New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Is The Perfect Portable Platformer

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Chances are you missed out on Mario’s inaugural HD adventure when it arrived alongside the Nintendo Wii U in late 2012. I’m writing this because chances are you never owned a Nintendo Wii U. Such a pity, but not the end of the world as the company has been giving its commercially ill-fated console a second life on the Switch, courtesy of multiple reissues for underappreciated gems like Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, and Captain Toad Treasure Tracker.

While many of these remasters have provided additional goodies to re-entice first-timers as well as freshen up recycled content, the real draw has been the ability to play them on the go. Aside from slightly updated visuals and the lack of a rather unnecessary Wii U GamePad, these games play pretty much the same on the whole. On that note, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is easily the best hand-me-down since Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Not only are they both ideal for handheld use, but they pack a pretty swell value for newcomers. Whereas Mario Kart 8 Deluxe contained all the DLC content from the Wii U version, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe throws in the New Super Luigi U standalone expansion game, which offers a new adventure that rejigs levels from the main quest. If you’re playing in short bursts on the go, New Super Luigi U is a wonderful experience, thanks to its condensed level design that must be completed in less than 100 seconds.

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But what’s new here, you might be asking? You’re no longer constricted to playing as Mario in single player, and Nabbit and Toadette have been added to the roster of playable characters that also includes Yellow Toad and Luigi. Playing as Toadette grants an “easy” playthrough by upgrading her to Peachette once you grab a super crown. In this evolution, she can double jump and also pull off Peach’s trademark floating jump. If you’re really struggling with a particularly challenging stage, know that it’s also impossible for her to die the first time she clumsily falls into a pit. Nabbit guarantees you the “easiest” play through, as you’ll be invulnerable to attacks, collect non-stop 1-ups, and have 100 liberating seconds added to the timer.

After seven years (basically a lifetime in video game years), New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe holds up considerably well. It was never on the same level as Mario’s 3D adventures (this is a 2D side-scroller, ICYMI), which is why Nintendo smartly put out the incredible Super Mario 3D World just one year later in 2013, but it still boasts some of the finest, most nostalgia-inducing platforming around. Plus, the Mushroom Kingdom is always a delight to bounce around in—especially Soda Jungle’s brilliant Painted Swampland stage, which was inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night. That remains one of the most inventive level designs Nintendo’s ever created.

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Though this 2D adventure is well worth your time even if you played it years ago on the Wii U, what we really need is a port of Super Mario 3D World, which was arguably the console’s best entry. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has got nothing on cat suit Mario. On the contrary, if you’re playing on the go, you really can’t do much better than these brilliant bite-sized levels, which are pure portable perfection.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is out now exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. Check out the launch trailer below.