Late To The Party: New Super Mario Bros. U


After just completing the main portion of New Super Mario Bros. U, I think I can finally say I’m caught up on all the mainline Mario platformers. If you haven’t been following my posts, it’s not like I’d never played Mario before, I always had as a kid, but I never made serious attempts at completing any of the 2D games until the last few years or so. I’ve been anticipating the point where I can finally sit back and tally them all up.

I think I like Super Mario Bros. 3 the most.

Before I get to that though, I’ll say that NSMBU is probably the best Mario sidescroller since Super Mario World, but that might be by default. In my LTTP post on NSMB2, I said the NSMB games haven’t added as much to the 2D Mario formula compared to the games from the old days and that still stands. NSMBU has some really good level design and one interesting new power-up, but that’s about it. It’s mostly another good exercise in 2D Mario platforming, and accomplishes that better than any other NSMB game (except maybe NSMBWii, I don’t konw).

It’s easy to say there’s only so much you can do with 2D platforming or the 2D Mario formula. SMB3 and World are remembered partly because at the time of their respective releases they presented leaps forward in terms of technology and presentation as well as gameplay. Mario can really only do that with 3D games today. But get this: even though I only first finished SMB3 recently, it’s still the one game I prefer to return to the most.

It’s really just about being the best balance between depth and simplicity. My favorite Mario sidescroller next to 3 is probably the original game. I like those two because their core gameplay still holds up without needing too many bells and whistles. They appear efficient compared to World and the NSMB games. I also still feel like the way 3 handles world maps adds a lot of variance to each run through the game by essentially being a game in itself. I’m actually surprised Nintendo never repeated that aspect. The world maps in the NSMB games are really just occasional alternate paths and bonus stages. 3’s world maps seem like they included more factors that could change how you progressed.

Going forward, I’m much more interested in finally trying out Super Mario 3D World. I loved 3D Land, I think because it started an interesting new direction for Mario games — one that combined aspects of the existing 2D and 3D games. The 3D Mario platformers in general feel like the cutting edge of Mario games, and I find myself thinking about where they might go on future Nintendo hardware. For 2D, I’m starting to wonder if Super Mario Maker is the logical conclusion.


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One thought on “Late To The Party: New Super Mario Bros. U

  1. Matt says:

    If you loved 3D Land, my bet is you will adore 3D World. I thought 3D Land was sort of uninspired, but 3D World was a huge blast.

    As for NSMBU, I have the unpopular opinion that it is the only other Mario sidescroller to reach the leve achieved by both SMB3 and SMW. I think it is that great.

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