Up Up Down Down: New Super Luigi U
Somehow, February turned out to be the month of New Super Mario Bros. Starting with the DS original, we inevitably Up Up Down Downed New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. 2 and just last week, New Super Mario Bros. U. It's only fitting that we now check out New Super Luigi U, the expansion to Mario's HD debut.
Don't worry — if, like me, you're not particularly fond of Mario's little brother, there's still plenty of fun to be had with this add-on. Of course, this fast-paced platforming adventure isn't without a handful of flaws. Thankfully, the positives outshine the negatives.
Up Up: Playing as Luigi is a nice change of pace from always playing as Mario
Mario has become somewhat of a staple of the platformer genre. As such, most people are fairly familiar with how the legendary character controls. Luigi, on the other hand, is a very different plumber. He's a tad on the slippery side, but his jumps are second to none. In addition to the added height, Luigi can also kick his feet like Yoshi to unrealistically defy gravity for a few seconds. It's completely asinine, but it comes in handy when you're trying to reach a high ledge or collect some extra coins.
Down Down: Luigi's a lame character
Sadly, there's no changing the fact that Luigi's a pansy. Sure, this is completely opinionated ranting, but hey, it's not like it's untrue. I mean, the dude's a scared little wanker who suffers from inferiority issues on account of his much more successful brother. Yes, it's definitely fun controlling Luigi, but the fact that he's the star of this game is still weirdly annoying.
Up Up: Entirely new levels
Luigi U boasts over 80 stages, all of which are entirely new. Sadly, the world maps and level themes are all identical to those found in New Super Mario Bros. U, but even then, the actual stage designs are all completely different. This helps make Luigi U feel like more of its own thing than simply an expansion. Like the main game, the levels offered here are mostly all filled with novel design and provide a satisfying challenge.
Down Down: Boss battles remain unchanged
You'd think Nintendo would've added some new boss battles to Luigi U, especially considering the fact that the actual stages are all different. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and instead you're tasked with defeating the same baddies in the same exact ways that you did in New Super Mario Bros. U. If you haven't played that game, you won't notice the issue at hand, but if you have, you'll want to speed through these encounters and get back to the main levels, because that's where the real entertainment is at.
Up Up: Shorter time limit adds a welcome challenge and hectic pace
New Super Mario Bros. U is already a tough game, but Luigi U ups the ante by giving you a timer that starts out at 100, essentially giving you a considerably shorter amount of time to get to the end of a level. This means you have to dash through stages rapidly, collect Star Coins in a more efficient manner, and hope you don't make a mistake due to how fast you're running through the levels. The focus on speed is almost Sonic-like, though the levels themselves are undeniably Mario.
Down Down: Nabbit may be an even worse character than Luigi
Like Luigi, Nabbit isn't necessarily a wholly terrible character, but he is massively flawed and ridiculously dumb. For starters, he's invincible, which is already off-putting. He also can't use power-ups or Baby Yoshi's abilities, effectively sucking out a lot of the fun that Mario games are known for. Then there's the fact that if there are four players involved, one of them has to play as Nabbit, which is kind of limiting. Seriously, Nabbit is probably worse than Luigi. At least Luigi has, um ... Okay, they're probably equally bad.
Left Right Left Right: Luigi sucks, but this game sure as hell doesn't
Obviously, I'm not the biggest Luigi fan. But I'm not the biggest Mario fan, either. (Toad deserves his own game, damn it!) Still, I won't deny how much fun Luigi U is. The speed-based dynamic adds a shift to the gameplay of New Super Mario Bros. U, and the new level designs help make this game stand out on its own. Despite Luigi's slippery movement, the platforming is as lovingly crafted and pleasantly precise as ever. I still don't think the green clad plumber is cool, but this game sure makes me tolerate him just a tiny bit more.
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