When Nintendo launched the Wii U launched back in 2012, it launched with several titles, most of them ports of games from the PS3 and 360. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, Assassin’s Creed 3, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, and others. Along with all the ports, there were a few original titles in the mix, one of them was New Super Mario Bros. U, a title that sold very well at launch and is considered to be one of the best in the series. An expansion, New Super Luigi U, was added later that threw a few new twists in the formula. Eventually the two games were bundled onto one disc.
Fast-forward to today, the Wii U has long since been abandoned in favor of the extremely successful Nintendo Switch, and about 85% of the Wii U’s library has ended up being ported to the Switch in some way, shape or form, usually with enhancements that balance out the games and make them that much better. New Super Mario Bros. U is one of those aforementioned titles, now known as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, the Switch version like the Wii U NSMBU bundle, includes both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U out the gate. The enhancements to the game are small but noticeable.
Out the gate, you’ll notice there is a new playable character in the mix. This time, we get to choose to play as Toadette. The blue toad from the original game is still there, but he’s a somewhat secret character. Toadette adds some interesting elements to the mix. For instance, she can use the princess crown, an item created exclusively for the game, to transform into a character known as Peachette. This gives her the ability to float in the air for a few more seconds, and even allows her to hit the jump button to get additional hangtime. A clever throwback to Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES, where Peach was a playable character.
I am going to add though, there is no interaction with MiiVerse, which was the Wii U’s community and forum until it was deactivated back in 2017, since it no longer exists, the MiiVerse features that were present in the original game when the network was active, are not present in this version of the game. This only makes sense, considering there was no MiiVerse 2.0 in the works when the Switch launched, and it doesn’t look like it will ever be coming back in the future. The MiiVerse features were nice while they lasted though, and it would’ve been cool if Nintendo were to have made something similar for the Switch. But aside from that, the package feels very complete.
There are many references and throwbacks to previous games in the Super Mario Bros. series peppered throughout the entirety of both games, along with just enough new mechanics in both the platforming and gameplay to make the games feel fresh, things like shrinking and expanding platforms, unique Baby Yoshi abilities depending on their color, some of which you will need to get passed level segments or to access secret areas. Power ups like the Ice Flower and the Squirrel Suit, actually add some clever twists to the gameplay, and you will also need these to access certain areas and secrets in the game.
The Switch version improves the resolution a touch over the original Wii U version. Rather than being washed out on the small screen, the Switch version displays a crisp, clear image on its native 7”, 720p screen. On the big screen the image is displayed in 1080p, which makes the game look better than its Wii U counterpart, it’s small but noticeable and it does help update the game to slightly more modern standards. I had no problems playing it on my 55” 4K TV whatsoever.
All in all, I will say this, the differences in New Super Mario Bros. Deluxe in comparison to the original are minor. There are no new levels in the game, and the Toadette/Peachette combo, while a nice touch, is not a huge difference maker, also, again the MiiVerse features that were present in the original Wii U version are also gone due to MiiVerse no longer existing. Still, if you have a Switch and are wanting to give this game a look? I definitely recommend doing so, it’s still a wonderful game package, packed with secrets and some nice post game content for those who have the patience to unlock it and check it out. There is absolutely nothing fundamentally wrong with the games at all, the controls are solid, the graphics are bright and colorful, the frame rate is a locked 60 FPS and the games are still ridiculous amounts of fun.
Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: January 11, 2019 (North America) (Available On Nintendo Switch)