New Super Mario Bros. U brought back the classic side-scrolling Mario games that felt like they were becoming a relic of the past due to the rise of the 3D platformer genre. Every level, out of the several that you can play in eight different worlds, was meticulously crafted for both newcomers and the veterans with the option to speed run them. There were multiple playable characters, and local multiplayer was fully supported.
Fast forward to 2019 and this game is now ported to the Nintendo Switch with a Deluxe moniker added on top of it. The question that springs to mind here is if you have already played this game, is there any new content or incentive to buy it again? So this review should help you get a better idea of this product and how it is possibly worth it even if you have already played it on the Nintendo Wii U.
First, let’s talk about the improvements to the Nintendo Switch version. The frame rate is the same so there is no noticeable difference between the controller input response time. The distinction in visuals is also not that drastic. You are just getting crisper graphics due to the bump in resolution but let’s just write it down as a minor difference. So what exactly makes this one good enough to buy it again. If you have kids and they love Mario, I think they will love this port even if they have already played it, because Toadette makes for an excellent new character.
Toadette is the new addition to the character roster joining the ranks of Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Nabbit. She is not just a palette swap but plays completely different with the ability to wear a super crown. Whenever Toadette can wear this super crown, she transforms into Peachette, which feels like its own character. Peachette can glide over long distance so most of the challenging platforming segments can become easier if you play with her. She doesn’t get the same invincibility as Nabbit so there is a trade-off here.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has plenty of levels to offer, and while they are easily completed in a few minutes, the fun is in trying to find the secrets that are hidden in every level. They are the secret coins, hidden Luigi or secret exits that you have to find on your own. Getting to complete every level with 100 percent completion feels incredibly satisfying. Additional gameplay modes are available to play aside from the campaign including Challenges, Boost Rush, and Coin Battle with the ability to use a Mii character.
The level design is impeccable with some nicely animated backgrounds. The character models don’t look that great now, but the environment and levels stand out and look great. It still feels and plays like a modern game. I don’t think you will find the levels challenging unless you attempt 100 percent completion for them by locating all the secret coins. Some of these need tricky platforming moves and almost look impossible until you figure them out. Others are in hidden places or in shortcuts found for every level.
In total, the main campaign offers eight worlds that all have multiple boss fights. They do repeat sometimes, but you get a different level variety for them. You can also play through the New Super Luigi U expansion which is available from the beginning this time. It features the same world map with redesigned levels, so they feel different enough. The most important change made for this expansion is the tweaked physics, which improves the pacing and makes it feel faster to control Luigi. There are even more secrets to unlock by attempting to complete it which I will keep as a surprise in this review.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has support for four player co-op and it works well except for one major issue. Because of a minor change in how you can select the different Toad variants, they now count as the same character, therefore, leaving the last player with an easy one to pick from Nabbit or Toadette. If you are playing with kids who don’t want an extra challenge, I honestly don’t see any issue with this execution. But then again, this was already different for the Wii U version so changing it here makes no sense. It is best to give players the options to play the characters that they see fit for co-op.
There are no visible flaws for this port going from the Wii U to the Nintendo Switch, unlike Captain Toad. The lack of new content is disappointing but Toadette itself is a great playable character with a fun mechanic keeping the gameplay fresh. The pricing is a bit too steep here since this is a full priced game release. Leaving this aside, this is easily one of the best co-op side-scrolling platformers that Nintendo released in the last decade. It offers some clever level design, fun collectibles, amazing replay value and tops it off with an addictive multiplayer mode. Overall, this gets my recommendation as a solid addition to the Nintendo Switch library.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Join Mario, Luigi, and pals for single-player or multiplayer fun anytime, anywhere! Take on two family-friendly, side-scrolling adventures with up to three friends* as you try to save the Mushroom Kingdom. Includes the New Super Mario Bros. U and harder, faster New Super Luigi U games—both of which include Nabbit and Toadette as playable characters!
Final Score - 8.5/108.5/10
While not offering enough fresh content, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is still an excellent co-op platformer. The new playable character, Toadette, is an exciting concept that is best suited for kids. Every level offers secret coins and with eight different worlds and addition of the Luigi expansion, it is a content-rich game with excellent replay value.