New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe on Nintendo Switch
While Wii U owners are probably sick and tired of having the Switch’s calendar padded out with games they already own, for the rest of us (and let’s be real, most of us) that did not have a Wii U, it’s awesome that we get another chance to experience the best games from that platform.
A retro gamer at heart, I was hoping that New Super Mario Bros. U would get its “Deluxe” version, and was thrilled when it was announced.
I’ll admit though, even before New Super Mario Bros. U, I was starting to feel quite a bit of fatigue from the “New” style of 2D Mario games that now span multiple generations.
There’s nothing wrong with them. In fact each and every one of them are fantastic 2D Mario games, but a generational leap should trigger a significant change. It’s the case at least for the 3D games, but the 2D games feel a bit stagnant.
While some of those concerns are realized in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s still an incredible 2D platformer, among the best in recent years.
Let’s get this out of the way though. Lots of the music, world themes, power-ups, and just the way the game plays in general (AKA the physics) will feel incredibly familiar to people who have kept up with the 2D Mario games in recent years.
If you really wanted to play something that is radically different or fresh, you’re going to be a bit disappointed with New Super Mario Bros. U, even with the Deluxe version.
Ironically, what New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe does to freshen things up from the tired “New” aesthetic is bring back some retro elements from arguably the two best games in the 2D series: Super Mario World and Super Mario Bros. 3.
There are many callbacks to both games throughout New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe including enemies, stage backdrops and themes, music, and overworld interaction.
For example, like in Super Mario Bros. 3, you can bump into enemies on the map in order to trigger a mini-battle that will reward you with a bonus item with that same classic music intact.
Considering how fatigued I am with the “New” look, it was refreshing to see something that reminded me of a game other than the most recent ones.
Okay, I think I’ve gotten that out of my system, which is great because I don’t want to get sidetracked too much and forget to tell you how excellent New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is in spite of its tired aesthetic.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is among the most creative, and well-crafted 2D Mario games of all time. Each and every stage is a treat. Visually, the power of the Switch makes the backdrops come alive like we’ve never seen before in the series.
Design-wise, it felt like every level had its own individual mechanic which also incorporated the overall world’s theme in as well.
For example, in the ice-themed Frosted Glacier world, almost every level incorporated some form of slippery platforming because of the ice. However, on the micro-level, you’ll have a level that has you dodging Penguins sliding across the ice at you, or trying to dodge crashing icicles while not losing your footing.
This is persistent throughout the entire game and the result is that nearly every single level has its own personality. There’s very little, if any that I can remember, wasted levels. Hardcore Mario fans will have a hard time putting it down.
As is the case with most Mario games, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has the perfect blend of being accessible to newcomers, especially if you use the new Toadette character aimed at newer players, while also being just challenging enough for veterans too.
Kirby games are far too easy, while Donkey Kong can be brutal. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is just right.
The base game now being totally portable thanks to the Switch is worth the price of admission on its own. The co-op gameplay is still great and the Deluxe version adds all of the Luigi DLC, and new challenge modes that should entertain most veterans past the main campaign.
The only thing that New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe felt like it lacked was truly new experiences to help sell the “Deluxe” moniker.
It’s not like I felt wronged, I assumed it would be like the other Deluxe games which are pretty light in new features compared to other more substantial remakes we’ve seen in recent years. But if I was pleasantly surprised, it would have put it over the top.
If you were a Wii U owner that already played New Super Mario Bros. U, then weigh whether or not having the Deluxe version on the go, or more conveniently accessible for co-op sessions on your Switch is worth buying it again.
In the more likely event that you missed it the first time around, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a must-play for 2D Mario fans and is the best in the 2D line of games since Super Mario World.
Score 4.5/5 – Great
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