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Is New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe…New Enough?

Out With the Old, and In With the New-Old

World 3 – Sparkling Waters

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe represents the latest in a line of games released for the Nintendo Switch which takes advantage of Nintendo nostalgia…Nintenstalgia? I don’t know, might need to work on that one. Anyway, it is no secret that Nintendo successfully uses nostalgia coupled with exceptional first-party game design to sell games to the masses, sometimes in multiple iterations. Think about Super Mario World for the SNES for example. Apart from the initial release on the SNES itself, gamers eventually had the ability to play (and purchase of course) the game in the collection of Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World, on the Game Boy Advance with Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2, on the virtual consoles for both the Wii and Wii U and most recently as part of the Super NES Classic Edition console a couple years ago. I would not be the slightest bit surprised that there are gamers out there who took advantage of all of these releases to some extent.

Now clearly this is not the only example of this practice for Nintendo, nor is Nintendo the only company that believes in capitalizing on this sense of nostalgia. I will admit to owning way too many different versions and releases of many different Final Fantasy games for example, and admittedly am equally excited about the forthcoming releases of some of those on the Switch in 2019! Speaking of the Switch, Nintendo’s latest console seems to be the re-release potential mecca so far both due to its relevance as the newest console as well as its portability. Mario Kart 8 and Captain Toad have already made the leap from Wii U to Switch, so let’s look at how well New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has handled the transition, shall we?

So What Makes New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe New?

Hooray for fireworks!

Now, nostalgia aside, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has included some nice additions and quality of life improvements in order to help foster the desire to play the game again. For one, thanks to the updated hardware of the Switch, the game sports a higher resolution in either TV or handheld modes when compared to the Wii U version. While not a significant game-changer, it was also neat to see the little graphical adjustments here and there. This gave the feeling of a release that was thoughtfully completed rather than simply a quick port for more money. Additionally, the convenience of the controller options for the Switch made for a more enjoyable multiplayer experience due to how seamless the switch from single-player handheld mode to popping off the Joy-Cons to toss in a second player is.

Easier or Easiest? Both are fun

The character choices have also been updated a bit in this latest release. Of course, the titular Mario Bros. are playable characters, along with either a yellow or blue Toad. New character options include Nabbit and Toadette. Nabbit was technically in the original New Super Mario Bros. U, but was not playable until the release of the Luigi DLC. However, in the Deluxe release, Nabbit is a playable character in both versions. Nabbit is labeled as “easiest” character in the character select team, seemingly targeting either younger players of perhaps just Mario amateurs. What sets Nabbit apart from more traditional characters include his inability to be harmed by enemies, more stable running controls and being immune from collecting power-ups other than super stars and 1-Ups. While players may be disappointed to not get any of the fancy power-ups available in the game, come on…you can’t be hurt by enemies! That is pretty great for a new player.

Peachette

The second new character choice, Toadette, may seem like a female reskin of Toad at first glance, but why is she labeled as “easier” in the character select screen? Well, for one, whenever Toadette finds a block that would normally contain a 1-Up mushroom, a moon worth three lives pops out instead. When first trying this character out, I was pumped to find a 3-Up moon because I thought I had found a new secret…until it happened several more times and made things seem a bit less monumental. Like Nabbit, Toadette also tends to be easier to control than the traditional character choices. However, the biggest change for Toadette that makes her easier and more fun to play in certain regards is the Toadette-specific power-up of the Super Crown. Upon collecting said Super Crown, Toadette is transformed into Peachette, a Peach-lookalike who can double jump and float in the air. When playing as Toadette, Peachette’s in-air abilities are certainly effective at avoiding unfortunate falls or poorly timed jumps on enemies.

And sorry internet memes, the Super Crown is again a Toadette-exclusive item…no Bowsettes for you!

Game Modes

  • Story Mode
    • Nothing surprising here, but again, that isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Eight worlds, Bowser and his hoodlums, princess saving, secrets abound, etc.
    • Thanks to the inclusion of New Super Luigi U, there is a second story mode featuring new/adapted levels for extra challenges based on the fluttery, slippery nature of Luigi’s movements.
  • Challenges Mode
    • Time Attacks – Ricky Bobby mode…”I wanna go fast!”
    • Coin Collection – I mean…it is right there in the name…
    • 1-Up Rally – A collection of challenges in which the player tries to collect 1-Ups in various ways without touching the ground
    • Special – A collection of other random challenges to keep you on your Mushroom Kingdom toes

  • Boost Rush
    • Similar to time attacks, but the more coins that are collected the faster the scrolling speed of the level

  • Coin Battle
    • The only multiplayer-only mode for the game. Essentially, the goal is to get more coins than your opponents.

Conclusion

As fun as Super Mario Odyssey is on the Switch, it is hard to beat a classic side-scrolling entry in the Mario Bros. universe. As a game that was essentially released more than six years ago, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has aged quite well. Perhaps this is simply my perception as I never played the New Super Luigi U DLC when it was first released, leading me to have more new experiences to enjoy when compared to someone who had played that DLC before. However, I don’t think this is completely the reason why I am enjoying revisiting this classic. The new character mechanics are enjoyable distractions from the often challenging, twitchy, awesome-great-run-and-jump-fun-times of Mario. Additionally, the friendship challenging, rage inducing, anxiety triggering multiplayer experience of trying to cope with up to four players on the same screen at the same time remains, for better or for worse. All-in-all, New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe is an excellent start of 2019 for Nintendo Switch owners in my humble opinion, though your mileage may vary depending on how much you were sucked into the Wii U edition in the past.