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Gaming Review

New Super Luigi U review (Wii U): Breathes life into a platforming gem

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Released on Monday, Jun 24 2013

'Super Luigi Bros U' screenshot

© Nintendo

Luigi


Release Date: June 20 (eShop), July 26 (European retail)
Price: £17.99
Platforms available on: Wii U
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Platform

The year of Luigi has already delivered the excellent Luigi's Mansion 2 on the Nintendo 3DS, so it's with high hopes that we welcome New Super Luigi U, an add-on pack which transforms Wii U launch title New Super Mario Bros. U.

Giving Mario's bumbling brother Luigi a starring role, the add-on remixes the game's 80+ levels, tweaks certain platforming elements and adds a new multiplayer character, essentially breathing new life into an already excellent platformer.

Unfortunately, however, the New Super Luigi U experience doesn't get off to a great start. Instead of delivering a new take on the story and playing on Luigi's role as a comic relief, the opening sequence and world map remain exactly the same as before, only with Luigi replacing Mario.

Given the fact that the game is a more challenging version of New Super Mario Bros. U, it would have made sense for Luigi to re-tell the story incorrectly, exaggerating the danger and rearranging the levels. It would have been funnier, too.

'Super Luigi Bros U' screenshot

© Nintendo

New Super Luigi U screenshot



On the plus side, while the presentation mirrors the original, the levels are hugely different. Clearly aimed at players who have mastered everything that the main game has to offer, New Super Luigi U increases both the pace and the challenge.

Levels are much shorter than before, but they're packed with additional enemies and obstacles. Mushroom Heights, for example, is replaced by Piranha Heights, which adds countless Piranha plants and fast moving platforms.
    As somebody who has been craving a challenging Mario platformer in the mold of the NES originals, the increased challenge is most welcome, even if it comes at a small cost.
The time limit, meanwhile, is reduced to a mere 100 seconds, although this is extended during boss battles. It means that players have very little time to think about what they're going to do next, making it more about lightning fast reflexes and reaction times.

Star coins tend to appear in plain view, but reaching them requires some impressive platforming skills, a task made more difficult by the ticking clock, which is a constant thorn in your side.

'Super Luigi Bros U' screenshot

© Nintendo

New Super Luigi U screenshot



As somebody who has been craving a challenging Mario platformer in the mould of the NES originals, the increased challenge is most welcome, even if it comes at a small cost.

The increased pace and shorter levels removes some of the depth and takes away the need to explore and discover secrets, although it makes for a vastly different experience, which adds a new and exhilarating dynamic to the game.

Beyond the redesigned levels, Luigi has a couple of unique attributes that make the game easier and harder in equal measures. For starters, he can jump higher than Mario and hover ever so slightly in the air.

While this obviously makes it easier to reach higher ledges, it's the ability to hover for that split second that makes it possible to hang on and reach moving platforms. Using it as a last ditch survival technique is hugely satisfying.



Unfortunately, Luigi also takes longer to slow down when dashing. Considering the game's increased pace, it's a skill that you really have to master, and you'll find yourself having to perform lots of triple jumps, particularly in the later stages, which are as challenging and rewarding as any Mario levels in recent memory.

Again, while this may seem like a small tweak, it really transforms the experience, making the expansion pack feel unique and helping to justify the asking price. It's a shame, however, that there aren't any brand new power-ups or bosses to match the redesigned gameplay.
    It would have been nice if Nintendo had added some new challenges and mini-games, especially given the cost of the retail version, although for the cost of a premium DLC pack, the omission is much more forgivable.
It's also unfortunate that there isn't a quick restart feature, something that we feel would suit the faster paced levels. Instead, levels are restarted from the world map, which detracts from the momentum. It's a small issue, but can be frustrating later on.

Outside of the remixed levels, New Super Luigi U offers a new multiplayer character in the form of item thief Nabbit. Nabbit is immune to enemies, making the experience a little easier on rookie players, but can still lose lives by falling into pits and coming into contact with lava.

'Super Luigi Bros U' screenshot

© Nintendo

New Super Luigi U screenshot



It's not the greatest extra, and slightly at odds with the increased difficulty, but it does give lesser skilled players the chance to aid Luigi and learn the layout of the chaotic levels.

It would have also been nice if Nintendo had added some new challenges and mini-games. It makes it hard to recommend the upcoming retail version, especially given the extra cost, although for the price of a premium expansion the omission is much more forgivable.

New Super Luigi U doesn't necessarily improve on New Super Mario Bros. U, and we wouldn't recommend it for those who didn't get on with the original.

As an expansion for a Wii U launch game that might be gathering dust, however, New Super Luigi U introduces lots of wonderful levels and an increased challenge.

It also gives fans of Mario's bumbling younger brother another opportunity to gleefully celebrate the year of Luigi.

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