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New Super Mario Bros. "U" Are Not Unique

By aquizero on Jul 09 2012 09:40 AM
Mario is coming to us in HD (High-Definition) this holiday season in New Super Mario Bros U, for Nintendo Wii U. This will be a launch title and will be available for purchase as soon as the new Nintendo console debuts. This game was originally titled "New Super Mario Bros Mii," which was revealed during E3, 2011.

E3: the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry.

This brand-new game will feature the same plot of all New Super Mario Bros. titles. Peach has been kidnapped and you must defeat Bowser. This is a story that never gets old, or does it? During an interview between the global president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata and game developer, Takashi Tezuka, the question of over-similarity between 2D, side-scrolling Mario games was addressed. They explained that they “can’t” change too much as many of these familiar elements are fundamental to Mario.

If you were to watch gameplay footage of both New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U side-by-side, you would see my dilemma. Visually, the games look the same. The Wii U game is HD; there's not much else that sets them apart. An average gamer could even go as far as to confuse the two. The soundtrack also doesn't seem very unique on Wii U. Nintendo has been remixing the classic tracks for years, and intends to do the same going forward.

One of the new additions to New Super Mario Bros. U is the inclusion of baby Yoshi with unique powers. Based on the gameplay videos, I was able to see three different powers. Baby Yoshi can either expand and become lighter than air, glow or spit bubbles. These brand-new mechanics seem as if they should appease my need for something “different” within these games, but they do not. Upon further research, I found that the balloon and glow powers were borrowed from Super Mario Galaxy 2. Those who have not played the game, Yoshi can eat a Blimp Fruit or Bulb Berry to gain the powers of flight and light. Even the cooperative multiplayer mode borrows elements from Super Mario Galaxy by allowing you to temporarily freeze enemies by touching them on the Wii U GamePad. This was a unique two-player only option of the original Super Mario Galaxy. This may not be a huge deal in the grand scheme of things; New Super Mario Bros. games are so similar, I did not expect “borrowed” mechanics. Give me something new!

Yes, New Super Mario Bros U does have some original concepts. Flying Squirrel Mario is a brand-new power-up that allows Mario to gently float around the skies. You can also play with 5 people during cooperative multiplayer mode, allowing a friend to help create platforms and more. Last, but not least, is the inclusion of Miis. Now, you shouldn't have any issue remembering which character you are while in the mix of the havoc that multiplayer mode creates.

I do think that this game has promise and will be a game I pick up relatively quick, if not exactly on launch. My concern is that this title has yet to show me how it stands out compared to the other titles in this series. As more time passes, more features could be revealed so I am hopeful for such news.

Are you concerned about the similarities, or do you like that this game follows suit with the previous installments?


About the Author

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Benjamin is a true gaymer. For nearly a decade, his interest in Nintendo has grown exponentially! He's not extremely skilled at any particular genre of games, but mostly enjoys RPG, strategy, and fighting games. His true obsession within the Nintendo universe is Pokémon, followed closely by Zelda. Ever since he watched the first episode of Pokémon, he's been hooked. To this day, he plays the main-series Pokémon games and watches the anime religiously. He's as close as it comes to being a Pokémon Master. His true passion for Nintendo makes him excited to write new topics for you!

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Comments: 28

I love that they are trying to stay within the same gaming experience but not that they havent come up with too much changes to enhance the difference from the previous games.. Id totally buy it, im a sucker for good co-op games lol
Yes I am certain that to certain people, like yourself, this seems like they have changed just the right amount of things. On the other hand for someone like myself I do not think they have. Especially when multi-players will have to use the standard Wii Remote. It will feel just like the Wii game.
Well thats when the whole "sharing is caring" bit comes into play! Everyone can take a turn at having the game pad.. but i do understand your point of view though but if they changed too too much then they might lose their good name? I aint complaining lol
Though I still think that this game is not "U"nique enough I must say that the YouTube video from IGN @ Comic-Con 2012 really makes me put "some" of my previous doubts away. It does seem really fun.

I'm not concerned about the similarities. Nintendo have been developing Mario titles for years now and they've been selling like there's no tomorrow. To drastically change the plot or gameplay in a Mario title would taint the beloved series. Who really plays a Mario title for the storyline anymore?

As far as the gameplay is concerned, I'm afraid the only aspect that will change over time is the consumer experience, which will be driven by new technology and in-game features such as enemies and power-ups. I recently purchased New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS and initially felt the way you did. The original version for the Nintendo DS, New Super Mario Bros., is almost exactly the same, with the exception of the 3D visuals and new perks.

