Despite being at Mario’s side for 30 years now, Luigi has had rare chances to actually star in his own games and no chances to star in his own platformer. That has finally been rectified with New Super Luigi U for the Wii U.
What is it?
The Year of Luigi finally hits the Wii U as Nintendo has released their most substantial piece of DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U that is easily the most ambitious and interesting thing that they’ve done with that series since its inception on the DS. Luigi gets to step up and take center stage in this new campaign that features the same world map and all of the stages that were included in the original campaign but overhauled to take advantage of Luigi’s unique talents and design decisions.
If you’re playing with friends, your four-player crew consists of Luigi, Yellow Toad, Blue Toad, and Nabbit, the annoying rabbit thief that pops up on occasion whose abilities are all about trolling the other players.
Why Should I Care?
If you’re familiar at all with Luigi’s skills in past Super Mario games, you know that he has a much higher jump than his portly brother and at the height of the jump, he has a great flutter move that lets him hang in the air for an extra second or two that lets him make much longer jumps than his brother. In exchange for that great jump, Luigi does not possess his brother’s ability to stop on a dime, so you really have to be careful when you have momentum since he can easily slide right off of a ledge when you’re not careful. Outside of his skills, the main design changes for Luigi’s campaign is that each level starts with 100 seconds remaining and the difficulty is noticeably much higher than every previous New Super Mario Bros. campaign, which means that the redesigned levels are much shorter than before to accommodate the shorter time limits while still including the three star coins and other secrets.
The big overhaul of these levels really changes up the tempo of how I approached each level compared to New Super Mario Bros. U, where I took my time to try to get the star coins on the first try. Instead, you need to get moving right away and play with a lot more fluidity and finesse to your moves as you take advantage of Luigi’s higher, longer jumps to get over obstacles and across bigger gaps. On the flipside, that new jump can easily lead to you trying to make riskier jumps that lead to plenty of dumb deaths as you figure out how each level works. In all of my time with the previous New Super Mario Bros. games, I’ve never had trouble with running out of lives since you accrue them with such ease, but the difficulty of certain levels really kicked my butt hard enough that I had to use two continues in my playthrough of the game. That difficulty seemed to ease up in the last few worlds as I got a better grip on Luigi’s controls and the level design that seemed to make it easier to get 1ups heading towards the end of the game.
New Super Luigi U really does provide a great blueprint for what I’d love to see out of this series in the future, as I’ve really grown tired of seeing the same basic Mario platformer over and over again. They’ve done a good job of adding a lot of neat touches to the game to give the levels more of a rebel quality like somebody broke into the developer’s studios and designed this weird total conversion mod of the original game. It would really be nice to see a New Super Peach U and New Super Toad U that takes the sort of moves you expect from those characters and redesign levels based around their abilities, which sort of essentially means that I want the Super Mario Bros. 2 of the New Super Mario Bros. series.
Being an expansion for New Super Mario Bros. 2, the levels look as good as they did in the original game with some neat secret Luigi stuff hidden around the levels. The music also hasn’t changed at all and despite the fact that you start with 100 seconds to go, the only change in the music is that you hear that iconic “time is running out” jingle at the start of each level. There’s no frantic version of the normal music that plays to heighten that need to hurry up and get to the end.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
If you’ve exhausted what was offered in New Super Mario Bros. U and want more of a challenge, New Super Luigi U is going to be right up your alley with a much greater challenge to conquer and more secrets to find. It’s also a good idea for those of you that might have grown tired of the Mario campaign and want something that shakes up that formula to give you something of a new experience in this series, which is where I was at before New Super Luigi U’s launch. I enjoyed the game for the first few worlds, but it petered out a bit for me as it became more apparent that this hadn’t change much of anything after beating New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS last summer. It’s available right now on the eShop for $19.99 and those that want a standalone version can grab it when it hits stores on August 25 for $29.99.