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Honestly, I think New Super Mario Bros. Wii U is the best 2D Mario game in the series

Muzy72

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Jul 4, 2013
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I think if it had more varied world themes / backgrounds (the Van Gogh theme was great but it was only one level) and they didn't re-use music from the previous NSMB games it would be remembered a lot more fondly. The game is damn good, but the music especially kills it for me. The new theme song was great, but I believe that was the only new composition?
 

The Real Abed

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Mar 21, 2012
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Agreed. Both Mario and Luigi U are my favorite. I really hope we get one per generation from now on.

Just drop all the bwahs. But keep the charming dances the enemies and backgrounds do to the music.

I also love 3D World to death and am disappointed we haven't gotten a sequel yet like we got from Galaxy last generation.
 

DICKS AHOY

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Nov 4, 2010
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The use of the Gamepad in this game (just like the game itself) it's really underestimated. Boost blocks is one of the things only possible with the touch screen, not only is madly fun but also allows some incredible co op speedruns.
Sure, though it's still bizarre even after they patched in support for the Pro Controller that playing in co-op with the Wii U Pad mandates that the pad user has to place boost blocks and can't play the game proper.
 

NathanS

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Jul 12, 2013
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I'm almost hesitant to throw any thoughts into the wring on this even though I have a lot since most people on both sides of this issue tend to have made up their mind and be VERY dismissive towards all other points of view. A big part of the question is how do you personally define “what makes a good game and what makes a great one?” There's a lot of possible answers to that, but one of the big one that shapes this discussion is “quality of the level design.”

Well this not 100% reflective of everyone's opinion it seems that if your answer is “quality of the level design.” then not only you'll think very highly of NSMBU but also view it as one of Mario's greats. If you feel it take more then high quality level design to be a truly great game it'll probably rank in as good but safe kind of game. I admit when I saw yet another variant of the “volcano rocks fall from sky breaking ground under you and protective rock above you” for the fourth time in as many games I felt a bit of “again?”

X I do have to completely disagree that all this is going on in SMB-SMW is pure graphics upgrade, and I don't think it's fair to discount YI given that when they made and released it Nintnedo saw it as the next main Mario game, and stuck to it having that position when they put in as part of the Advanced series of re-releases . But putting that aside SMB3 does more then just upgrade the look of SMB, Super Mario and Goombas for example have clearly been redone completely with changes in proportions, just compare them to the Buzzy Beetle in both games who haven't changed much at all. On top of re-workings the whole game has the play stage look with bolts in block securing them to the background, string holding up flouting wooden platforms. That's a unique aesthetic that sets SMB3 visually apart from every other main Mario game.

SMW works by re-working almost every previous thing it brings over Not all, I give, Buzzy Beetle once again looks just like it did all the way back in SMB, just in 16-bits. But question mark boxes have had their edges rounded and the bolts removed, Koopas are now bipedal the Goombas were so redone both visually and mechanically they become a new subspaces, the hammer bros become the flying hammer bros Cheep-Cheeps were made blue and the fire flower underwent a complete redesign. The game did away with brick blocks and replaced them with flip blocks. That and adding things like a lot of diagonal facing pipes, and species of land jutting out. Indeed World pulls off the fascinating trick of changing things enough that it comes across as looking distinct, well keeping it just close enough that it's easy to look at a screen shot like yours and say nothing has changed but the 16 bits.

And when talking about overall atheistic music is as important as looks and the heavy re-use of old songs just remixed is really adding a lot to the feeling of sameness in the NSMB series, and you can't say SMB3 or SMW didn't have their own distinct soundtracks with almost all new songs.
 

FistOfSyn

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Feb 22, 2015
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If only the artstyle and music weren't trash it could have been the best.

I prefer SMW and SMB3 because of that.
 

Odrion

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This is like, one level. It's the only one people bring up when they talk about it being creative.
 
Mar 10, 2005
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NSMBU suffered a lot by coming so close after NSMB2, which is fairly mediocre. Add to the fact that it was a launch title when everyone wanted Mario Galaxy 3, and was looking for a reason to pick up a Wii U, and it had the deck stacked against it.
 

Mistle

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Jun 8, 2009
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I really liked it, even though I still find the art style and most of the music bland. Great game, but wouldn't agree that it's better than tropical freeze, which is masterful.
 

Man God

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Nov 2, 2007
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For a moment I thought this thread said NSMB Wii and Not Wii U. I'm in total agreement. It's not as timeless or as historic as three but it has by far the best level design in platforming history.
 

