So long 2018, a year full of many things, of course most notably a number of Wii U ports to the Nintendo Switch. With the likes of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Hyrule Warriors making an appearance on the console, there was no shortage on returning titles. While some would complain that Nintendo should focus on making new games entirely and leave the Wii U behind, I don’t see an issue in it; the Wii U didn’t perform particularly well sales wise so to give these fantastic games a second chance on a console with a much, much higher player base is a more than welcome idea — now if Nintendo could just port The Wonderful 101 it can finally get the respect it so desperately deserves. The Switch’s 2019 line-up will thankfully not go without its ports, and the first of these being New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.
This is — as the name would suggest — a port of the 2012 Wii U launch game New Super Mario Bros. U, with Deluxe thrown on the end to not just make the title even more of a mouthful, but to convey Nintendo’s attitude to these ports; they don’t just want to copy the game wholecloth, they want to make it a bigger and better experience that can truly take advantage of the Switch’s hardware. Naturally this means, on the technical side of things, it will have a higher resolution with a native 1080p in docked mode—and native 720p in handheld mode—contrasting the dynamic 1080p and 720p of the Wii U and its gamepad. Additionally, as is common in ‘Deluxe’ editions of games, DLC is included in the package. The DLC in question here is New Super Luigi U, a separate campaign where the player takes control of the younger and greener of the Mario Bros. to have his own adventure without Mario taking up all the limelight. It was originally released in 2013 as part of Nintendo’s Year of Luigi marketing scheme, celebrating 30 years since Luigi’s debut in the original arcade game Mario Bros. (Also, 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of Waluigi’s debut in Mario Tennis, so fingers-crossed we’ll see this tactic repeated then).
The game itself is your stereotypical side-scrolling Mario platformer, with an uninspired and frankly ugly 2.5D coat of paint as is expected of the New Super Mario Bros. sub-series started on the Nintendo DS — there’s a reason no one made Mario Maker stages with that theme, it’s not exactly easy on the eyes. However, what it lacks for in the art department it more than makes up with in gameplay, with the 4-player co-op taking center stage. It’s hardly an original statement to say that Mario has incredible gameplay, but New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe mixes it up with different levels of accessibility across the five playable characters. Mario, Luigi and Toad all play the same way, your traditional Mario experience will be found here.
Nabbit returns from New Super Luigi U — this time playable in the base game as well as the DLC — this small purple rabbit bandit is perfect for the less-skilled player as he features unique elements; more specifically, Nabbit cannot be damaged by enemies. Now this isn’t to say there’s no challenge in playing Nabbit, he can still die from falling into hazards, and the only power-up he is able to use is a Star, but not having to worry about troublesome enemies makes him the perfect character to hand off to a younger sibling. Hitting in between the two ends of the difficulty scale is the final playable character — new to the Deluxe version of the game — Toadette. Toadette can still be damaged like the other three playable characters, however she features a unique power-up; the Super Crown. Consuming this items turns Toadette into Peachette, a character highly resemblant of Princess Peach, giving her to ability to perform a floaty double jump first used by Peach in Super Mario Bros 2. This power-up is also notable outside of the game as, after it was shown off during a September Nintendo Direct, artists across the internet stumbled into Bowsette — a new character created when Mario’s nemesis Bowser consumed the Super Crown. ‘Bowsette’ even went so far as to be logged on certain websites as one of 2018’s most searched terms.
Even with the uninspired art, this is a perfect game to pick up and play with friends or family in the new year, especially if you missed its original release on the Wii U. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe will be released worldwide on 11 January, at a RRP of £49.99.