world map by viewing the map; when not viewing the map a Miiverse post is indicated by a red balloon, generally near a stage, and can be hidden by pressing ; When on the World Map while using Boost Mode, the GamePad player can scroll across the map on the GamePad screen and view Miiverse posts. At certain times throughout gameplay, such as when the player dies several times or reaches the end of a course in a specific way (collecting all the Star Coins, clearing in a certain amount of time, clearing without taking damage, etc.), they are given a prompt to post a message to Miiverse. Players can also see Miiverse posts after they die in a stage. Miiverse settings can be changed at any point on the world map by selecting the pencil and envelope icon on the bottom right of the pause menu.
* Single player only.
Unlike previous New Super Mario Bros. titles, where the worlds are separated like in Super Mario Bros. 3, New Super Mario Bros. U has a seamless world map with areas named after different foods and drinks, similar to Super Mario World. Like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the Worlds include Toad Houses and Enemy Courses that players will encounter in the game. The music changes instruments throughout the world map similar to Yoshi's Island. Though, like the previous games, there are Towers, Castles and Ghost House-related levels within each part of the world:
Green Yoshis make a return, acting like in New Super Mario Bros Wii. Green is the only color available for Yoshis that the players ride on, unlike New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Yoshi now has a meter that tracks how many berries he eats, instead of showing a number each time he eats one. As usual, eating 5 makes him lay an egg containing an item. As it happens in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Green Yoshi isn't able to leave the courses he appears in.
New Super Mario Bros. U also features the return of Baby Yoshis, having been absent from the Super Mario series since their debut in Super Mario World. The game features three differently-colored Baby Yoshis, each one with a special ability. They differ from the adult Green Yoshi in terms of gameplay. Being babies, they can't be ridden, so characters must carry them throughout the levels. Baby Yoshis also instantly eat almost any enemy that is in front of them. Unlike in Super Mario World, Baby Yoshis don't grow into adults after eating several enemies. Two types of Baby Yoshis found on the overworld can be taken into any course, with the exception of Fortresses, Airships and Castles.
The world map inventory, seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, returns in New Super Mario Bros. U, allowing players to store items that can be used before entering a level. Unlike the other inventories, this is limited to ten items only. If more items come in, the player will have to discard items from the inventory until they have ten. Players can gain items into their inventory by playing red Toad House minigames, collecting items on the world map itself, completing an Enemy Course, catching Nabbit, or finishing a level with the final two digits of the time matching.
In addition to the main adventure, New Super Mario Bros. U features three additional bonus modes to play. The first of these is Challenge Mode, in which players must complete a given objective on a given stage, some within a specific time limit. In most cases after the player completes a challenge they are ranked with a medal depending on how well they did. There are five types of challenges: Time Attack, Coin Collection, 1-Up Rally, Special, and Boost Mode.
Another mode is Boost Rush Mode, where players have to reach the end of two or three selected stages while trying to obtain the highest possible score, in a similar way to the Coin Rush feature in New Super Mario Bros. 2. Unlike Coin Rush, the stages scroll automatically, meaning the player has to keep up with the stage, which speeds up every time they collects coins.
Coin Battle from New Super Mario Bros. Wii is also available. However, in this version of the mode players can be grouped into teams against each other or play free-for-all, rather than just the latter. The Wii U GamePad can also be used for Coin Edit, in which the GamePad is used to customize the coin placement in the Coin Battle-exclusive courses.
New Super Mario Bros. U has received critical acclaim. The game currently maintains an 84 average on both Metacritic and GameRankings. GameXplain gave the single-player and multi-player modes 4 stars out of 5, IGN gave it a score of 9.1 out of 10, EGM gave a score of 9/10, Joystiq gave it 4.5 stars out of 5, Polygon and Destructoid gave the same score of 8.5/10, VentureBeat gave it a score of 83/100 (83%), Games Radar gave it 4 stars out of 5, and Gamespot gave a score of 8.5.
