New Super Mario Bros. U

Date Completed: 1/10/2013

New Super Mario Bros U

Christmas last year was good to me.  I was given a Wii U console as well as copies of ZombiU and New Super Mario Bros U.  My boys have been very concerned about the possibility of monsters living in every conceivable place in our home lately so I decided to skip the Zombies for now and start in with New Super Mario Bros U.

It’s fairly obvious that all Nintendo did was slap some fresh paint on the ‘New Super Mario Bros’ that shipped for the Wii a few years ago.  This game plays identically.  In fact, you can use an old Wii remote to play instead of the new swanky Wii U Game Pad if you choose.  The biggest difference is that the game supports up to five players instead of four.  The fifth player player can help out by drawing blocks on the screen that can save you from falling to certain doom or help reach hard to reach places.  In practice this is pretty darn handy.  More than once my wife saved my bacon with well placed blocks.

Single player games can be played entirely on the game pad with no TV required at all.  This worked very well with no noticeable input lag.  I usually played with the game pad mirroring the TV display.  I have a three year old and a (almost) two year old and with the exception of the times when my youngest boy was sitting on my head covering my eyes with his feet I could usually see the game action somewhere.  If the next Nintendo console puts additional screens on the bottom of toddler socks I will be sold.

My older boy really enjoyed navigating the menus on the touch screen for me.  I made him my official ‘OK’ button clicker (OK being one of the words he has no trouble reading).  His favorite part was using the items out of my item tray before starting levels.  “Daddy, I want to give you what you need!”.  I always made sure to keep extra items in my item tray so he’d have something to select.

The main story mode is pretty straight forward and easy to complete.  Advanced players looking for a challenge can work towards collecting the three star coins  hidden in each stage.  Star coins are often well hidden or placed in a difficult to reach spot.  I only activated the ‘Super Guide‘ (basically an auto pilot mode) feature a few times and each of those times was when I was trying to reach an especially difficult coin.  I always felt like a failure whenever I saw the Super Guide option appear.  I wasn’t interested in using the ‘Super Guide’ and I wish there had been a way to turn it off completely.

In the map mode of the game comments from the MiiVerse appear.  After beating a level players are given the option of posting a comment to the MiiVerse.  Most comments are of the variety ‘This level is sooo hard’ or ‘I hate Bowser’ but some can be funny, helpful or very artistic.  I didn’t spend too much time in the MiiVerse but it was a nice addition.  Comments from friends (of which I have exactly one) were prioritized and I was able to follow my friend’s progress through the game by following his comment feed.

There are several shortcuts to the final stages of this game.  It only took a few hours of game play to defeat Bowser.  I’m still playing the game with my boys.  We’re working to collect all of the star coins and finish the challenge modes.  The game is fun enough and without any other Wii U games to occupy my time I’ll probably end up with 100% completion.


  • Up to 5 players.
  • Can be played with or without the TV.
  • MiiVerse integration.


  • No way to completely disable super guide.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  6 hours
System: Nintendo Wii  U
Genre: Platformer

6 thoughts on “New Super Mario Bros. U

  1. Thanks for giving your opinions! It’s interesting to read thoughts from a father’s perspective, so I went ahead and followed your blog. I also like the simple list of “Pros” and “Cons”. I should consider doing that for my own reviews on my website, I always forget how handy a simple pro-con list is.

    I actually never got around to playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii, so U will be a good choice for me whenever I get my hands on a Wii U. But the fact that they left so little unchanged concerns me quite a bit. I hope this is the last we have seen of “New Super Mario Bros.”. It’s sold so well, in its various incarnations, that Nintendo probably will buckle down even more…. but I think people have tired of the concept and look by this time. It’d be nice if they turned to something that really had graphical style, like a Yoshi’s Island look or did something unique like Paper Mario, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, or what-have-you.

    I don’t know how you can play games with a toddler on your head! 😛 Haha. All those comments cracked me up. I haven’t read your previous reviews so I don’t know if this is a trend, but keep those types of comments on the kids and what they do and how they enjoy the game or how they like to play with you in your reviews, I think it’s an interesting hook that you don’t normally hear about from reviewers!

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