New Super Luigi U is a special game. It's a game that has come about due to 2013 being the Year of Luigi, but it doesn't stand out as much as other Luigi titles, such as Luigi's Mansion 2 and even the upcoming Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. That may be because many people believe it to be New Super Mario Bros. U but you play as Luigi. Oh, and Nabbit's a playable character too. I'm not saying they're wrong, but there's a lot more to it than that.
I'd just like to go over a couple of things first; the storyline and controls are identical to New Super Mario Bros. U. Even visuals and sounds are the same. If you said that New Super Luigi U and New Super Mario Bros. U were the same game, I wouldn't argue. Perhaps that is why Nintendo decided to release this title as downloadable content. However, New Super Luigi U feels like a different game. Characters control differently, a new character is involved, stages are frantic and fast-paced. New Super Luigi U is a lot more than New Super Mario Bros. 2's attempt at DLC.
Luigi might be Mario's older brother, but New Super Luigi U feels like New Super Mario Bros. U's older brother. Each level (there are over 80 brand new levels in New Super Luigi U) has a strict time limit of 100 seconds. There's no time to stop and smell the Luigi-shaped roses (seriously, there's a Luigi shaped bush), you'll have to be running through them like there's no tomorrow. Go and get some tape, because you may as well tape the run button down. Levels are also a lot tougher than in New Super Mario Bros. U; every jump you make might be your last. Nintendo does offer an 'easy mode'; players who struggle with games can choose to play as Nabbit, who is invincible and doesn't take damage from enemies.
The changes in gameplay are obvious right away; Luigi can jump higher than Mario, and can flutter in the air for a short time. However, he also slides around a lot more when he's on the ground, making for some brutal level design. New Super Luigi U offers a challenge even for veteran gamers.
Multiplayer is even more hectic than it was in New Super Mario Bros. U. Levels are fast-paced with little time to catch your breath already... try adding other players, and the game becomes even more insane. For all you Toad lovers out there, don't worry! The yellow and blue Toads are back to help out Luigi. It's this quick gameplay that gives New Super Luigi U its fun factor. New Super Mario Bros. U offered a much more relaxed style of play whereas this game turns all that on its head in an attempt to challenge and stretch your abilities. New Super Luigi U shoves you through the levels; it gives you the "just one more level" mentality that perhaps its predecessors didn't have.
One of my favourite additions to the game, besides everything I've already mentioned is the fact that basically every level has a hidden Luigi to find. They're often 8-bit Luigis on the walls, or behind breakable bricks. Finding them is so fun, I almost wish the game kept a record of how many you've found. The game even throws Luigis at you when you aren't expecting them; you might see a Luigi-shaped bush (like I mentioned earlier) or even Luigi clouds in the background. Just a fun little something that Nintendo have added to make levels even more interesting.
The 100 second level timer and no checkpoints whatsoever might mean you'll be playing levels over and over to vanquish them. Then you'll be playing them again, if you want to collect every Star Coin and every secret exit. However, the short level timer might mean that you'll be seeing the game's ending fairly quickly; worlds can easily be traversed within an hour. But with Star Coins and secret exits to find, the likelihood is you'll be playing New Super Luigi U for many more hours after battling Bowser.
In conclusion, New Super Luigi U is a brand new game. It just doesn't feel like downloadable content. Downloadable content usually offers a small amount of content for a relatively expensive price. New Super Luigi U offers pretty much an entirely new game, and at £17.99, it's half the price of New Super Mario Bros. U (although, you need New Super Mario Bros. U to download the game. Alternatively, you can get the retail release of New Super Luigi U, released in July, for £29.99). New Super Luigi U gives you a lot of game to sink your teeth into, even if you don't want to collect everything. There's a challenge for everyone here, new and old gamers alike. Nintendo have given Luigi the spotlight this year; this is one game you'll not want to miss. + Daniel Godfrey
9/10 - Offering a level of challenge not seen before in the New Super Mario Bros. series, New Super Luigi U isn't just DLC, it's an entirely new game. Well worth picking up.
Review copy funded by Nintendo Feed