The game has been praised for its balanced gameplay and challenge mode, with IGN's Rich George describing it as "the best thing to come to Mario's world since 3D", while criticizing it as not pushing the Wii U's visuals and audio potential. He also stated, "though it doesn’t necessarily redefine Nintendo’s iconic hero, it still manages to capture the sense of carefree adventure that many of us felt as kids." He also criticized the game's "weak graphics and audio, plus the return of the irritating chaotic, bouncy multiplayer mode." He praised the progressing difficulty in the game and the additional difficulty of Challenge Mode.
New Super Mario Bros. U has received three updates:
New Super Luigi U
In July 2013, as part of the Year of Luigi celebration, a large-scale expansion pack titled New Super Luigi U was released as downloadable content for New Super Mario Bros. U on the Nintendo eShop, and was later released as a standalone title at retail. The pack contains 82 new courses in place of the original ones, featuring Luigi as the main character in the place of Mario, who does not appear at all within the game.
The game features the same multiplayer, with the option of playing as Yellow Toad, Blue Toad, or Nabbit (who cannot power-up like the other characters, but is impervious to enemy damage). The game features similar physics to that of Luigi's style of gameplay in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, in that the characters run faster and jump higher but stop slower. The levels have also been designed to be more challenging, with each one being shorter and featuring a 100 second time limit.
The Mario & Luigi Deluxe Set Wii U bundle released in November 2013 includes with it both games put onto one disk, titled New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U. In addition to being a compilation of both games, this release includes several bonus videos.
As stated above, New Super Mario Bros. U was based upon the New Super Mario Bros. Mii Wii U experience demo shown off at E3 2011. A translation of a Spanish online magazine revealed that the new title was in development and would be revealed at E3 2012, with the game fully revealed to be New Super Mario Bros. U during the E3 trailer.
New Super Mario Bros. U began development soon after the completion of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, using pre-existing elements from the Wii game, as development equipment for Wii U didn't exist at the time. The game's singular, interconnected world map was inspired by the one seen in Super Mario World; Masataka Takemoto desired to take the map from that game and use the Wii U in order to recreate and expand upon the concept. The map being seamless also had a role in Miiverse integration, as with the setup of the map it was possible to display comments across each of the levels. The concept of drop-in play with one player on the Gamepad placing blocks was brought up early in development. When the Wii U Gamepad was brought up during development, the team began to conceptualize ways to use it, talking specifically about the drop-in play. Wanting to make a feature with "controls that you can understand right away with no explanation," the concept of using the GamePad to place blocks the other players can jump on went through.
Challenge Mode was based upon the idea of setting a self-challenge in previous games, as well as the challenge site for New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Because of ideas like this, the developers decided to put the Challenge Mode into the game from the beginning. The challenges were created with all types of skill levels in mind.
Boost Rush Mode was based on the Free-for-All Mode featured in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, in that they wanted a similar mode for playing the main game stages in short bursts. The developers tried connecting courses together and playing them through, but found it uneventful; they then added the concept of collecting coins resulting in the screen scrolling faster, and found it to fit a Super Mario-style of gameplay.
Miis were originally going to be playable in the game's Story Mode. In the final games, Mii playability is restricted to the bonus modes. Additionally, Boost Mode was also originally titled "Assist Play". The Acorn Plains map as seen in the E3 showcase for the game is also very different from the version seen in final game.
By entering a Warp Pipe or door in any stage exactly when the timer hits zero, the player does not die, and they can explore the level indefinitely.
New Super Mario Bros. U was produced by Takashi Tezuka and Hiroyuki Kimura, with Masataka Takemoto as the director and Tsutomu Kaneshige and Shinichi Ikeamtsu as the general coordinators. Satoru Iwata was the executive producer, with the general producer being Shigeru Miyamoto. Masanobu Sato was the lead designer, and Shiro Mouri was the programming director. The music was composed by Shiho Fujii and Mahito Yokota, with Koji Kondo as sound adviser.
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