New Super Luigi U follows roughly the same storyline as the game it is based around. Luigi, the Toad brothers and Peach are all sitting around the castle table enjoying a freshly baked cake when Bowser and his family show up to wreck the party. Mario is nowhere in sight, so only Luigi and the Toads are picked up and thrown across the Mushroom Kingdom to the faraway land of the Acorn Plains. The trio are joined by a new playable character named Nabbit and set off running all the way back to save the princess and finish eating that cake! New Super Luigi U isn't going to win awards for its amazing storyline, and it might actually be one of the corniest the series has seen yet, but it does a good enough job of setting up the player for the journey ahead.
New Super Luigi U is all about running through difficult stages as quickly as possible. The game features some good ideas that are simply poorly executed, despite Nintendo typically being known for its innovation in the gaming industry. All of the stages are tweaked level from the original New Super Mario Bros. U that adds more enemies, more difficult jumps and smaller platforms in attempts to make the game more difficult. The level design makes the game difficult enough on its own, but a new control scheme gives Luigi his classic mechanics first introduced way back in Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES that allows Weegee to jump higher and float in the air longer than other characters in the game series. This has always made Luigi one of the more difficult characters to control since the mechanic was first implemented, but here, it is forced upon the player until the game has been completed and an option to change controls have been unlocked. Controlling Luigi can be infuriating at times and cause plenty of unnecessary deaths for players of all skill levels.
All of this would be fine, but the normal penalization for deaths in a Super Mario Bros. game still apply here. Players will be thrown back to the level select screen upon death but with no checkpoints this time around. New Super Luigi U features much shorter levels than previous Super Mario Bros. games with only 100 seconds available to complete any stage. This puts a heightened emphasis on speed running through stages, though there are still some hidden items for fans to find if they choose to seek out the rare finds. The short length of the game's levels presents yet another problem, since completing the stages 82 levels will take most players only a couple of hours to complete from the beginning of the game all the way through the ending of Superstar Road.
The presentation presented in New Super Luigi U is obviously very similar to New Super Mario Bros. U too. While the game's graphics and sound design remain about the same, there is a new character featured in the game named Nabbit. The character is obviously meant to combat the difficulty spike in the game. Nabbit is immune to nearly every enemy attack but can still be killed by falling into lava, onto spikes or off of cliffs. The character cannot use powerups, but any items collected during stages will be transferred to Nabbit's extra life total at the end of a level. In addition, there are some pretty funny easter eggs in each stage of the game that will feature some form of Luigi for the player to find in addition to the typical three Star Coins per stage.
New Super Luigi U is a fun and challenging platformer, but it can also be frustratingly difficult to play at times and is rather short. $20 is a lofty price tag for any game in today's downloadable marketplace where the same price can land you great games with nearly unlimited replay value such as Minecraft and State of Decay. New Super Luigi U offers up a fun experience that is over far too soon and doesn't offer many incentives for gamers to continue playing after completing the game, except for those who absolutely must find every hidden image of Luigi and all of the Star Coins in each level. It may be The Year of Luigi, but we won't expect another one anytime soon if this game is the best the other brother can muster for Nintendo fans. Check out New Super Luigi U if you just can't get enough Super Mario Bros. platforming today on Nintendo eShop!
New Super Luigi U is now available for digital download exclusively from Nintendo eShop for $19.99 and is scheduled to release at all major retailers for the MSRP of $29.99 on August 25, 2013. New Super Luigi U is rated E by the ESRB for Comic Mischief. For more information on the game, check out the official New Super Luigi U website.
Developer & Publisher: Nintendo
Available exclusively for Nintendo Wii U (reviewed)
Release Date: June 20, 2013 for Nintendo eShop & August 25, 2013 for Nintendo Wii U