The Wii U’s launch lineup wasn’t anything to write home about. Nintendoland was a glorified hardware showcase, and the only other notable first party software was New Super Mario Bros. U, which is one of the more underappreciated titles within the console’s library. It didn’t push any boundaries when it came to 2D platformers, it did what it does well, and New Super Luigi U built on the formula with a focus on difficulty and speed-running. Both games are worth playing, and both are suitable for Deluxe treatments, but much like the deluxe titles that came before it, additional content and mechanics are essential to make it more than just a re-release
The demo on the show floor had the option to pick one of six levels, three from New Super Mario Bros. U, and three from New Super Luigi U. While it may sound as if there’s no difference between the two, Luigi U puts a one-hundred second time limit on every stage you play, and Luigi’s movements are more slippery. These small changes, including the ability to jump higher, allowed Luigi U to feel like its own gauntlet of platforming challenges.
The most significant addition to the game is the inclusion of Nabbit and Toadette as playable characters. Nabbit takes no damage from enemies, meaning the only way you can lose lives is by falling into a pit. Toadette can turn into Peachette when a specific powerup is acquired, allowing her to float in mid-air, making many jumps and platforming more straightforward. Both of these characters also get additional time in the Luigi U stages, which takes a lot of the stress out of those levels. Aside from this, though, there are no additions that alter the gameplay in a way that should encourage old players to jump back in again.
The New Super Luigi U levels I played just as I remember them on the Wii U, but the New Super Mario Bros. U levels felt as if the controls and characters were more slippery. This made it more difficult than it needed to be in a game that wasn’t designed around the mechanic. It’s most likely still not fine-tuned and adjusted as it will be in the release version, but it was frustrating nonetheless. Multiple controller types are supported, and the game can accommodate for four players at a time, which makes for some genuinely hectic platforming.
The jump to the Switch hasn’t done much for New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. While both titles were good looking games on Wii U, there’s been little to no improvement when it comes to graphical fidelity. It’s above average, but when compared with some of the stuff that Nintendo has achieved with the console, I have to wonder if more could’ve been done on the technical side of things.
The recent Deluxe titles seem to have the issue of not doing enough to pique the interest of those who have already played them. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe doesn’t look like it’s escaped that trap. While I enjoyed my time with it, I can’t see the point of playing it unless you haven’t done so already. The new characters might make the New Super Luigi U more approachable for newcomers, but a lack of exclusive stages and mechanics keep the game feeling like less like an improvement and more like a quick re-release.