Balb

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Dec 14, 2007
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I think the NSMBU levels are really good and are up there with the best 2D Mario games but the problem is that it doesn't have all the flourishes that made SMB, SMB3 and SMW all-time greats. Most or all of the secrets in NSMBU are telegraphed to the player beforehand using the 3 star coin system. Basically in each level you know there's going to be 3 "secrets" and once you collect all the star coins, you know you're done with the level. It really takes away the sense of discovery that's been in the Super Mario games since the beginning.

Also, as it's been stated many times, the aesthetics are pretty tired at this point. They don't look bad, but it's the 4th game in the series and shares a lot of the same art, music, sounds and voices as NSMB/NSMB Wii. Imagine if SMB3 and SMW looked exactly like or very close to SMB1.

Like I said, I think NSMBU is fun to play but it doesn't offer the "complete package" that the classic 2D Mario games do.
 

y2dvd

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May 14, 2008
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As someone who hated the previous New series, U was an amazing step up. I have to play the original to decide because I'm just going off of nostalgia, but U is up there.
 

1upmuffin

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I still need to get New Super Mario Bros. U. I own New 1 and Wii, but only played a few levels of U.
 

UncleSporky

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On top of re-workings the whole game has the play stage look with bolts in block securing them to the background, string holding up flouting wooden platforms. That's a unique aesthetic that sets SMB3 visually apart from every other main Mario game.

They may have been leaning in this direction even in SMB1. Specifically when you mentioned the string, made me think of this:

 

trixx

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Jul 27, 2012
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Fantastic game. The challenge mode is especially brilliant.

This and NSLU have the best level design by far.I stll like SMB3 more
 

cHinzo

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Dec 3, 2013
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Loved it. Especially the bonus stages (Run for it was amazing!). The Luigi game was too short for my taste. Cant wait for the next one.
 

doofy102

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Nov 21, 2013
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I love the game.

I think the levels might be a tad overdesigned when played next to Super Mario World, though, which proves you don't need to have as many different things and paths on each screen to have a fun sequence of screens. Often enough in a Super Mario World screen there's exactly one path and one obstacle but it's designed so that there's like 3-4 ways to beat that obstacles, this is a kind of focussing you never see in Mario U which is more about choosing your path out of a number of floor-levels on your screen. Half the enemies you see in Mario U level might not become a threat due to how you can get around anything.

And so the Mario U levels come off as sort of formulaic. You get different enemies, platforms, obstacles and things but they're kinda wasted just being there to construct, in the end, another kind of multi-floor thing to dash and skip through. They can all be boiled down to that experience. A lot of U levels are trying to do the same thing but with different tools. Mario World, which didn't care about the things U cared about, focussed on making sure the player would actually play the game differently, actually move differently every level by rightly bottlenecking them into obstacles that made them. Mario World wasn't afraid of getting the player to stand still sometimes, in fact, standing still was a mechanic used smartly in its game design, and in different ways, that U didn't, or couldn't really touch.
 

Nesther

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Every now and then I try to play through it (got it in a bundle) but those acorn levels in the beginning are just kinda boring. I always quit.
 

Nerrel

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It's arguably the best designed, but it's also less interesting and memorable than the older games. The music is barely even trying, and the art style is "functional-" It's clean, clear, and gets the job done, but doesn't do much interesting outside of the few exceptions posted. It's better than the previous entries, but still pretty bland. Tropical Freeze, Rayman Legends, Muramasa... pretty much any other modern 2D sidescroller makes this game's audio and visuals seem pitifully underwhelming in comparison.

I also prefer SMW's depth of secret exits and branching paths. NSMBU attempts to recreate some of that charm, but (again) comes up a little short. There area few secret paths here and there, but mainly just one in each world. The star world also feels a little basic, as if it's mandatory to put in a star world throwback after all the SMW references in the world map. It had nothing on SMW's double-secret special zone with the autumn/enemy sprite shift reward.

I would agree that it's the best game if it looked better, sounded better, and had a little more heart put into it in general. Those things matter, and I'd never consider this game better than SMW for those reasons. Nintendo never really felt like they were trying to wow you with this game. They just made some very competent Mario levels in a format we'd seen many times before. World was so much more ambitious with how it implemented the world map and secrets, and it had a classic soundtrack and visuals that are still charming today. Not to mention the cape is a better powerup than all the NSMB inventions combined (is it just me, or do they all suck?). They really pushed out and made it feel like a different game than Mario 3. Nintendo doesn't seem to really care to keep pushing like that anymore.

Again, NSMBU is a great game. It's a worthy successor to the old Marios. I just don't think it's the best.



The only problem there though is that while this game looks gorgeous, Nintendo really didn't take advantage of this sort of look. You see it, you wonder what they can do to top it, but then the game never even tries to do this again.

