Some up close information about our favorite portly plumber.
New Super Mario Bros. U looks to push the boundaries of the popular franchise in exciting new directions, with the addition of several key new features. First and foremost is the ability to play as your Mii within the game world during certain game modes - this was shown off at last year's E3 as part of the New Super Mario Bros Mii tech demo.
On top of the initial game experience, the game features many types of challenge modes. Boost Mode allows a player holding the Wii U Gamepad to assist players within the game by tapping the touchscreen to make platforms appear or stun enemies. There are many objects that can be interacted with in this way, which can lead to the discovery or creation of short cuts to find the fastest way possible to the finish. This is especially helpful in Boost Rush Mode, a special type of challenge in which two to five players cooperate to complete a series of auto-scrolling stages as fast as they can. As they collect coins, valuable points are added to their score, but the level scrolling speeds up, making things more difficult as you progress.
Challenge Mode tasks players with a series of instructions in various single player and multi-player stages, such as completing the level without touching the ground.
Gotta give Bowser credit for creativity.
A new power up as revealed back at E3 is an acorn, which transforms Mario and company into flying squirrels, allowing them to glide, swoop and float effortlessly through the air. Baby Yoshis make their long-awaited return from Super Mario World, and each can be carried like items with unique properties, such as a pink Yoshi that inflates like a balloon, a blue one that shoots bubbles and a yellow Yoshi that glows, lighting dark areas. A fully-grown, rideable Yoshi is also confirmed to appear much like in NSMBWii, complete with the background berries to eat for item prizes. Returning from previous games is the Mini Mushroom, which now lets players run up and down walls as well as across the surface of water.
Typical enemies make their return - Goombas, Koopas, Cheep Cheeps, Dry Bones, Fuzzies, even Paragoombas and Monty Moles - but a few lesser-known surprises await. We previously posted that Torpedo Ted from Super Mario World has returned to make underwater stages tricky, but new footage reveals Bony Beetle, a Dry Bones-like Buzzy Beetle enemy that's able to stick spikes out of his shell with little warning. Mario veterans may also remember Spike from way back in Super Mario Bros. 3, an odd little fat-lipped Koopa that pulls spiked balls from his mouth before hurling them at the players. Curiously, a new type of Goomba resembling a pumpkin was also seen in a few stages; perhaps they're related to the jack-o-lantern Goombas seen in Super Mario Galaxy.
Remember these little guys?
Bowser's kids, the Koopalings, are also shown to have a strong presence in the game, and each now have their own airship, decked out with a giant figurehead in their own image. A battle with Roy Koopa was shown, with the burly brute brandishing a Bullet Bill blaster, making for a pretty tough-looking fight. Artwork showing Lemmy Koopa holding a bomb suggests that each of the bosses will have similar weapons to make their battles more creative and dangerous. Bowser himself commands the fleet from his own ship which seems to have a gigantic mechanical arm attached to it, with which he literally punches a hole in Peach's castle in the opening scenes, scooping up the Marios and flinging them into the far distance. It would be cool to see this particular airship play a part in the final boss battle, like Bowser's Clown Car in previous 2D Mario installments.
Aesthetically, the game looks stunning, with a watercolor painting style across the lush backgrounds. The level layouts are comprised of high-quality cartoon imagery reminiscent of the styles in Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island. Of interesting note, the standard brick blocks now appear to be made of a shiny golden material just like they were in Super Mario Bros. 3, and like in that game, a sheen of light reflection will pass across their polished surface every few seconds.
I personally have enjoyed every game in the New Super Mario Bros. series thus far, and I have no reason not to expect another incredible gaming experience in this title. Here's looking forward to Mario's 6th generation deb-U. Yeah, I said it.