After the joyous Mario Odyssey, your favourite Italian plumbers Mario and Luigi return to Nintendo Switch for New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. Originally released on the Wii U, this is the definitive version of the classic side-scrolling 2D platformer, featuring two games.
In Story Mode, up to four players can take part at once. There’s five playable characters to choose from; Mario, Luigi, Toad, Toadette and Nabbit. The latter two promise easier gameplay - perfect for younger players or those less experienced with platform gaming. Nabbit doesn’t take any damage from enemies and Toadette can power-up using a Super Crown to transform into Peachette! Fans of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World will feel instantly at home with the level and game design.
One great feature is that each time you load your game save, you’re given the option to reselect how many players there’ll be for that session, plus select any character to play.
The adventure begins after party-crasher Bowser once again invades Mushroom Kingdom, with a fleet of evildoers. Honestly, I’m surprised he hasn’t at least been given a restraining order based on all the chaos he’s caused over the years.
The first level in Acorn Plains is a gentle introduction into the mechanics of the game, but that’s not to say that there isn’t lots of fun to be had too. With hidden pathways to find and explore, coins to collect, and new suit that transforms you into a moustachioed flying squirrel, there plenty to do. The flowers and Koopa Troopers even dance along to the music! Halfway through each varied level, there’s a convenient flag which allows you to re-spawn there if you happen to sneeze while jumping over a particularly tricky platform and lose a life. At the end of the level there’s a chance to jump to the top of the flagpole to earn an extra life.
Explore the map to discover Toad’s house (a giant mushroom), where you’ll get the chance to pick a block with a reward inside. But first they get shuffled around and you have to avoid the hidden Bowser one. Items such as temporary invincibility stars and mushrooms to make you bigger to take additional damage are up for grabs.
There’s boss fights in each world which increase the challenge, before unlocking the next. Once Acorn Plains is completed, it’s onto Layer-Cake Desert - a sandy environment littered with giant ice creams. Anyone who’s ever eaten an ice cream at the beach knows how much of a nightmare sand can be! There’s giant moving statues to jump onto, quicksand to avoid and underground levels to contend with.
Next you’ll have the option to visit the Frosted Glacier world or Sparkling Waters for underwater fun and a haunted shipwreck! The further you get through the game, the more the difficulty ramps up. Collect as many 1-Ups and coins as you can, as you’ll really need those extra lives in the later stages. Sometimes a single jump can make the difference between success, and repeating a level several times (or more!).
If you fail at a level enough times, you’ll get the option to watch Luigi’s Super Guide, a video play-through showing how to successfully get past every part of the level you’re stuck on. You can also take over Luigi at any point to try that part of the level yourself, before returning to your actual game.
In addition to the Story Mode, there’s a wealth of additional content to keep you entertained. Challenges include time attack speed runs, coin collection, 1-Up Rally and special levels such as Fire, Bro and Graceful Glide. Each can be attempted with either Mario, Luigi, Toad or your Mii character.
In Boost Rush, 1-4 players race to the end of the level, while keeping up with the screen as it automatically scrolls forward. The more coins you collect, the faster the screen scrolls, leading to much hilarity and panic jumping! Additional course packs unlock as you progress with varying difficulty.
In Coin Battle, 2-4 competitive players have to complete a level, while collecting as many coins as possible. Players are ranked at the end by how many coins they’ve managed to collect.
Wait, you want even more? The game also includes the harder and faster New Super Luigi U, originally released as either DLC or a standalone full game for the Wii U. You get it here in its entirely, offering you the chance to play as Luigi, Yellow Toad, Blue Toad, Toadette and Nabette. Combined, the two games are said to offer 164 platforming courses. Mario and Luigi probably have bigger calf muscles than a kangaroo at this point!
The entire package offers incredible value and replayability. New Super Mario Bros. U deluxe will surprise, delight and challenge you throughout its many levels and modes. Great fun in single player and even better with friends, it’s highly recommended!
Review by: Sarah O'Connell
Review Date: 15th February 2019
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Review
Rating out of 5:
Played on an Epson EH-TW5210 projector.