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  • The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • In 1985, Nintendo launched a console with a game in which players ran from side to side,

  • jumped on turtles and saved a princess. And almost three decades later, theyre doing

  • the same thing. Only this console comes with a touch screen, and this game is f*cking unbelievable.

  • Hey, I said things stay the same, too. It’s New Super Mario Bros. U.

  • Of course, it’s only fairand a little surprisingto point out...that this is the

  • first Mario game Nintendo has launched with a home console since 1996, and the first of

  • the side scrolling variety since the Super Nintendo in 1991. That game was called Super

  • Mario World, and it’s only fitting that this game would share some history with it.

  • I mean, why not? It shares everything else.

  • Continuous overworld? Check.

  • Baby Yoshi? Check.

  • Suit that lets you float? Check.

  • Mario U is so reminiscent of Mario World, and even Mario Bros. 3, to an extent, that

  • if you grew up playing those games...youll immediately fall for this one.

  • Now, that’s not to say this is just a cover band playing all the greatest hits. It’s

  • obvious the people designing today’s Mario games adored the classic titles, as their

  • nods to the old-school are abundant. But the work on Mario U suggests theyre finally

  • interested in progressing 2D Mario design, as well.

  • For starters, this game has some of the best Mario levels in years...maybe decades, and

  • that’s not hyperbole. They get better and better as you get closer to Peach’s Castle,

  • but even the early stages benefit from really clever approaches to 2D platformer design.

  • The foundation is clearly a combination of Mario’s two best side-scrollers, but from

  • there, New Super Mario Bros. U gets genuinely creative.

  • Not to mention brutal.

  • And while it doesn’t do much with the GamePad, aside from letting you play on the touch screen...Mario

  • U does quite a bit with the platform’s built-in software. No other launch title shows as much

  • potential for the Miiverse, allowing players to share their reactions to levels with drawings

  • or messages. And the game even has modes for things like speed runs, which is awesome for

  • veterans.

  • But of course, the game isn’t perfect, either. The gameplay is unreal, the controls are sharper

  • and more responsive than most games wish they could be...but Nintendo was obviously content

  • with the status quo for its presentation. Mario looks good in HD, but the art really

  • plays it safe. And although Nintendo does dip their toe in the water, in terms of teasing

  • artistic creativity, they never actually jump in.

  • Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, once again, jump into the Mushroom Kingdom.

  • If youre a regular visitor, plenty of new features and razor-sharp platforming awaits

  • you. And if it’s been a might be surprised by what theyve done with the

  • place. A masterful combination of new and old, New Super Mario Bros. U is the Mushroom

  • Kingdom youve always remembered...only better.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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