E3 2012 Impressions: New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo WiiU)

The other major game from the Nintendo booth that I couldn’t wait to try out was New Super Mario Bros. U. I was a huge fan of its Wii predecessor, so I was anxious to have the opportunity to see what kinds of new things they had done with this version. And the truth of it is, not a whole lot. Much of it remains the same game, but considering how enjoyable it was, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And what few additions there were are interesting, if nothing else.

The biggest major change is that in addition to having four players on screen simultaneously being controlled by four separate Wii remotes, you can have a fifth person using the tablet controller. While they don’t get a character all to themselves, they can oversee the action on the tablet screen and stun enemies just by tapping on them, similar to what the second player could do in the Super Mario Galaxy games. Also, if you see one of the players about to fall to their death, another tap on the screen can create a platform for them to land on and lead them to safety. That said, misplaced platforms can often hinder just as much as help. If you place one right above where one of the other players is going to jump, for example, you will likely earn as much contention as the Toad who keeps kicking turtle shells into everybody.

The other new thing I noticed was the addition of a new power-up. I’m not sure what the official name for it is, but basically it turns you into a flying squirrel. It works somewhat similarly to the raccoon suit from prior games, except you don’t outright fly with it so much as as you do glide around and slow your descent. It’s a nice addition to the already diverse line-up of power-ups currently in the Mario universe, though I’m hoping there will be some additional ones in the final game. You’ll also find Yoshi’s in the game as before, though there were some baby Yoshi’s I found that when used to swallow opponents, will puff up like a balloon and allow you to float over the stage.

One thing I would like to point out is how fantastic Mario looks in HD. You wouldn’t think that a non-realistic universe like Mario would ever benefit from the jump to high definition, but then, you’d never know what you were missing until you’ve seen it. I know most people don’t play these games for the visuals, but it’s hard not to be awestruck at what other consoles have been enjoying for years. If nothing else, I can’t wait to see how Link will look in 1080p someday! New Super Mario Bros. U doesn’t have a firm release date, but should release alongside the WiiU console.



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