Review: New Super Luigi U

New Super Luigi U (NSLU) is one of the best deals currently available for the fledgling Wii U System.

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The graphics are crisp and suburb, just like New Super Mario. I doubt the system is being taxed much. Frankly it doesn’t matter for this sort of title. The graphics are cute, appropriate, and enjoyable. There are plenty of little flourishes and 3-d sparkle in the backgrounds to give the game an engrossing atmosphere. As this is part of the “Year of Luigi” initiative, there’s 8-bit Luigi stickers hidden throughout boss levels in the game. This adds yet another level of “meta-collecting.” It definitely brings a smile to your face when you see a classic Luigi sprite plastered up on a hidden cave wall underneath a Koopa-kid’s castle.

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The addition of “Hold LZ for Nabbit” functionality is a welcome breath of easy in a hot desert of gaming challenge. When you enter any level, you can hold the LZ button to play through that level as Nabbit, a rabbit-thief like character who is invincible to enemy attacks. You’ll still die if you fall off the side of a cliff or get squashed (so it’s still somewhat challenging), but enemies and enemy attacks pass right through you. For those trying to make it past one of NSLU’s super-challenging levels, it can be the difference between frustration and enjoyment.

I actually used the Wii-U pad for playing much of NSLU while my television was occupied with a Netflix movie or Blu-ray. The graphics lend themselves well to the lower-resolution screen of the Wii-U pad and I finally see the appeal of the “either-screen” setup of the Wii-U. It’s not just for taking on road-trips or to the airport. It really does work in a living-room situation as well.

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I played through about half of NSLU with a friend and the multi-player aspect is fantastic. Up to four players can play through the story portion of the game (as with all NSMB titles) and you’ll find youself dusting off those wii-motes for the first time in ages. Heck, I hadn’t turned on my Wii-U in a while before NSLU came on sale for 15$ at the big-box store near my house. And I’m quite glad I picked it up too. You see, Mario games tend not to dip in price. The original NSMB for Wii (almost 5 years old now) is still retailing at 50$. That’s pretty steep for a 4-year old game on a last-generation system. That’s Nintendo for you. So, to get a disk with an entire Luigi-centric skinning of NSMB-U for less than 20$ is a heck of a deal for gamers on a budget.

As for the gameplay itself, this is classic Super Mario fare. There’s plenty of power-ups, enemies, and fun boss fights as usual. The game feels like a mash-up between Super Mario World, Mario 3, and New Super Mario (Wii). That’s a very, very good mix of gaming ingredients.

In the end, NSLU is a great addition to the Mario canon and a great value. Not just an add-on, NSLU stands on its own gaming legs as a challenging entry into the Wii-U software library. As it can be purchased used for around 20$, it represents a terrific value as well. I rate NSLU a 90/100. Terrific, challenging, fun.

Note, as with all Nintendo Wii and Wii-U purchases, I highly recommend you purchase the physical disk version. Downloadable versions are tied to your specific console, so if your console dies that’s it. No more games. For that reason alone I only buy disk versions for Wii-U.

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