Up until now, you could be justified in being a bit skeptical of New Super Mario Bros U. I mean, the 3DS NSMB game came out and was pretty much more of the same as before minus Reznor and a few pieces of music and with the Wii U one starting life as New Super Mario Bros Mii, it seemed logical to be wary even with the HD graphics and SMW style map.
But now we’ve had two or three new trailers, and to say the game looks great is an understatement. The story is slightly different, the world/level design is vastly changed and everything looks great, so here’s an indepth analysis of all the new footage and what I could find.
First things first, the trailer I’m analysing is here:
It seems to be the one shown at one of the Nintendo Direct conferences, most like the US one since I didn’t see it in either the Japanese or European presentation. So let’s begin with the analysis.
The story begins with Bowser and his forces attacking Peach’s Castle. And by attacking, I mean a giant fist comes out one of the airships and sends Mario, Luigi and the Toads flying into the distance. Talk about crashing the party!
As you can see, it’s a very uncomfortable journey through the air for Mario and co, especially when they land with a loud thud in the branches of an oak tree.
Yes, they hit it hard enough to cause the tree to bend all the way to the left and fling them back like a giant catapult. Complete with comical ‘boing!’ sound effect in the process.
This flings all the acorns across the land and causes Mario and co to vow to get back to Peach’s Castle and rescue her from Bowser.
No, the parallax effect wasn’t just to look cool, Peach’s Castle really is miles away from where Mario start. In fact, do you know what the new story is?
That Bowser and co take over Peach’s Castle and chuck Mario and co out. They’re not fighting their way to Bowser’s Castle and Dark Land this time around, they’re battling to get back into Peach’s Castle. In other words, the plot mirrors Paper Mario and the Mario and Luigi series where the villain has taken over Peach’s Castle and used it as their base of operations.
For a mainstream Mario game, this is new and original, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Peach’s Castle differs from Bowser’s as a final dungeon. Maybe both castles are in the game and either Bowser’s is a halfway point or where the true final boss is? Who knows, but it’s confirmed Bowser’s forces take over Peach’s Castles, from all the way back in today’s European Nintendo Direct.
Here’s what seems to be level 1, complete with moving ledges and a giant Piranha Plant. Interesting to see a first level without the typical 1-1 style block formations and Goombas walking around, isn’t it?
It also seems a bit more mountainous and less of a flat grass land than most first Mario levels are.
Next, we see what’s either an underwater ghost house or ghost ship. Here are some things you’ll immediately notice about i:
1. There are Boo Rings again, just like in the last few Mario games and Super Mario World.
2. There are new Boo Rings that come closer and further away from the centre every few seconds, as a new more difficult obstacle.
3. Fishbones are confirmed as returning enemies (see the top left of the screen).
And here’s the game being played on the Game Pad, working much as you might expect. Interestingly, are those potential touch screen controls? That could be an interesting new addition, especially when it comes to activating boost mode, adding players, etc.
Next, we see the assist mode put to use in this castle level, where with careful use of created platforms Mario can get all the Red Coins and the resulting Ice Flower with ease. Note there’s also falling blocks, these seem to be the intended way to cross the lava pit.
However, the end of the castle shows something potentially very interesting…
Looks normal, right? Well not quite.
What is that shell to the right? A black shell? There’s no Koopa species in Mario history with one of those, could it be those exploding Koopas from Super Mario Land or a new species? What do you think?
Next up is a mountain level. Not much to see here (other than the fairly nice looking scenery), but it does seem like the turn block bridges from Super Mario World have returned along with the familiar Fuzzy enemies found in the rest of the Mario series. Definitely seems to be shaping up to be Super Mario World 2.0.
The first tower shown is an interesting looking one. For one thing, it seems the Bony Beetles from Super Mario World have made their long awaited return complete with a minor redesign. There’s also a brand new background and a platform which is moved by spin jumping on the screw in the middle.
An ice level is also shown, with a few more things to note. Like what appears to either be stars in the sky above the wintery trees, or how Cooligans from New Super Mario Bros Wii are back and still trying to slide into Mario and co to kill them.
A ghost ship type level is shown a bit later, and it seems the annoying disappearing fake walls from Yoshi’s Island and New Super Mario Bros Wii are back. However, the very existance of a ghost ship type level like this hints at Nintendo trying some very new things in terms of level design and theme, and it gives me more than a few hints of Wario Land and Donkey Kong Country as well as Super Mario World itself.
There’s also footage of a water level a bit later on. As you can see here, it looks colourful as all gets, with a ridiculous amount of background decoration and a ton of enemies coming at you from all sides. To say this game is meant to be for multiplayer is an understatement.
Challenge Mode is shown off a bit later in the video. Seems like it’s fairly close to a cross between coin rush and time attack, note the ultra low timer and the clock counting your time as you go in the middle.
