Of the Wii U’s intriguing launch titles, New Super Mario Bros. U could be the easiest to understand. Building off the success of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the game’s relying on its level design to carry it, and that vocabulary is one in which players are fluent at this point. The GamePad functionality and additional modes seem to be adding a layer specifically for the “core” player, as while they’re fun if you want fun, the true magic comes with some serious skill and cooperation to chase high scores.
What it is: Filling the role of “the launch Mario or Zelda game” for the Wii U, NSMBU brings back the four-player 2D gameplay, expands it with lots of levels and a Super Mario World-style map and throws in some system-showcasing features here and there. We still haven’t gotten to see much of the Miiverse integration, though.
Why we’re excited: The GamePad player’s ability to create platforms becomes a crucial component to the new Boost Rush mode. The goal is to collect coins and score points as fast as possible, and when players coordinate with the new platforms, not only do they reach destinations more quickly, but stepping on these platforms actually gives you coins. It’s a mechanic that encourages some serious training with a group to pull off impressive totals. We also like the new power-ups, like the flying squirrel, and the multifaceted mini-Yoshis.
What we’re wondering: Just how is this Miiverse integration going to work? Seriously. Also, there’s no real indication yet of the game’s length. If there’s a lot to get through (and more than a few secret areas to find), it’ll be a great package. It could have the launch-game problem of being a few worlds short, though.
New Super Mario Bros. U will release on the Wii U’s launch day, November 18.