Review: New Super Luigi U
With 2013 being Luigi’s year, this Wii U title brings the side kick to the big screen for his own adventure without Mario leading him on. It is pretty clear that this game is a no-Mario zone but will Luigi be able to handle the pressure or will it all just too much for this brother?
New Super Luigi U is what you would expect it to be even before you get into the actual game itself. It starts off with Princess Peach being stolen while Luigi and two Toads are cast away to the farthest reaches of the Mushroom Kingdom and you having to work your way back to the castle through a lot of enemies and challenges. From the title we know that game is focused on Luigi and all that is seen of Mario is his hat at a dinning table – there is not a explanation for his disappearance, not that it really matters. There are some things that you do not expect to change in a Mario and Luigi game and one of them is a map. It is what gives each game the familiarity with the great bonus now is that there is two options at some points. So now if you don’t like trampoline levels, you can go to the other way.
When you hear people say this game is hard, it is easy think they are just exaggerating. But let me tell you they are not. From the outset you feel as if you are thrown into the deep end without armbands and the difficulty of Luigi U is ridiculous and is far higher than any other Mario and Luigi games. But that is what draws you back in again and again – you could spend twenty minutes on one level but breeze through the next. Most levels have to be played through a few times just so you can prepare yourself for everything that will be thrown at you. It is pretty clear that Luigi has gotten the raw end of the deal this time around, Mario gets off lucky compared with what Luigi has to go through.
This is because the controls kill as much as the enemies, the level design is nearly sadistic and time limits are painfully tight. It is easy to compare Luigi to his brother, but in truth they are very different, the main being that there physics are polar opposites. Luigi is lighter, can float for longer and can even change direction mid-air but he is also horribly slippery so prepare to loose many lives to sliding off the edges. It is best to think about what you are doing and not throw Luigi about or you will go through lives faster than Homer does with donuts.
To master Luigi U, you must first master the controls. That may be easier said than done, with rolling hills, moving Piranha Plants and a devilish Nabbit to chase. For an added difficulty, every few mushroom huts you get to Nabbit will appear and steal all of mushrooms items and run off. This leaves you to be the hero and makes you win it back by chasing him through the level of his picking, so you have to chase him while surviving the onslaught of challenges facing you. To balance out having Nabbit to wreck your day, Yoshi is here to save the day. To have this little green angle eat the enemies in your way and propel you over drops is the shining light after dying over and over again.
Another key thing to remember is that organisation is the key to the game. With a time limit of 100 seconds you will be tempted just to race ahead but it soon ends badly for our green friend. To make things worse there is a little rushed tune playing through the levels, shaking up your sense of timings. The levels are reduce to accommodate the strict time but it still leaves little time for mistakes. To beat this game you need to find the right balance of timing, concentration, preparation and caution.
For multiplayer there are four playable characters’ Luigi, Yellow Mushroom, Blue Mushroom and Nabbit. Each character has the same physics as Luigi and as you can imagine having four low gravity, slippery players leaping and bounding over an already treacherous course is difficult. So you have to work together to make it through the danger and beat all the odds. But it is great fun to play it in different ways. You could go the competitive route and see who gets to the flag first which can get pretty chaotic or you could work together to collect the star coins. Both add a bit of longevity to the game without overstepping the mark which is always a good thing.
Luigi U gives off a newly polished look that makes everything look brand new and gleaming. From the rolling hills to the fiery depth of a magma filled volcano, everything feels clear, glossy and pieced together with love and care. The 2D platform layout is perfect as usual for the simplistic yet charming style of the Mario and Luigi titles and when playing on the GamePad alone, the 3D effects highlight all the aspects of the variety of courses.
Nintendo have really jam-packed this game with Luigi, even from the colour scheme to the level design and artwork. It is great to see a piece of Luigi artwork in every level, just to hammer out the red and bring in the green.
To sum up
It is great to see side kicks being brought into the lime light and given a chance to shine. Even though this game provides such a large challenge to work through, it is hard to keep away when you know there is still another level to complete, and then another. With such challenges and new laws of gravity to master, you can sink days, even weeks into Luigi U to finally give Bowser what he deserves. Despite the many rage quits, there is a great sense of accomplishment from finally getting through the same level that has stopped you in your tracks so many times.
Version reviewed: Wii U