It also seems like Challenge Mode won’t always be a time attack but comprise a variety of different challenges. In this one, Mario has to jump across as many Koopas as possible without touching the floor to get one ups, with the counter at the top counting them. Nice idea!
Boost Rush is next, with the screen scrolling faster and faster as you go. Honestly, I have to admit I’m not as impressed as I should be yet, the trailer doesn’t seem quite that fast, does it?
There’s also footage of a castle level, which looks fairly impressive.
However, it does look like this bit shows sort of what it’s like at high speed, since the scrolling is a lot faster at this point in the video to the point the assist stuff is almost necessary.
And here’s another sky level complete with stone spikes throwing spikeballs down from above and one hell of a moody sky in the background. Nice to see a bit more colour and decoration in a New Super Mario Bros game.
And here’s an interesting level. There’s a giant Morton Koopa Jr shaped airship flying through the sky outside (the Koopalings all seem to have their own vehicles now) and Mario and co are running and jumping up towards the roof to get to it. Reminds me of the Koopalings flying around in the Koopa Clown Car in New Super Mario Bros 2.
And here’s Morton’s boss battle. There are some very, very interesting things to notice here.
Like how the main platform seems to be a seesaw tilting left and right or the moving platforms flying about…
Or I don’t know, how about how Morton has a freaking rocket launcher on his back and is firing Bullet Bills in all directions when he lands? Yeah, those wands are history.
But the US Nintendo Direct isn’t the only one to show some interesting new footage and levels. There’s also the European trailer and the Japanese trailer, which are next to be analysed.
First up, the short Japanese trailer footage:
Not much new here, but two things seem semi interesting.
For example, you can see a few things in this picture. Like how hitting a ? block still gives you the same amount of items as people playing the game. Or how that squirrel enemy seems to be holding the acorn item that Mario can use as a power up, and releases it when he takes to the air.
And here’s a picture of the castle with swinging platforms. Looks like the one from an earlier Boost Rush picture.
Finally, here’s the European New Super Mario Bros U footage:
The first thing you’ll notice is the Miis. It’s not called New Super Mario Bros Mii any more, but they’re still here and the proof is obvious:
I still don’t think they’re not particularly appropriate for the Mario universe, but hey what do I know.
Here’s an interesting shot of a creepy dark looking castle level. And what’s this? Thwimps? Back in New Super Mario Bros U after being absent all those years? Sweet!
They still act the exact same too, in case you’re wondering.
I think there might be a theme here… Thwimps, Thwomps and Super Thwomps in the same level? I guess someone at Nintendo likes these stone creatures a lot.
And it seems lots of sloped platforms and stuff are here too, increasing the SMW resemblance (look at that background!)
Hammer Bros make a confirmed appearance in the game too, just like they have in the last god knows how many Mario platformers.
More of the mountain level with the turn block bridges was shown too, complete with the same Fuzzies and a much higher quality view of the background. Looks like some tricky platforming right ere, don’t you think?
Also, the background looks a bit like cheese, could this take place near the cake desert?
And here’s more of the tower, complete with a Firebar and footage showing how you can use the assist blocks to take shortcuts and wall jump through the level in record time.
And here’s another part of the game, complete with a giant beanstalk to climb by using the leaves as platforms.
There’s also a small picture showing what the box art will be like for the finished game. Honestly, the design looks pretty sweet I must say, and I find it very interesting to see that it apparently has some kind of wifi play/Nintendo Network usage for features (sharing records? Level editor?)
I also forgot some footage near the start, so here’s some analysis of it. First of all, here are all the Koopaling airships:
Ha, they all have ones with their faces on! Got to love the Ludwig, Iggy, Wendy, Larry and Morton ones here.
And here’s what the much wanted overworld looks like:
As you can see, it’s a vast map with plenty of options and levels to go to. There are also pipes leading to new areas, shortcuts, you name it!
More of the overworld, includin the castle. I guess this is currently world 1?
And the much wanted layer cake desert is here too:
As you can see, it’s a very neat looking desert world with a clear food theme including ice cream and cakes.
Wonder what the pipe structure is all about?
But that’s still not all! How about a quick looking at the official art and yet more miscellaneous screenshots?
There’s a flying squirrel enemy holding an acorn power up.
And here’s Bowser Jr, who also seems to be in this game. Is he going to fly around throwing Bob-ombs and using the boxing gloves on his custom clown car to attack Mario?
On that note, it seems an awful lot of bad guys are going to be in this. Bowser, Koopalings, Bowser Jr, Boom Boom… Heck, I wouldn’t bet against Reznor or Kamek being in there too, which means Bowser’s whole army seems to have come along this time.
New Super Mario Bros U looks like a fantastic game, and hopefully my comments on the screens have gave everyone plenty of interesting things to think about.