Community Review: New Super Mario Bros. U

New Super Mario Bros. U is dropping a little late to the Community Review party, mostly because we had an absolute flurry of top notch titles release at once and we can only do one of these a week! Now that you’ve had a decent amount of time to live with New Super Mario Bros. U — what are your thoughts?

I have plenty.

First of which — the visuals. When I first played New Super Mario Bros. U I was actually properly excited by the visuals. It seems strange in hindsight, but playing Mario in HD seemed like such a big deal. Having been used to the sub-HD res of New Super Mario Bros Wii, playing the Wii U felt almost like playing games in HD for the first time. It made a difference. A big difference.

But like all these things — HD, 3D — this effect tends to fade with time. Now I take the HD for granted, and I’m left with the game itself. A game which, the more I play, becomes increasingly disappointing.

I first felt the Mario fatigue in New Super Mario Bros. 2. The level design, the vibe, the physics. Nothing much had changed with that game and the same rings true for New Super Mario Bros. U. Feeling like you can play Mario on auto pilot is not a good thing — we’re talking about a series that used to reinvent itself with every major release. I had held out a little hope that New Super Mario Bros. U would be the Mario Galaxy of 2D Mario — a blisteringly inventive video game that transformed itself with each passing level. That was my hope. That hope was dashed.

There was also a ‘sub-hope’. If New Super Mario Bros. U was not to be a stark reinvention, maybe at the very least it could be a little more like Super Mario World — not just in aesthetic terms, but in the pace of the game, the slightly tweaked physics, the schizophrenic alternate routes. That hope was only partially dashed.

At no point does New Super Mario Bros. U feel like Super Mario World, but it sometime looks like it.The alternate routes don’t quite have that ‘wow’ feeling. That feeling of finding a completely new route. The design is far more conservative, but it still has a burst of that energy, that colour. This is the aspect of New Super Mario Bros. U I’m enjoying most.

But what are your thoughts? How are you finding the game? Let us know in the comments below.

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