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New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Game Reviews

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

A solid platformer without a lot of new content – but if you’ve never played it before, you can’t go wrong.

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What is there to say about the Wii U? It was a dumb name stapled to a strange hodge-podge of ideas; was anybody really all that interested in a tablet-controller? Turns out that the idea of a console you can play anywhere wasn’t necessarily all that bad, though, as we’ve seen with the success of the Switch. The similarities between the two consoles don’t end at the overarching concept of portability, though, as we’ve seen their libraries start to sync up thanks to the many enhanced ports filling the newer console’s library.

From blockbusters like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to puzzle-solving adventure like Captain Toad to the banana charms of Donkey Kong Country the Wii U was ripe for a little plundering, which brings us to New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, a port of both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U.

Princess Peach has been kidnapped! Mario and company have to save her! You’ve seen this story before, you’ve known it since you were a kid. Maybe you’ve even had kids of your own since the first time you played a Mario game. NSMBUD – yes, that’s what we’re going to call it – hearkens back to those days by focusing on classic platforming action. Run, jump, head for the flag at the end of each stage, grab power-ups along the way and enjoy some of the best level design available in a platformer. This is what Nintendo does best and they’re doing it in spades here. You probably know what to expect.

Aside from platforming, you’ve got full cooperative multiplayer available, which is the real selling point here. The Switch inherently has two controllers, after all, so all you’ve got to find is another person willing to endure you and you’re in business. “Cooperative” is something of a questionable term here, since a lot of what actually goes on involves characters stomping on each other and accidentally throwing each other into pits, but it’s a great touch and the defining feature of the game all the same. There’s a number of cute mini-games and bonus modes to check out as well.

All of that mostly applies if you haven’t played the original games and, well, it’s entirely possible that you haven’t. The Wii U didn’t exactly sell like gangbusters, after all. If you’ve already gone through them and you’re after new content only, then you’re mostly going to find that there’s different characters to control – including the new, meme-tastic Toadette and the playable appearance of invincible easy-mode character Nabbit – and the presentation on the whole has been spruced up a bit. Otherwise, though, this is largely just the same game (and expansion) you already played, and you may not want to shell out the bucks to play them again.

From a presentation standpoint, well, NSMBUD looks and sounds fantastic because it’s a first-party Nintendo game on a Nintendo console. Obviously. Mario games tend to look pretty good, to say nothing of how they’ve got an evergreen appeal thanks to their timeless art style. That remains the case here, even if the Wii U version still looks pretty good today so there’s not a huge graphical update on the Switch. What’s more, this kind of game works just fine in handheld mode, making it a solid choice for both playing at home and on the go.

All that said, if you’re one of the many Switch owners who never had a Wii U and thus missed out on New Super Mario Bros. U, you can’t really go wrong with New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. This is classic platforming at its finest, made only more fine through the addition of multiplayer. Grab some friends, some adult beverages (if you’re allowed!) and get to screaming at each other. It’s bound to be a great time.