New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe isn’t the Wii U title that most Nintendo fans were waiting to get ported to the Switch. There are still several titles from the Wii U that deserve second life on the Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid platform over the solid but unremarkable New Super Bros. U but the new version does come with a little new newness for returning players, and for newcomers, an adequate, if ordinary platforming experience that supports co-op.
As the Deluxe moniker suggests New Super Mario Bros. U does come with some new features on Switch, primarily in two new playable characters, Toadette and Nabbit. The changes don’t amount to much but that doesn’t take away from the colorful, bright but relatively unchallenging platforming fun.
Toadette and Nabbit are disappointments and there’s no way around it. It was a clever idea to add new playable characters to New Super Mario Bros. U because the three existing playable heroes Mario, Luigi - and everyone’s favorite Mushroom Kingdom resident Yellow Toad - play identically to each other. Toadette and Nabbit aren’t just palette swaps and instead have their own abilities but those abilities aren’t all that enthralling.
Toadette plays slower than any of the other heroes and is the only character who can use the new Super Crown power-up. This Super Crown allows Toadette to turn into Peachette, who is Peach for all intents and purposes. Peachette gets an extra jump using Peach’s dress and can slowly float during her descent. It’s an easier way to play New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe but since the game is relatively easy anyway it almost feels like cheating. Toadette is more interesting to play in New Super Luigi Bros. U, the harder and superior remix of the original game, and is available to play from the start. Luigi Bros. U is a much more of a vertical game and therefore Peachette becomes much more viable.
Nabbit, on the other hand, is an absolute bore. Nabbit can’t take damage from any of the enemies and the only way he can die is by falling off Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe’s 164 levels. It’s a character made for super young player or anyone who may struggle with standard platformers, and for that aspect it’s welcome. For anyone else though it sucks all the challenge and fun out of the game.
There’s a lot still left to enjoy in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for its core experience. In terms of sheer content, it’s hard to beat this port. Between Super Luigi Bros U. and Super Mario Bros U. there’s about 36 hours of platforming adventure. In addition to the main story levels and collectibles there are three specific challenge modes. These challenge modes significantly ramp up the difficulty, especially since they forbid the use of newcomers Toadette or Nabbit. These challenges run the gamut from simple tasks like dodging fireballs for as long as you can or Boost Rush which puts players on a scrolling stage that increases in speed the more coins that are collected.
All the modes play perfectly in handheld or docked mode but especially the former. No level is over five minutes long and they’re wonderful to play in small chunks too. The cartoony style means there’s not much of a drop in visual quality either while playing in handheld mode. In docked or handheld the framerate is buttery smooth, even when four characters are playing together. Although since anything more than two-player multiplayer is a chaotic mess in New Super Mario Bros. (still) there’s little reason to play it in anything other than docked mode.
There are better Mario games out there than New Super Mario Bros. U. Super Mario Odyssey is far more impressive and the 2D Mario games that inspired New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe are far more satisfying to complete. There's also not a whole lot of new things to explore for anyone who did play the game in its original form on Wii U. But for newcomers or those looking for any solid platformer, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is worth the investment if you can get over the full retail price for a game that's six years old.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe releases January 10, 2019 for $59.99 on Nintendo Switch. Screen Rant was provided a Nintendo Switch copy for review.