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New Super Luigi U review

Luigi is the braver brother. Mario’s always prepared to crack a few heads in the pursuit of a kidnapped friend, but whenever some actual work needs to get done or the stakes are a little bit higher he just isn’t up to the task.

Who was it who braved some of history’s lamest edutainment to rescue his fallen brother in Mario is Missing? In Paper Mario, while the star of the show was off laughing it up with star spirits and a skanky boo, who stayed at home to do all the actual work of keeping the house clean, checking the mail and basically playing the house-husband like a boss? Who routinely battles terrifying ghosts for no real reason other than that it needs to get done and no other plumber has the gourds to raise a finger? And finally who do you unlock at the end of basically every single-player Mario game when the only tasks left to accomplish are super-hard challenge worlds or death-defying star coin hunts?

Luigi, that’s who. And so it’s fitting that our man in green is the star of what is essentially New Super Mario Bros U’s second quest: an unbalanced, slightly frustrating but ultimately very fun piece of DLC in the form of New Super Luigi U.

luigi

Something old, something new …

A lot remains unchanged since the last time you visited Wii U’s version of the New Mushroom Kingdom. The map is identical, Miiverse works the same, all the boss fights and toad houses are the same and the story — such as it is — plays out as ever. The gameplay’s been shaken up significantly though as Luigi’s trademark flutter jump and slippery shoes have been reinstated, meaning you can jump farther and higher than before but can’t stop as quickly once you’ve built up a head of steam. A sense of frantic imperative has been instilled throughout the game to, as every level begins with that panic-inducing ‘100 seconds to go’ noise followed by a noticeably quicker version of the background music and the big white numbers tracking the ever-shortening distance to your doom.

Every single stage on the map has been remixed or replaced; redesigned to take advantage of Luigi’s specific style and the arbitrarily quicker pace of gameplay. The new levels are all fun and often inspired, but with few exceptions they’re also very short. Most are straight-up cannonball runs that have Luigi sprint from the leftmost section straight through a series of obstacles to reach the goal in record time. Even during the more interesting levels — like a vertical platformer with the threat of a rising poison swamp below you — it’s hard not to think “Oh there’s the finish. I really wish this course had lasted longer than half a minute”.

That said, playing through each course is a lot of fun and feels different enough from the vanilla game to be refreshing. The designs have a much higher emphasis on quick jump adjustments and managing multiple hazards at once. Star coins are back and this time the designers aren’t fooling around. Getting all three is tough on a lot of the stages, especially since you don’t really have the time to go back or stop. There’s also an amazing Luigi-themed easter egg in every single level, be it a watercolour painting of the man himself by a secret exit, a pixel-art Luigi in a hidden alcove or a suspiciously shaped stone-eye statue with a big nose and mustache. You don’t unlock anything for finding all the easter eggs, they just add a ton dorky and self-aware fun, which is exactly what Luigi himself excels at.

NewSuperLuigiU_0008

The remainder of the gameplay mirrors what you’d find in New Super Mario Bros. U, although the penguin and propeller suits show up a little more often this time, which is nice.

Something broken …

The most disappointing thing about New Super Luigi U is that although all the additions bring a new twist to an already brilliant game design, a lot of them are at odds with each other. The increased emphasis on precise jumps and good timing are offset somewhat by Luigi’s complete lack of traction, meanwhile the tight time limit discourages players from taking the time to poke around the new levels and hunt for easter eggs or star coins. A lot of the more challenging levels feel like they’ve been designed for expert players to run through as Mario, and Luigi just jumps a little too high or slides off the side of tiny platforms.

The first time I decided I’d actually stop focusing on finishing the level and go off in search of the Luigi easter egg I died from time running out twice in a row before finding it. I have no issue with speed runs, time limits or difficult platforming, but to work really well it needs to feel as if all the gameplay aspects are serving a central vision for how the game will flow, and in this case the different ideas kind of jank together.

I can’t think of a rhyme for ‘blue’ that lets you know I’m going to talk about multiplayer now

Speaking of jank, multiplayer returns in New Luigi U. I was kind of hoping this would be a strictly solo mission for Luigi, but it appears you can’t keep good toads down, and this time they have Nabbit in tow! Nabbit adds a unique edge to the gameplay that was clearly designed for players who’s skill level doesn’t gel very well with the increased difficulty Luigi’s so used to. The rabbit thief can’t be harmed by anything except insta-death pits, lava and poison swamp. This means he can ignore most of the dozens of hazards on screen at any given time and focus on the platforming.

WiiU_LuigiU_scrn08_E3

Multiplayer feels a little more out of place in this game than the standard game, since you really can’t screw around with bonking each other’s heads, picking each other up or batting at bubbles. With a few skilled friends though it could provide its own special brand of masochistic challenge.

