Released back in June as a downloadable add-on to New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U receives a retail launch on August 25th that allows players without an existing copy of NSMBU to join in the fun and games… or should that read frustration and expletive-filled rages? Yes, yes it should, because this is just about as tough a game as you’re likely to find these days!
NSLU differs from NSMBU in a number of ways. The primary difference is the fact that Luigi handles so differently to his brother. On the one hand, he can jump higher, but on the other, he turns like a tugboat, making minor alterations in his movements fiendishly difficult at the best of times. Once you’ve played through the first few levels, though, it’s not quite the huge change it appears at first.
The other major difference is the fact that Luigi has only 99 seconds to complete each level, and that does change things in a more meaningful way. While with NSMBU you had time to explore each level to search for the three hidden star coins, you’re afforded no such luxury here. The first play through is almost exclusively concerned with getting to the finish line without perishing, and picking up a coin or two on the way – or at the very least, taking note of their locations. Once you’ve cleared the level first time around, you’ll have the choice to try again for the star coins, or just continue through the game.
None of that makes the game too challenging (more time consuming than anything else), but that’s where the game’s level design comes into play. To put it mildly, there are some real doozies to be found throughout, built to tax even the most experienced of platform gurus. Unlike the main game, you’re going to need to get used to dying here, so it’s worth taking note of the levels that offer multiple extra lives, just in case you need to grind them a few times to avoid having to use any continues.
Thankfully, for less experienced or younger players, Nintendo has continued with its use of the Super Guide. Die continually in the same level and you’ll have the option of letting the game speed through the level for you – although you’ll need to do it for yourself if you’re looking for full completion of the game.
Arguably the most fun here is to be had in the game’s borderline insane four-player co-operative mode. 2D Mario games have always provided a touch of mayhem when joined by friends, but with the limited clock, ramped up difficulty and levels that often leave no room for error, the experience has received a drastic overhaul. It’s not for the faint hearted though!
Initially, we were a touch disappointed by New Super Luigi U. Between its increased difficulty and the lack of scope for exploration, it felt like a wasted opportunity, but the more we played the more enjoyable it became, to the extent that we’re now firm believers that it’s almost as good as NSMBU… almost.