Whether you like downloadable content or think it’s a rip off, Nintendo has decided to make it part of all their latest 2D Mario games. New Super Mario Bros 2 has about 10 different packs of coin rush levels available to anyone willing to pay, and it was confirmed a while back that New Super Mario Bros U would be getting this stuff as well.
But what should the DLC for New Super Mario Bros U be like? Here’s my thoughts on the matter and what I want to see from it.
1. The downloadable levels actually integrated into the game
This is my main annoyance with how New Super Mario Bros 2 did downloadable content, and something I really want the extra content in New Super Mario Bros U to address.
Basically, it was something only relevant to Coin Rush. Wanted to play the levels? You could only do so within the limited rules and restrictions imposed by Coin Rush. You never came across the levels in game or got rewarded for beating them and they honestly felt tacked on to much of an extent.
Hopefully New Super Mario Bros U handles this differently. Ideally I’d want a new world map these levels would nicely slot into. Maybe a grid of islands or something where every level set you buy adds a few more areas to the map and your goal is to cross the place to the bonus level/Toad House/Boss castle at the other side. Your path through the world would be dictated by what levels you buy and complete, and if you buy enough packs to make a ‘bridge’ or ‘path’ to the other side, you get to play a free bonus level or something that’s much harder and more gimmicky than the rest of the game.
Kind of like the Perfect Run or World S8 Crown from Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D Land respectively.
But that’s the best case scenario. In practicality, I think we need to be able to play our extra levels outside of Boost Rush/Challenge mode just to be able to test the DLC we bought and find any secrets before trying it out for ‘real’.
2. New tilesets, objects and enemies specific to the DLC
This is the other big thing I want in New Super Mario Bros U’s downloadable levels/level packs. You know how Super Mario Advance 4 added lots of new enemies and graphics and music and other stuff to the game in its e-Reader levels?
Above: A SMW style ghost house complete with Big Boo boss! In Super Mario Bros 3!
Above: SMB 1 level remakes complete with SMB 1 Bowser
Now admittedly, I think New Super Mario Bros 2 probably did this to a minor degree. The ghost platforms that act like NSMB Wii’s bonecoasters, the appearing and disappearing blocks and a few other minor gimmicks were likely new code. But there’s not really enough of it, and I think downloadable content has just so much more potential than just stuff you could do with a level editor.
Heck, you know what would be impressive? If some of the level packs included Reznor, Chargin Chucks, Fishin’ Boo, Rex or other enemies not found in New Super Mario Bros U. Maybe even a level themed after Super Mario Bros 2 complete with similar music and graphics?
That would really make the DLC worth buying and make it better than the New Super Mario Bros 2 Coin Rush packs.
3. The same great level design found in New Super Mario Bros 2’s Coin Rush Packs
But that’s not to say New Super Mario Bros 2’s Coin Rush packs were bad or that the levels were poorly designed. On the contrary, I thought the level design in many of them seemed fantastic!
You had hidden rooms. Mario sprites made of blocks. Secret exits and cannon level routes. And generally an absolute metric ton of awesome hidden content. Look at Game Explain’s videos of the Gold Classics Pack, there’s a load of interesting stuff hidden in these levels!
Above: Bet you didn’t know about the Mario sprite in the castle!
I want this quality of level design to return for New Super Mario Bros U’s downloadable content. Hell, imagine how awesome it’d be to have quality level design alongside all new enemies and game mechanics! There’s a lot of interesting ideas you could do based on that, and a ton of clever places to hide secret areas and things.
4. A mixture of normal, challenge and boost rush levels
Sort of back to point 1 here, but I want more than just levels for a single mode in the game. So instead of just having a bunch of Boost Rush levels, there’d also be new levels for challenge mode and perhaps even new areas for coin battle and the main adventure mode!
Heck, you could go one step further and make it so each pack added similar content to each mode! So the new levels would be playable normally in single player and boost rush, but then also have between 5 and 10 challenges to complete themed after them and playable in challenge mode, as well as a few new coin battle stages based on areas in the level.
That would make it so you’re getting more than just three levels from the deal, and make it so each level is used to its full potential rather than wasted in just a single game mode.
5. Boss battles
Finally, I want to see some boss battles in these extra levels. Not new ones particularly, even ones from the existing game would do.
Because in New Super Mario Bros 2, just ONE pack of levels (the Gold Classics pack) actually ends the third or final level with a boss. The others? Just a flagpole in the castle.
I’d love this to change in New Super Mario Bros U, with the Koopalings, Kamek and Boom given new arenas based on the level gimmick and made a part of the downloadable content. Perhaps even if we’re lucky Nintendo could actually make some new bosses to end the levels or port some over from past Mario games like they did with Super Mario Advance’s e-Reader levels and the bosses within?
Who wouldn’t want to see a modern take on the SMB 3 final boss or SMW Clown Car battle?
Well, those are my ideas for what should be in New Super Mario Bros U’s downloadable levels. Hopefully Nintendo listens to them and we get something even better than New Super Mario Bros 2’s Coin Rush packs!