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New Super Mario Bros U: More new

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Mario has never looked sharper than he does in New Super Mario Bros. U.

Mario has never looked sharper than he does in New Super Mario Bros. U.

A new Nintendo console wouldn't be complete without the tubby plumber. And Mario has never looked sharper than he does in New Super Mario Bros. U.

The moustachioed marvel revels in Nintendo's long overdue move into the realm of high-definition.

The game features some terrific new foes and wonderfully imaginative backdrops, including a stage inspired by Impressionist painters.

The playful levels contain loads of surprises and cleverly hidden secrets, rewarding patient players prepared to explore.

There's more creativity here to justify the "new" label than in previous series instalments. Almost every stage has a wonderful new gimmick.

Early levels are joyously accessible to all, but as you progress you will discover some challenges are fiendishly difficult, and will certainly test a player's skills and resolve.  

The enjoyable power-ups include items that let Mario hurl fireballs, encase enemies in ice and a new squirrel suit that lets Mario glide, cling to walls and take advantage of a helpful mid-air boost.  

Baby Yoshi appear in some levels to add amusing twists. There's the chance to inflate Yoshi to use like a hot-air balloon, trap foes inside bubbles and light up dark caverns.

Other highlights include a mischievous rabbit that requires constant pursuit, and a massive sea snake that chases you throughout an underwater level.

Four players can run riot together through the madcap levels, while a fifth player can use the Wii U's touch-screen controller to place platforms to helpfully assist or mischievously hinder progress.

Using the screen is not as much fun as directly controlling Mario or his pals, but parents might find it useful for joining in and helping kids through tricky sections.

Challenge mode is also a welcome addition, with some inventive objectives helping to teach advanced techniques.

It's testament to Nintendo's design nous that the game is just as much fun whether alone or with friends. You can continue playing solo just using the GamePad screen even when others are using the television.

What have you been playing lately?

- Jason Hill

twitter Jason Hill is on Twitter: @thatjason

41 comments so far

  • Still plugging away at Black Ops 2 and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for my competitive gaming fix. Getting better at both, surprisingly enough.

    Played a bit of Assassins Creed III: Liberation. Kinda a bit lost in why I'm doing the tasks for various NPCs. Tried Uncharted: Golden Abyss for a bit due to my 30 day PS Plus trial. I played a lot of Gravity Rush. I am enjoying this game so much. Combat is a bit tricky, but other than that I'm loving the game. I was having a giggling fit just travelling around. For some reason I find it very funny that you drag people with you when you use your gravity powers.

    Finished Virtue's Last Reward. Damn that's a good Visual Novel. Can't wait for the next one, and yes its been confirmed. Its at least equal to my 2 all time favourites, or maybe even better than it (for the record my favourite Visual Novels is Fate/Stay Night and Steins;Gate). Found out a bit late that the EU copy is a bit lacking. They took out the option for dual audio. I would've played it only with Japanese audio but finding that out kinda irks me a bit. That said it seems like the EU copy is less prone to bugs. I didn't have a Vita at the time so getting a US copy was out of the question anyway. Last week I mentioned you probably could get by without knowing 999. I take that back. The events of 999 plays a HUGE part that becomes more apparent the closer you get to the True Ending.

    Commenter
    Raito
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 8:17AM
    • Far Cry 3. My weekend has been consumed by Far Cry 3. I'm not sure whether to curse Dexx for recommending it or thank him. Loving the game anyway even if the occasional semi-cut scene/button mashing bits annoy me since I'm not used to button mashing. I drive like a maniac in the game, I've been loving sniping my way into outposts (though my favourite outpost takedown was shooting open the tiger's cage and watching it kill everyone) and I'm not sure if I've been taken by surprise more by tigers, leopards or bears... though finding out that cassowaries are aggressive was a lesson in reading the handbook properly. Dying by cassowary is an embarrassing way to go.

      Commenter
      Kit
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 8:44AM
      • Sounds like we've had the same fun experiences with the aggressive predators in FC3. Can't say I've been killed by a cassowary though (and I didn't know they were very angry birds either). My best near death experience was running away from a horde of angry boars while on fire from a molotov cocktail hit... I guess I do like roast pork, it is only fair that the wild pigs get to try roast human.

        Commenter
        Swordfactor
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 9:56AM
      • Dying by cassowary was once a proud Australian tradition - until the great cassowary massacre of 1926

        Commenter
        Rebecca
        Location
        At a desk somewhere
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 9:57AM
      • Yeah the Cassowary is undoubtedly the most dangerous bird in the world.
        Their feet have one massive claw on their big toe, which remind me of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park...

        Anyway - when I saw them in the game I shot first to be safe. Especially as they were walking towards me.

        Commenter
        ZeroZeroOne
        Location
        Syd
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 10:19AM
      • Yeah, I just crept past them to overlook one of the outposts, thinking that they're colourful and flightless so couldn't be that bad. It'll be fine, I thought. Then there was this weird cry and bang, dead, restart at the nearest safe house. Dammit. After that, I shot first. Tapirs, deer and pigs (not boars... boars are mean) are about the only critters on the islands that won't try and eat you. I've found this out the hard way.

        Commenter
        Kit
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 10:57AM
      • I've also underestimated the cassoawary and have ended up paying the price. They're not as good as some of the other predators at cleaing outposts, but do provide a handy distraction if you want to sneak in closer and not be seen.
        And is it just me, or did anyone else jump three feet of the couch every time they encountered a crocodile? Even when I knew it was coming it still made me jump.
        Thankfully there aren't that many, but it did make me wary every time I swam accross a river or stream or any body of water big enough to hide one of the sneaky buggers.

        Commenter
        Kidfla5h68
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 11:10AM
      • I got attacked by a pack of cassowaries last night. They looked so funny bobbling over towards me, then they started kicking me. Luckily, my shotgun sorted them out, and now I've got a bigger wallet.

        Commenter
        Tiger
        Location
        Work
        Date and time
        December 18, 2012, 9:27AM
    • Put a bit of time into Far Cry 3. I'm about 10 hours in and I'm comfortable now saying I definitely prefer Far Cry 2. There's something missing in FC3 - it's still a good game, but I think it might be a bit too "gamey". They've gone out of their way to make a stellar package, which is fine, but I'm not (yet) getting that special vibe about it that others seem to be.

      However, taking down an enemy with a stealth attack, taking their knife and throwing it at one of their mates to take them down as well is not getting old.

      Commenter
      js
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 9:02AM
      • Just plugging away at Far Cry 3. This save system is now really, really peeving me off. Now when I die it deposits me places that I haven't even travelled to yet. When I'm playing these types of open world games, the one thing I really like is the journey to a new destination - and if I die on the way, I have to try again and it makes getting there all the more rewarding. That's where the challenge and enjoyment lies. This goddamn game puts fast travel markers in places I haven't gone and if I die it just dumps me in the place I was going, robbing me of whatever small victory I could have savoured by getting there under my own steam. I'm getting pretty sick of dipping in and out of menus all the time as well. Still a good game, but a pretty flawed one IMO.

        Commenter
        Sam
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 9:04AM

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