As long as the new Mario titles have intuitive level design, that's really all I care about at this point. As far as multiplayer mode goes, I could care less.
I guess the fact is, if it works and is profitable, Nintendo will keep doing what they are doing. It a little sad to me though.

View Postaquizero, on 30 July 2012 - 06:42 AM, said:

I guess the fact is, if it works and is profitable, Nintendo will keep doing what they are doing. It a little sad to me though.

What do you find sad about it? Are you wanting to see an entirely new franchise, or more differences in titles for popular franchises?

View PostKevin, on 30 July 2012 - 06:46 AM, said:

What do you find sad about it? Are you wanting to see an entirely new franchise, or more differences in titles for popular franchises?

I want more differences. These small changes are just not enough for me. The music and art styles are basically identical already and then they want to keep the story the same too. You add all of that to very similar gameplay and I do not feel anything is new about these titles. New power-ups and somewhat unique levels is just not enough in my opinion.

I guess if the Wii U version had a different art direction that took advantage of the HD I may have felt better about it.
well they did branch out a little like paper mario and dont forget all the sports games but i do see what you mean.. omg if they made another ecco game (i know not nintendo but they sell it on the wii) that would be awesome.. omg and yoshi's story... *drool*
But yea if they did kinda like how pokemon did and do different stuff with it (hand held, non hand held games, pkmn ranger games, pokemon rumble blast, and the new pokemon conquest) and just kinda put their necks out that'd be ok.. but like i said im happy with thier stuff.. i mean they cant give us all the best new stuff all at once or right away i mean they wanna keep these games as popular as possible for as long as possible... ok now im rambling..
Yes I know that Mario is branched out into a lot of side franchises like sports and paper mario etc but I am focusing on this New Super Mario Bros series of traditional side scrolling action. I would like to see a new art direction. I think that alone would make me extremely interested in the series. I am content with it but it does not make me very excited like I think I should feel for a brand new HD console release.
I'll tell you one simple concept that would change the current perception of a "Mario" title; online multiplayer capability.

When Nintendo can get their heads out of their butts and solidify that idea, they'll be golden. Currently, Nintendo is all about family fun. Sure, it's great to be able to experience titles while simultaneously playing with members of the household. The fact of the matter is that we want to play with our friends; not our old, outdated parents. Give us the damn online multiplayer prowess for titles like New Super Mario Bros. U, and future classics, and we'll be happy. If we're happy, Nintendo, you'll win more hearts. No pun intended, of course.
I had the chance to play New Super Mario Bros. U at the Wii U Experience in Atlanta, GA. I could not stand it because it felt just like New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. I even tried playing it with the Wii U gamepad and it was even worse. All the gamepad lets you do is tap the enemies on the screen, you can't control any of the characters with it. While it is nice to have a new Mario game, I feel like this one was a little forced and a lot recycled.

So I'm not bashing the game the whole time, I would like to say that it looked amazing in HD.

View PostDarthArk, on 07 August 2012 - 11:56 AM, said:

I had the chance to play New Super Mario Bros. U at the Wii U Experience in Atlanta, GA. I could not stand it because it felt just like New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. I even tried playing it with the Wii U gamepad and it was even worse. All the gamepad lets you do is tap the enemies on the screen, you can't control any of the characters with it. While it is nice to have a new Mario game, I feel like this one was a little forced and a lot recycled.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!

This is my point exactly!

View PostDarthArk, on 07 August 2012 - 11:56 AM, said:

All the gamepad lets you do is tap the enemies on the screen, you can't control any of the characters with it.

Wow, how useless. This, to me, could initially be a deal-breaker. If the GamePad is only used in that game for simultaneous gameplay, with another person in the same house, then I'm going to say that's just downright ridiculous.

View PostDarthArk, on 07 August 2012 - 11:56 AM, said:

So I'm not bashing the game the whole time, I would like to say that it looked amazing in HD.

To me, looks mean nothing. We've been playing video games now for oh...25 years and more with no HD. I'm not impressed one bit.

Thanks for sharing your experience, DarthArk.
I wanted to revisit this post. As I was playing NSMBU yesterday evening with another player I realized the charm of the gamepad. In this case I was playing as Mario using a Wii remote and the other player was using the gamepad.

Originally, the use of the gamepad seemed ok at best. Sure you could create platforms and paralyze or manipulate some enemies but it just was not "that" appealing. Well, yesterday I found out how wrong I was. Nintendo put more into the gamepad options than I realized. Besides what was mentioned earlier you are also able to: place platforms to block enemy movement, change the direction of un-dying enemies such as the spike balls, reveal hidden moon blocks that give 3-ups, build up a star meter to kill enemies (based on platform placements and uses), dissipate magic cast by bosses, pause moving platforms in place and create a flashlight effect in dark levels! All of these features make the second player very valuable, especially when seeking all of the Star Coins.

