Platform: Nintendo Switch
The latest addition to the Switch’s ever-growing library of software ported and enhanced from the Wii U doesn’t offer the biggest set of improvements, but it does deliver the most complete way to play one of Mario’s most overlooked adventures.
Part of the reason for the comparative dearth of bells and whistles added to this Deluxe Edition is simply that the original version remains a remarkably solid outing in its own right. A 21st century take on classic 2D-scrolling Super Mario mechanics and level design, players are off on another world-hopping jaunt to save Princess Peach, albeit with HD visuals and a few new power-ups – notably the Super Acorn, which upgrades characters with a flying squirrel suit allowing them to glide through the air and grab onto walls.
Technologically, the Switch upgrade benefits most from full 1080p output when the console is docked, and matching the Wii U release with 720p visuals in handheld. Its major selling point is as a complete edition though, incorporating the New Super Luigi U mode – originally released as standalone DLC – into the package. The more famous brother is absent here, with the challenge coming from navigating worlds with Luigi’s signature floaty-jump moveset.
There’s a real wealth variety to this package.
The only big content addition unique to the Switch is the introduction of Toadette as a playable character. She joins Nabbit, a kleptomaniac rabbit creature first playable in New Super Luigi U on the Wii U, though both characters present little more than difficulty modifiers. Nabbit is totally invulnerable, running through enemies as if they’re not even on screen, only losing a life if you fall down a pit, while Toadette can use a custom item, the Super Crown, to transform into Peachette, gaining hover jumps and a slowed descent in the process. Both change how the game is played – as well as inspiring a wealth of questionable fanfic, in the case of the Super Crown’s applications – but feel largely targeted at younger players who may be encountering Super Mario for the first time, and need a helping hand to conquer tougher levels.
Beyond the lengthy main campaign though, a host of challenges exist to test your platforming skills, including time trials for completing courses, and specific tasks such as dodging fireballs or stomping enemy Goombas without hitting the ground. Multiplayer is supported in both the main Mario Bros U and Luigi U content, Boost Mode – a different sort of challenge, where courses are stitched together and players are tasked with completing them while play speed increases, testing reflexes and reaction time – and Coin Battle mode, where players compete for the most coins. There’s even a hint of Super Mario Maker here, with one player editing courses for 2-4 others to play through competitively. There’s a real wealth variety to this package.
In the wake of Super Mario Odyssey, a 2D Mario may feel a little dated, but this is a collection well worth investing time in – especially for anyone who missed its original bow on the Wii U.