New Su­per Mario Bros U Deluxe

Nin­tendo Switch ★★★☆☆

The Guardian - G2 - - Games - Keza Mac­Don­ald

Re­cent Mario games have been wild and free­wheel­ing, tak­ing the lit­tle red plumber on gal­axy-span­ning trips and global tours. But New Su­per Mario Bros is more like the sim­pler Mario ad­ven­tures re­mem­bered from an early-90s child­hood.

It has straight­for­ward left-to-right lev­els set in cas­tles, un­der­wa­ter, on top of giant mush­rooms, in the clouds. A loopy over­world con­nects them all, of­fer­ing a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent routes through each themed world. You run, you jump, you try not to die. And in mul­ti­player, where four of you can leap around de­ment­edly, you help each other out.

But though the run­ning, jump­ing and coin-col­lect­ing is fun, and the mad­cap land­scapes are en­dear­ingly weird, the magic that an­i­mates Mario’s best ad­ven­tures is miss­ing. The mu­sic doesn’t stick around in your head, and, though it looks colour­ful, it’s oddly flat. Per­haps over­fa­mil­iar­ity is the prob­lem; this is a rere­lease of a six-year-old game, af­ter all.

It can be in­tensely frus­trat­ing, per­haps too much so for very young play­ers. Death comes quickly, and with only one check­point in each level, it takes per­sis­tence as well as plat­form-hop­ping prow­ess to tri­umph. The dif­fi­culty is about right for Mario vet­er­ans, es­pe­cially when you’re play­ing on your own and there’s no­body to res­cue you, but it’s not as wel­com­ing to less ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.

The fur­ther you delve into New Su­per Mario Bros U, the more re­ward­ing it be­comes. But, though it’s typ­i­cally well-made and en­joy­able, it’s hard to sum­mon the mo­ti­va­tion to de­vote much time to it.

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