The Nintendo conference may not have been too surprising, but that didn’t make it any less delightful. Last year, we were teased with a prototype they were calling New Super Mario Bros. Mii, because of the feature of having players’ Mii characters running through levels alongside Mario. This year, we got to see how it has progressed over the year from a tech demo to a fully-fledged launch title.
Now titled New Super Mario Bros. U, the game follows the trends of the recently-established spinoff franchise. So, it’s a 2D side-scrolling Mario adventure, with 4-player co-op and plenty of trolling opportunities. Items, environments, enemies and music will all be highly familiar to anyone who’s played a Mario game before – which is everyone – but it feels improved.
While players will still have to argue over who is forced to play as Blue and Yellow Toads, the game introduces a few new features to make up for it. There’s a new acorn mushroom, which grants players the ability to glide with a stylish flying squirrel suit. Rideable Yoshis are still present, although it looks like they start off small, as they did in Super Mario World: players will have to carry them to find food, if they want to grow them to riding size. But while small, Yoshis can spit bubbles at enemies, and can be inflated as balloons, to help players glide. So maybe there’s a trade-off system there: grow your Yoshi for ease of transport, or keep it small and glide to areas you can’t otherwise reach.
While it isn’t apparent in the trailer, Reggie mentioned in the press conference that a fifth player, using the Gamepad, can place blocks in the levels to help (or hinder) the players controlling Mario, Luigi and the Toads. Hopefully, the Gamepad integration is deeper than just that, but we’ll see.
Strangely, the prototype’s Mii functionality was not mentioned or shown at all in this version. Whether it’s been removed entirely or they simply see it as less important remains to be seen.
New Super Mario Bros. U is a launch title, filling the Mario gap that Nintendo have apparently finally learned to fill at launch – a bitter lesson from the original Wii and 3DS launches. Watch the gameplay trailer below and get excited!