(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 4 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 4 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 4 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 3.5 Stars
- Bonus Content
- 2 Stars
- Bottom Line
- Worth a Look
New Super Luigi U
- Street Date:
- August 25th, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Trevor Ruben
- Review Date:1
- January 23rd, 2014
- Game Release Year:
- Wii U
- ESRB Rating:
- E (Everyone)
Digital version reviewed, which requires the 'New Super Mario Bros. U.' The disc version is identical, but does not require 'New Super Mario Bros. U.'
Right smack in the middle of Nintendo's "Year of Luigi" came 'New Super Luigi U,' an expansive DLC casting Luigi in amped up versions of original 'New Super Mario Bros. U' levels. Whether it's Nintendo's way of doing yet another 'New' sequel without calling it a sequel or promoting the lifespan of a crucially important Wii U launch title, 'New Super Luigi U' has been positioned to appeal with both veteran and new 'New Super Mario Bros. Players.'
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Nintendo's recently blossomed DLC strategy has proven generally to be fair and, in some cases, generous in an old-fashioned, 90's expansion pack sort of way. 'New Super Luigi U,' while also available as a separate game in stores with a higher price, is exactly the kind of DLC that fills out its asking price. It's only $20 as an add-on to the original title and it offers as many levels as the original game, each a redesigned version of the original with greater challenge and faster pace with the high and floaty jump only Luigi can do in mind. In other words, this might've been the version of 'New Super Mario Bros. U' were Nintendo unconcerned with appeasing gamers of all ages. It's the devoted fan DLC and it pays off.
The thing to point out here, however, is that each level is essentially an amped up version of its past counterpart. There aren't any radical new twists on the formula, nor are there new worlds to explore.
Two global changes do make a fair bit of difference. You start with 100 seconds on the clock, a stark contrast to the 400 standard in the original game. That iconic speed up sound rings off at the start, signaling from the very first level that Luigi's romp isn't going to be a casual one. The levels are shorter by design, but not quite enough to shake off the anxiety of that sub-100 second speed up in music.
The second major global change involves control. Luigi mirrors past versions of himself with a high and floaty jump, capable of propelling him much further than Mario with the tradeoff being less traction on the ground. He's a slippery one, and most of these levels call for an even higher degree or precision than before.
Slipping across the ground and anticipating longer jumps creates a different feel to the platforming, much like the subtle differences between, say, 'Super Meat Boy' and 'N+.' On that front, character control, the deviation is interesting for devoted players. With that timer swiftly reaching zero, embracing Luigi's inability to come to a complete stop and catapulting your way through these levels promotes a joyously treacherous pace. It arguably feels even better to finish a level as the sidekick, and it's certainly a more impressive accomplishment.
That said, you need to want more core 2D Mario to enjoy it. Going in with an expectation for bustling creativity or wild diversions from the norm will likely leave you unsatisfied. Understanding that 'Luigi U' is more akin to the extra worlds of past Mario games, particularly 'Super Mario 3D Land,' will hold you at a good level to take the DLC as it's intended. As I mentioned before, it's an appropriately packaged bundle of new content. There's not enough for a new game, but it's not a new game. It's a massive piece of DLC likely to satisfy anyone who can't run to the right enough, even if Luigi feels more like a bowling ball in an alley floating over a horrifying abyss.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Luigi's levels seem to vibrate with a little more color, but it's mostly the same as before. Still, as a continuation of the first Mario title in true HD, it's a blessing on the eyes. 'New Super Mario Bros. U' was a great first step into the HD era for Nintendo, and 'Luigi U' is no different. In a kooky Nintendo twist, there's also a background rendering of Luigi in every single level. It's a bit like the hidden Mickeys at Disney World.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Cheery as can ever be, not much changes from one 2D Mario installation to another. Luigi borrows 100 percent of its tracks from the original game. That's okay, because I could listen to the repeated map track for all eternity, provided that I had to choose just one.
The three big coins in each level from the original game make their return, requiring even more skill than before. It's another layer of challenge, which at this point should be exactly what you're looking for. On the flipside, cooperative play, a primary selling point of the entire 'New' series, doesn't mesh so well with the faster pace and iffier character control in 'New Super Luigi U.' Levels won't have quite the replayability, but they'll generally take a few more tries to get through. Overall, given the shorter length of each level to compensate for the 100-second restriction, you're going to get through these levels much faster than the originals. Still, it's at less than half the price.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Unfortunately, 'New Super Luigi U' only augments levels existing within the game, so all those cool extra modes from the original go overlooked. Without Challenges, Boost Rush or Coin Battle additions, this is strictly level-by-level.
Did you enjoy 'New Super Mario Bros. U?' If you found that it was the best of the series, and many did, including myself, than there's absolutely room for more. 'New Super Luigi U' is the extra bump to a stellar platformer that many should be happy to pick up. Luigi's physics and the shorter-but-quicker levels don't blow the doors out with creativity, but they do put to the test your well-trained jumping skills. Were it a full sequel it might've felt a little dry. As DLC, however, it's a brilliant and lasting extension of a wonderful Wii U launch title.
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