Conclusion

New Super Luigi U is like the strange parallel world version of New Super Mario Bros U, in which the exact same kidnap plot goes down in the exact same world but this time it’s Luigi who steps up to deal with the situation. Just like Luigi’s the clumsy, frantic, hardcore counterpoint to Mario’s stoic heroism, the new levels are strange, strung-out versions of their former selves with more fire, more bullet bills, more speed and less room for error. They’re a blast to play through, even if they are sometimes a little out off step with the other gameplay tweaks.

Pros

+ It’s more smile-on-your-face Mushroom Kingdom platforming
+ Levels range from just good to thrilling
+ Some decent challenge for experienced Mario players
+ Mostly a fitting celebration of a much-loved character
+ Luigi feels floaty and Luigi-ish

Cons

– Levels are really short and don’t suit Luigi’s play style as much as they could
– Tight time limits take away more from the experience than they add

Score: 8/10

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  • Jon

    I like the short time, gives a good challenge :)

    really fun and better with Multiplayer :D

  • Zombie Boy

    To buy or not to buy (and wait for Super Mario 3D World instead)?

    • manowaffles

      ARE YOU ASKING FOR A CHALLENGE!!!
      If yes, then get Lugi U.
      http://www.homestarrunner.com/underconstruction.html

      • John Raybell

        ? SM3d world isnt even out, could be a very challenging game.

        GET BOTH!

        • manowaffles

          I played the Demo at my local Best Buy E3 event. It’s fun, and may have some challenging parts, but isn’t going to be geared towards extreme challenges like Luigi U.

          Between the two, I’m sure that SM3DW will be a more relaxed experience. But yes, get both, and you will not be disappointed. (That is if you are up for the challenge of Luigi U.)

    • Fred

      Both if you can (Luigi is only $20) and Mario 3D World if you can’t do both.

    • barwiifan

      I say get this game. I’ve had a good time playing it. Especially if you’re an expert platformer.

  • Leon Tizzano

    The only problem I have with Super Luigi U is it will cost me $60 to buy in Australia :(

    • Martijn Plasmans

      Not true. SOurce?

      • Leon Tizzano

        EB games.

        • Martijn Plasmans

          And in the eshop?

          • Martijn Plasmans

            Use Google shopping around the date it comes out, you can find it cheaper.

          • Leon Tizzano

            It’s $30 on the E-shop.

  • Mario

    I like this DLC. It would give me a new level of difficulty that I haven’t gotten now. I can’t wait to buy it!

  • Martijn Plasmans

    I am enjoying this more than New Super Mario Bros U.

    • http://waluigi.com/ Waluigi

      Wait for New Super Waluigi Bros U

      • Nolan ArchLord

        A new Wario Bros. centered platformer would be awesome.

        • Martijn Plasmans

          In the style of Wario Land would be great.
          Wario Land 1 & 2, where great!

  • iceazeama

    couple of my posts on miiverse. sorry mario…… hose over bros!!!!!! this time i get the princess.
    another one was……. hey mario, the first thing im going to do is sniff peaches hair.

    thats the fun thing about miiverse is to be clever with what you say so they dont get taking down.

    • John Raybell

      uuuuuuuum alrighty?

  • val berger

    I just hate timelimits. I would have preferred a moving screen or something that’s coming from behind like in Rayman Legends) over a time limit. I just hate that timepressure

    • John Raybell

      And a moving screen isn’t pressure, in the end are those two any different? think about it.

      I hate things like this because I want more to be an adventure platformer first, not a freaking race to the end type of crap, i have never been a speed runner, i like to take my time, find the secrets explore the worlds that were made for me to do just that.
      Take the time away, and just make it harder :)

      • val berger

        I thought about it and that’s why I wrote it that way. I just don’t like time limits. Just meant that if they have to put me under pressure, I’d prefer a moving screen or something coming after me than a plain old countdown. But in general I agree that no limit at all would be better.

        But I also agree that such a pressure-tool encourages users to kinda rush through a level in a way they wouldn’t if they had enough time which can also change the whole gameplay. for example in mario bros, when you really ran through a level, you could gain a certain gameplay-flow you’d never experienced if you had no reason to do so. And the Rayman Legends Challenges demonstrated how crazy this concept can evolve if you really start creating races against other people out of that.

  • Justis Bistawros

    8/10 that’s great

  • Magnus Eriksson

    My review:

    5/10

    • GQWYSN

      That’s actually not a review, it’s a rating. Reviews aren’t about the scores and never should be. An 8/10 for one game can mean something totally different than 8/10 for another game.

      • Magnus Eriksson

        My review:

        mediocre, repeated stuff

        5/10

      • Silent

        Just dont reply to him. He hasnt even played it.

  • everyone

    I enjoy it very much. It gives the cool platforming challenges the vetetan Mario players crave. Only thing I wish was that there was character select to play Luigi in the normal levels. That is though a preference nothing that detracts from this excellent addition.

