New Super Mario Bros U
4 cert, Nintendo, Wii U ***
Mario is back and looking good in HD. The Wii U’s improved graphics mean that New Super Mario Bros U is visually more appealing, although the title doesn’t exactly test the console to its limits just yet.
You always know what you’re getting with Mario: Princess Peach needs saving from Bowser, and Mario co are just the people to do it. That means traversing the different worlds to ultimately come face to face with Bowser and save the day.
The campaign mode is fun in a typically Mario way. There are plenty of coins to collect, power-ups to nab and enemies to stomp on along the way. Levels are difficult, but not overly so, and if you get really stuck, the “super guide” will help you solve a tough section.
There’s a lot of familiar territory here, as you’d expect. But there have been some new features added.
For the most part, the GamePad’s screen in Mario Bros U is used as a playing screen and control. But when you’re in multiplayer, four people can play onscreen, with a fifth placing blocks that can either help or hinder using the GamePad.
It’s a nice touch that makes use of the Wii U’s capabilities and adds to the general chaos of the multiplayer mode. In addition, you can choose to play as your Mii avatar, bringing you face into the Mario worlds.
There are more addictive modes to tackle. Coin Boost mode propels you through the Mario worlds at speed, auto scrolling and forcing you to keep up or pay the price. Challenge mode, meanwhile, sets you specific tasks – avoiding collecting coins is harder than you’d think, and try traversing a Mario level without touching the ground.
While a lot of New Super Mario Bros U brings back elements of previous titles, the whole thing ties together quite well.