Mario wasn't present at the 3DS' launch and maybe that contributed towards the 3DS launch failure. To prevent this happening again, it's quite clear that Nintendo have pulled out all the stops to make sure that their primary mascot is available in his full glory with the Wii U's launch.
That's because the Super Mario franchise is a console seller. Stick a Mario game on any console and it's guaranteed success, stick a Mario game in a launch line-up and that particular console is guaranteed success right from the very start.
New Super Mario Bros. U changes very little about the Mario franchise, but it's the game's immediate accessibility and now much more formal presentation that will appear attractive to fans of the series, old and new.
We shall start with the presentation, which is profoundly quite gorgeous. That being because this is Nintendo's first ever HD console and with their first HD console, is most likely to come the first HD Mario game. Which this is and it does live up to! Mario looks every bit as we expected him to look in HD. He looks shiny and very fresh. Which looks to have always been Nintendo's goal with the "New Super Mario Bros." games.
Both vibrant and colourful appears to be the theme here. Even in the more darker levels, Nintendo have kept the premise, bright and cheerful. The graphics are clean and clear, just as we saw in the likes of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. But this time, the graphics are in full HD.
The power-ups are a pretty familiar affair, but that doesn't mean they aren't great! After all, Power-ups make Mario games. Super Acorn being the single new power-up here, whilst the rest make re-appearances from earlier titles. That doesn't bother us too much mind as we're quite content with alot of the previous power-ups.
Singleplayer gameplay all takes place on the Gamepad, which is to be expected. In this mode, New Super Mario Bros. U doesn't particularly utilize the Gamepad. It is simply used as a mirrored screen of the main action, which can be viewed from the main screen anyway.
It is in Multiplayer mode when the Gamepad is fully used to it's capabilities. Boost mode is essentially an upgraded version of New Super Mario Bros. Wii's Multiplayer mode. Where the Gamepad is thrown in to assist the other players. This does work with two players, but we'd recommend the full 5, providing you can get that many players!
There's also a good dose of bonus modes thrown in, to keep you coming back after you have finished the main flesh of the gameplay. Challenge mode is amongst them and sees you playing as your Mii to complete a variety of tasks.
In conclusion, New Super Mario Bros. U doesn't particularly change the Mario franchise. What it will do though is, sell Wii U consoles. If you're looking for an extremely solid launch title for your new Wii U, you simply can't go wrong with a Mario game. +Josh Moorcroft-Jones
9/10 - It's the Mario we all know and love, available at launch with beautiful new presentation.