BADGP Reviews: New Super Luigi U
New Super Luigi U (Nintendo)
Released: June 20, 2013
October 6, 2013
Brock Morgan & Alex Linna
Review: Hardly New, Hardly Super
Alex: New Super Luigi U is a trial in patience, skill, cooperation, and perhaps even a little luck. There is no way around it: this game is hard. Finding shortcuts in this game was like finding an oasis in the middle of a desert. Completing level after level coming so incredibly close to the 99-second time limit on every level was nerve-racking. New Super Luigi U introduces a new playable character named Nabbit, who appeared in New Super Mario Bros. U that cannot take damage from enemies or projectiles. At first glance, this might appear as a logical next step in Nintendo’s continued effort to court the casuals. But no, Nabbit is absolutely essential to the completion of this game (at least completion with sanity intact). I was fortunate enough to have a fellow skilled platformer in my midst who could play as Nabbit and we could finish this devilish game. What it comes down to is that I appreciate what New Super Luigi U does on an intellectual level more so than actually playing it.
Brock: New Super Luigi U wholly represents a critical nightmare for me. If you know my preferences in games at all, then you know I love platformers, and I love platformers like Super Meat Boy because they provide immense challenge to the player, but the key in such games is that they give the player precise control over their character. So what happens when Nintendo puts out a Super Mario game with added challenge, but removes precision from the typically tight controls? Well, interestingly, it results in an experience that feels simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. I played through the entire game alone, so I had no Nabbit to help me (making me very jealous of Alex), and thus had to very quickly learn to get hold over Luigi’s slippery controls. As such, the first three worlds were a bit less than fun. Once I’d figured it out, however, the later levels could be exhilarating and challenging in a really refreshing way. The strict time limit almost encourages a speed-run sort of mentality, and sprinting headlong through an entire level without stopping and nailing all the precise jumps along the way feels awesome once you learn to pull it off.
What Does New Super Luigi U Do Right?
–Value– Above all else, New Super Luigi U is a good deal for your money ($20 as a downloadable add-on for New Super Mario Bros. U, or $30 as a physical, stand-alone disc). It possesses the same skin as New Super Mario Bros. U, but every level is different. As a piece of DLC or retail purchase, it is a good deal.
–Challenge– Though some of the challenge is added to by how poorly the game handles (see below), the difficulty present in New Super Luigi U is refreshing for a Mario-style platformer. We have not felt this level of tension in a Mario-style game in a long time.
–Level Design– New Super Luigi U combines level elements from New Super Mario Bros. U in really novel ways, and the new challenges suit the reformed controls well. Many levels also lend themselves well to speed-running, and getting through a level without stopping can feel very rewarding.
What New Super Luigi U Does Wrong?
–Control– Luigi is a slippery bugger. He may jump higher, but as soon as he hits the ground he slides for what seems like forever. This proves exceptionally frustrating with smaller platforms and more deadly obstacles. Running through each gauntlet of a level is a rush, but it takes a long time to adjust to how unwieldy the controls are.
If you already own a Wii U, New Super Luigi U is a no-brainer if you want a challenging 2D Mario platformer for your shiny, likely underused Nintendo console. If you don’t, New Super Luigi U isn’t likely to cause you to take the leap of faith of purchasing one. NSLU is a truly great value for your money, and the challenge contained within will keep you playing longer than the game upon which it is based. Just be sure to bring a friend along for the ride!
BADGP: 7.0 out of 10