Realizing all that the gamepad is capable of makes me very happy. I now finally find multi-player to be enjoyable and not just utter chaos with Luigi and the Toads present. This added feature alone makes NSMBU very U-nique!
Wait til you have 5 people playing at once, Mario, Luigi, 2 toads and a gamepad user...CHAOS!

View PostSpareChnge, on 05 March 2013 - 10:46 AM, said:

Wait til you have 5 people playing at once, Mario, Luigi, 2 toads and a gamepad user...CHAOS!

I have had three people playing together. I was Mario and the others were Toads. That was chaos enough, I can only imagine more. One thing I will say that I am glad they included in this game is the shock wave. If all of the playable characters (Mario, Luigi and Toads) slam on the ground at the same time it creates a shock wave that affects the room and enemies. NSMBU finally gives us a "true" benefit for playing with others. The advantage of jumping off of each others heads is minuscule since it often becomes a hindrance.

View Postaquizero, on 06 March 2013 - 08:12 AM, said:

I have had three people playing together. I was Mario and the others were Toads. That was chaos enough, I can only imagine more. One thing I will say that I am glad they included in this game is the shock wave. If all of the playable characters (Mario, Luigi and Toads) slam on the ground at the same time it creates a shock wave that affects the room and enemies. NSMBU finally gives us a "true" benefit for playing with others. The advantage of jumping off of each others heads is minuscule since it often becomes a hindrance.

You know that feature is on NSMBWii?
The Synchro Ground Pound isn't that new, really. It was first shown in the Wii game, though most players probably would have missed it altogether as it's only mentioned in the quick start guide/instruction manual.

View PostSpareChnge, on 06 March 2013 - 08:18 AM, said:

You know that feature is on NSMBWii?

View PostLuffyFoxtrot, on 06 March 2013 - 08:22 AM, said:

The Synchro Ground Pound isn't that new, really. It was first shown in the Wii game, though most players probably would have missed it altogether as it's only mentioned in the quick start guide/instruction manual.

Well I feel a little foolish now. :( Thank you for the information. The only reason I knew of it in NSMBU was because of the opening sequence. It shows the 4 players jumping down at the same time creating a vivid shock wave. All this time I thought it was unique to this game. Oh well.

Side note: Do you like jumping off each others heads while playing? Would you have wanted that to be an option that could be turned on or off?
Personally, not so much. It gets in the way most of the time, especially since I'm more likely to footstool jump my sister into the lava completely by accident. I like the griefing options in Rayman Origins better. Making it optional would be much better.

View PostLuffyFoxtrot, on 06 March 2013 - 08:36 AM, said:

Personally, not so much. It gets in the way most of the time, especially since I'm more likely to footstool jump my sister into the lava completely by accident. I like the griefing options in Rayman Origins better. Making it optional would be much better.

I agree 100%. I am surprised they have not realized that the game actually is less fun when you keep killing each other just because you are in the way. Of course when I see the official YouTube channel I am surprised how well the players can use that mechanic to their advantage. So, it just means that for some it works and other it does not. I think having the option to turn that mechanic on or off would have made this multiplayer much more fun.
Those super play videos would have taken a lot of trail and error practice with four players, even for the guys who actually made the game. The mechanic can essentially work for anyone, but only after sinking in a whole multitude of hours. Something that I'm not likely to do.
well if the foot stomp on someones head makes them go towards a cliff or lava, if you hit, the "B" button i think, they form a bubble and will lift into the air. but sometimes you can't get to the button quick enough.

View PostLuffyFoxtrot, on 06 March 2013 - 09:12 AM, said:

Those super play videos would have taken a lot of trail and error practice with four players, even for the guys who actually made the game. The mechanic can essentially work for anyone, but only after sinking in a whole multitude of hours. Something that I'm not likely to do.

I know right? That is what I am saying. That kind of perfection takes a lot of time to achieve. The normal player does not sink that much time into multiplayer. I am thinking that I will post this "complaint" on the NSMBU Miiverse community. Maybe that way the developers will hear that there are some complaints.

View PostSpareChnge, on 06 March 2013 - 10:21 AM, said:

well if the foot stomp on someones head makes them go towards a cliff or lava, if you hit, the "B" button i think, they form a bubble and will lift into the air. but sometimes you can't get to the button quick enough.

Yes the bubble yourself option is always there but it also can be a hindrance. If you and your other players bubble yourself at the same time it is game over. Also, when in a bubble you can be popped by someone else and essentially get in their way just like you can when you head stomp. My main gripe is that the multiplayer (not including the gamepad) is more bothersome than it is fun.