New Super Luigi U

New Super Luigi U

To commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Luigi’s first appearance in the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros, Nintendo has dubbed 2013 the Year of Luigi. This means all sorts of Luigi themed events, games, and collectibles spread out across the year.

Among them? New Super Luigi U, a “full game DLC” package for New Super Mario Bros U that finally lets the tall, green-clad brother be the hero who saves Princess Peach. Rather than just being a standard content pack with a few extra levels, Luigi U lets you play through Mario U in its entirety as Luigi, with all 82 levels redesigned to offer new challenges suited to Luigi’s unique abilities.

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At its core, Luigi U is basically a more challenging variant of what players experienced in New Super Mario Bros U (NSMBU.) The world map remains the same, but all the levels have been completely redesigned to be much tougher, and this design is easily the best part of Luigi’s new adventure.

Nintendo’s 30 years of experience with the platformer genre really shows, with puzzles that are as varied as they are formidable. The new courses really force you bring everything you have to the table, but they’re short and sweet enough that dying as you try and overcome each hurdle - something that will happen a lot - is not too much of a hassle.

The new stages also do a great job of harkening back to the originals from NSMBU upon which they’re based, using the same themes as the originals to create new challenges. For example, both titles feature a course in the Layer-Cake Desert world, designed around jumping between moving platforms while dodging rocks thrown by Stone Spike koopas, but there’s much less breathing room in Luigi’s variant than in Mario’s.

Sadly, the excellence of the levels is often overshadowed by other factors that turn an otherwise exciting and demanding platformer into an exercise in tedium. Oddly enough, one of these problems is what has been a selling point for Luigi U since it was first announced - Luigi’s trademark awkward controls. His jumps are floaty, and he accelerates and decelerates much, much slower than Short Red; as a result you’ll die just as much from unresponsive controls sending you flying into a chasm as you do from being outsmarted by a fiendishly clever platforming puzzle. This definitely adds an extra level of difficulty to the game, but not the good kind, and the lack of responsiveness only gets more frustrating as you progress.

The other major problem is the save system. While Nintendo’s apparent obsession with sparse save points was mildly annoying in Mario Bros U, in Luigi’s adventure it becomes downright horrid. The overall difficulty of the DLC, both good and bad, means that you’ll be dying a lot as you try and figure each level out. This wouldn’t be at all a problem - the levels are short enough that having to restart from the beginning is not an issue - except that, with limited lives, sooner or later you’ll get that awful Game Over screen sending you back to your last save, which was likely a few levels ago. Nothing kills that “Just one more try!” reflex that a well designed challenge elicits more than having to grind your way through content you’ve already cleared just to get back to the obstacle at hand.

One of the best parts of NSMBU was the multiplayer mode, which makes its triumphant return in Luigi U. While I haven’t personally tried it (due to some combination of a lack of controllers and friends...), it functions exactly the same as in the original game, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t be just as much fun on Luigi’s frantic new levels.

Given that this is Luigi’s adventure, Mario has been replaced as a playable character by Nabbit, that annoying little rabbit thing from NSMBU that kept stealing stuff from Toad Houses. He controls more or less the same as Luigi, but has one very unique perk that makes him a good choice for beginner players - he is completely invincible to enemies. Nabbit is also playable in single player mode with a not-too-hard-to-discover cheat, which can be handy if you get stuck on a level.

New Super Luigi U is rather expansive for a DLC package, essentially giving fans of the original game 82 new courses to test their mettle. There are no Challenge or Boost Rush modes, but other features like Toad House minigames, hunting Nabbit (when you’re not playing as him), and Star Coin collections are all present to help stretch out your playtime even further.

With that said, at $49.95, Luigi U is still pretty steep as far as DLC goes, and it’s probably not vital unless you really love the original game and just can’t get enough. There’s a standalone version coming out on July 27, which will feature both the original levels from Mario Bros. U and Luigi’s new ones. However, if you don’t yet have NSMBU, that’s probably a better option than the retail Luigi U release, as it is a more complete overall experience; the New Super Luigi U DLC will be waiting for you if you feel the need to swallow the green pill later on and dial the difficulty up to 11.

"Can someone buy Luigi some shoes with better traction?"
- New Super Luigi U
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments Comments (4)

Posted by Koopa18
On Tuesday 23 Jul 2013 10:00 PM
I only really play NSMB U multiplayer, so I think the short and hard levels are putting me off in that regard. I think it would be great for single player - but the price point isn't doing much for me.....
Posted by PE0PLEKN0WME
On Wednesday 24 Jul 2013 3:08 PM
Looks like the classics re-defined for the good!
Posted by Jacko-Rabbit
On Sunday 28 Jul 2013 9:04 PM
no one likes luigi
Posted by piratemonkey
On Sunday 28 Jul 2013 9:29 PM
28 July 2013, 09:04 PM Reply to Jacko-Rabbit
no one likes luigi
Daisy does..allegedly.