  • https://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices Bob Wilkerson

    Having completed SMB U this is like adding a “Hard Mode” I think I still prefer the original as I am not a huge fan of rushing through a level usually.

  • barwiifan

    I actually am having a good time playing this game. I think it should be scored higher than an 8/10.

    • DemonRoach

      Why? It shouldn’t even be rated at all since its just NSMBU with a diff character.

      • Mochlum

        …do you even own the game?

  • tooby77

    Leave a message…dl it right now. me and the miss is waiting to play some luigi

  • Sdudyoy

    My only problem is Nabbit, I don’t like easy games myself, I don’t like insanely difficult games either, But I think Nabbit being invincible makes things too easy.

  • bizzy gie

    NSL.U

  • adit

    The high jump is realy fun

  • DemonRoach

    Maybe I’ll pick up the digital version when its 10$ after the retail version comes out.

  • Inviable Gaming

    anyone know the aussie price of the downloadable version I cant find it and it dosent seem to be on eshop

    • http://weeklyrift.com/ Tim Biggs

      It’s not on the eshop. You buy it from within New Super Mario U. It’s just under $30 I think.

      • Inviable Gaming

        Thanks

  • Downvote&CoEmployee5

    Ohh look i’m gay :D

  • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

    Enslaved: Odyssey to the West would like a word with you. That game was nothing but a 3D platformer. Any genre of game can be done properly in 2D or 3D. Some people said a stealth 2D game is impossible, but Klei Entertainment proved them wrong with Mark of the Ninja.

    You should probably focus less on the genre of a game and more on the content.

  • John Raybell

    Mario 64,mario sunshine,mario galaxy, banjo kazooie,banjo tooie, 3d rayman games, and on and on and on, 3d worlds make GREAT platformers.

  • http://weeklyrift.com/ Tim Biggs

    You’re right. There’s probably no viable market for 2D games, platformers, retro-styled games or anything that isn’t built on cutting-edge tech. Oh wait, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

  • Jack5221

    I thought you left a long time ago, but it looks like you couldn’t resist trolling the Wii U daily website. Get a life…

  • Downvote&CoEmployee5

    Who am i you say your worst nightmare…….

  • Downvote&CoEmployee5

    We are going to have a fun time :).

  • Downvote&CoEmployee5

    TROLOLOL

  • MrMistermister

    “How come Nintendo seems to be the only one trapped in time?”

    You act like that’s a bad thing. I’m sorry for you that you were expecting a first person shooter.

  • manowaffles

    I believe that Knack may be shaping up to be a platformmer of one shape or another. Assassin’s Creed has some heavy platforming elements.

    Honestly it’s harder now to place a game into a single genre, and that is why developers are “ignoring” 3D platformmers. Not because they aren’t being made anymore, but because they include so many different elements. Few of them are deep enough to stand only as a 3D platformmer on par with the likes of Mario, so they include other elements as well, stealth being one of the most common.

  • Madmagican

    Well, in modern 3D platformers not from Nintendo there’s:
    the newer Ratchet and Clank games, Portal 1&2 (arguably), Alice: Madness Returns, the more recent Jak and Daxter games, Rise of the Triad, Psychnoauts, I could go on for awhile but I won’t bore you

  • John Raybell

    Galaxy old? that was last gen mario, ok fine this gen mario right now, mario world 3d, platformer and could be really neat.

    There are freaking tons, im to tired to think right now, in any case I was just pointing out that in no way in hell are they only for 2d worlds, and you said nothing about when games where made, could have been talking about 50 years ago, today or the future lol, so i named a bunch of 3d platformers that were great. wasnt this the whole point? don’t be a fucking dip shit

  • THCaleb

    just.. please be done. galaxy and galaxy 2 are the most entertaining platformers ever!! (millions agree)

  • Agent721

    You appear trapped on this site!!! Youre the top commenter & all you do is spend time hating. Ive said before & Ill say it again…what a sad life you must have.

  • Alex Damman

    “was sunshine a platformer?”
    have you ever played sunshine? practically every level had platforming elements heavily intergrated.

  • Matt Cameron

    Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is one of my favorite games. Beautiful setting, and just so much fun swinging through the post-apocoliptic New York jungle, as you make your way “West” on an epic adventure, with a disappointing ending, leaving you hungry for more… Sadly this very fun 3D platformer will likely never see a sequel.

  • SeroReviews

    Platformer is platformer. They’re not for “2D world”, that’s something you made up in your head. There are tons of amazing platformers out there in our days.

  • https://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices Bob Wilkerson

    I am not sure why anyone replies to him anymore. It it is not a 3d game with realistic graphics usually about killing and shooting then it is not a game to him. He thinks that Nintendo is the only one making 2D games anymore or the only one not making all their games with realistic graphics. He is a closed minded troll and nothing else so we should all close our minds to him and pretend he is not there.

  • John Raybell

    Well he is pretty fucking stupid, so yeah, comes with the territory lol