Game Title: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Company: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital
Battery Life: 2.75 – 4 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 2.5 GB

The Mario franchise has gone through a lot of different genres, but always ends up coming back to its roots. Back on the DS and Wii, Nintendo decided to make a “love letter” of sorts for retro fans in the form of a 2D Mario Platformer with elements from a lot of different games from across the franchise. That becase what is known as “New” Super Mario Bros.

Any long-standing fan of the series can tell you the “New” thing didn’t go away and became a trend. New Super Mario Bros. Yoshi’s New Island. New Nintendo 3DS. These eventually slowed down but New SMB didn’t. The Wii version of NSMB was brought over to the Wii U with completely redesigned levels, different power-ups, and new characters.

History has repeated itself once again, as New Super Mario Bros. U from the Wii U has come to the Switch with new characters and the phenomenon known as Peachette. Here is my review of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch!

Story

mario 2 - story

The unique bit about this game’s story is how it changes the formula up a bit. Instead of the typical plotline of Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach and taking her to some new land for Mario to follow them into, he does the opposite. He and the Koopalings invade the Mushroom Kingdom and kick Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Toadette out of the castle, launching them across the kingdom as he begins to morph the castle into one of his own design.

The inclusion of the New Super Luigi U DLC also gives it its own expansion, though it’s worth noting that it’s basically the same story, just without Mario in the cast.

Gameplay

mario 4 - platforming

As I noted in the intro, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a 2D side-scrolling platformer with some light combat elements thrown into the mix. Like many Mario side-scrollers, you take your character through a 2D level with the goal of reaching the end before time runs out. There’s also a Multiplayer element for up to 4 players in co-op.

Being a port of New Super Mario Bros. U, this is basically a redesigned version of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but with all of the U enhancements/redesigns and the inclusion of the Luigi U campaign in the main package rather than being extra DLC.

The biggest addition here, however, are Toadette and the Super Crown that turns her into a mini version of Princess Peach known as Peachette. This also brings about a greater amount of ease to the harder levels, as Peachette has a much longer glide when falling and can escape once at a time from instant death pits.

mario 6 - maps

In terms of content, you’ve got 2 campaigns to go through for the story. The original story mode has 82 courses to go through and the Luigi U campaign has 82 redesigned courses for you to trek through. You’ve also got the Challenge Modes and Coin-based Multiplayer Courses you can trek through outside of the campaign modes.

When you’re going through the campaign modes, you’ve got a huge point-to-point map like there was in the original Super Mario World, where there are multiple paths you can take to get to that world’s castle and move onto the next World. There’s a big element of choice here, as even some worlds are optional and can be skipped to go ahead towards the main goal.

When you actually get into the levels, the platforming takes over. You can choose to play as 5 different characters (Mario, Luigi, Toad, Toadette, and Nabbit) and each plays a little differently. Luigi is more slippery and can jump higher than Mario, while Toadette has much better traction and swimming efficiency for the more technical jumps later on in the game.

mario 3 - gameplay

The platforming is your typical Mario formula, but has a bunch of elements from a lot of games across the series, like Yoshi as a rideable character, the triple jump from Mario 64, and Airship levels. It does have its own uniqueness in the form of special Star Coins you can collect in each stage, which are there to help unlock special Post-Game courses once you’ve finished the story. But overall, it feels like a giant love letter to virtually every 2D Mario platformer that’s come before it.

That also includes the Save System from previous Mario games. When you complete a course/stage, the game doesn’t automatically save for you. You actualy have to finish a few stages until you find and beat a Castle with a Boss Fight to be given the option to save your game. While doing this many courses to get to your save point doesn’t take a huge amount of time, you really aren’t clued into this terribly often, so it’s pretty easy to forget or get frustrated at the 2nd or 3rd stage of a world and quit the game, only to realize you have to do those stages all over again.

mario 7 - luigi u

Now, let’s talk content and length, which is always tricky business when it comes to Nintendo Platformers. For the main campaign, it should take you around 3 minutes or so to complete each course. With some repeats in mind, finishing the story mode should take you somewhere around the 5 hour range to get to the Final Boss and defeat them. With the Luigi U campaign added in, you should get a total of around 8-10 hours, especially considering the 82 courses in Luigi U have a much shorter time limit and are geared towards rushing and speed-running.

That makes this a difficult section for me. On one hand, this is one of the largest 2D Mario Platformers to date, but on the other hand, you’re paying $60 for around 10 hours of content, outside of being a completionist with collecting everything and unlocking every optional thing available to you. This mostly comes down to how much of a Mario fan you are, but in terms of technicality, I don’t think this is near enough content to justify the $59.99 price tag.

Controls

Controlling the game is pretty simple, overall. You move with the Left Analog Stick or the D-Pad / Arrow Buttons. You can do your special Jump/Twirl moves with the four triggers. The face buttons are pretty simple as well. You can jump with the A or B buttons and run by holding down the Y or X buttons. This control scheme can be toggled a bit as well.

Presentation

mario 5 - course clear

Graphically, the game looks wonderful. Both in docked and handheld mode, the models are smoothed, colorful, and all around have a lack of blemishes. I expected to see jagged edges in handheld mode, but it looks just as good there as it does on a TV.

Performance is the same. I never saw the frames drop, even when I was doing Multiplayer Co-Op. It is optimized quite nicely.

Battery Life

Battery Life is something I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this game. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 47 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 56 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 39 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 50 minutes

Not bad at all.

In conclusion, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a great love letter to classic Mario platformers. On the downside, it doesn’t offer you that much content for the asking price and the save system can cause a bit of confusion, but the addition of Peachette and plethora of references to older games makes this a fun platformer for Mario fans of all ages.

Final Score: 8.5/10