I honestly would have much preferred they kept that painted style the entire game. It would have been a little like Yoshi's Island having a colored pencil look.
 

Plinko

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Jul 31, 2007
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1. New Super Luigi U
2. Super Mario Bros. 3
3. Donkey Kong Country Returns
4. Super Mario Bros.
5. N++
6. Super Mario World
7. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
8. New Super Mario U
9. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
10. New Super Mario Bros. 2
11. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
12. Rayman Origins
13. Super Meat Boy
14. Adventures of Little Ralph
15. Bubsy
16. Sonic the Hedgehog
17. Adventure Island
18. Mickey's Magical Quest
19. Little Nemo the Dream Master
20. Hermie Hopperhead

and all of those are better than Rayman Legends, New Super Mario Bros., Sonic 2&3, Ristar, Castle of Illusion, Duck Tales, Klonoa, The Lion King, Aladdin, Rocket Knight Adventures, and every Kirby game

19? 19? I'll pretend you accidentally put the 9 on there.

That game is a masterpiece.
 

NathanS

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Jul 12, 2013
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They may have been leaning in this direction even in SMB1. Specifically when you mentioned the string, made me think of this:


Those work to convey that the two platforms are connected and that standing on one will effect the other, rather different then this:

http://imgur.com/psS3blZ

Those strings don't need to be there for any gameplay reason, you could just have the wood flouting in the air for no reason much like many blocks in the game, or put support pillars under them like the other wooden platforms there. If you want to make it feel like natural environment you would forgo it just being hunks of wood and use trees like SMB or tall hunks of land, but no, they made it wood suspended in the air on wires, all to further a purely atheistic quality of "stage like."

Also well I have been talking about art style that's not to suggest it's the only thing I think people look at when they judge what makes a great game beyond level design, just that I'm responding to RagnarokX's feelings that all Mario games are working on the same art style, just with increasingly better tech.
 

Haganeren

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Jun 3, 2015
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This is even more of what I'm talking about...criticism of NSMBU is often criticism leveled at the NSMB series in general, without considering what's unique about NSMBU.

NSMBU doesn't have the propeller suit until endgame, as a special appearance sort of thing. Its flying mechanic is the squirrel suit. Which could be considered better or worse, I don't know, but let's examine NSMBU itself and not the whole series. On its own, it's an awesome game.

Yeah, sorry, was thinking at Mario Maker at this time... But to be honest, the squirrel isn't that much more interesting than the propeller mushroom..... I think i even like the propeller one better for his HUGE jump which is more fun than the leap of the squirrel and more practical to use...... But this still can't beat the racoon and the cape for flying, the cape even have some "secret" moves like the cape drop which is something i always tried to "redo" when i tried it.

For the uniqueness, the overworld of U still is quite unique from that game. The aesthetic is too. There is no confusion between New Super Mario Bros games as if i referred to the DS one, i would be a lot harsher.

So yeah, the topic was about New Super Mario Bros U compared to Mario Bros 3 and Mario World. I never was a huge fan of 2D Mario but i still though those two were more fun or just more memorable... And i even think Mario Maker have a lot of more interesting level than what Nintendo have produced.

It's a solid and respectable Mario game and I like the challenge mode, but even within the NSMB series I would place the sadly maligned NSMB2 above it on the basis of level deign and natural feeling control (better sense of inertia, which gives it a stronger sense of physicality imo).

NSMB 2 is the only game of the serie i didn't tried... So what you said is quite interesting. DS was awfully easy and without charm to me, Wii was a little better but not really interesting, U was a little better, have an incredible map but still fell short on the Level Design department. Will NSMB2 do it for me ? It's inspired by Mario Bros 3 if i look your post. What do you mean ?
 

smashballTaz

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Dec 7, 2014
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The squirrel suit is by far my most favourite new powerup, maybe since the fire flower? I love the feeling of gliding through the air with it, and the nifty tricks you can pull off once you've got the hang of its ability to let you briefly stick to walls. Sure Mario World's cape is great, but it meant you could usually fly over most of the levels to get to the end. I don't have the nostalgia for Mario Brothers 3's racoon suit that most people have as I never had SMB3 as a kid. I know I'm in the minority but I can never seen to into SMB3 whenever it out these days.

[Edit] Ah good point. I wonder whether it's input lag that's throwing me off whenever I try the Wii U VC version of SMB3? Does the Wii VC version have input lag?
 

Poimandres

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Jun 26, 2008
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1. New Super Luigi U
2. Super Mario Bros. 3
3. Donkey Kong Country Returns
4. Super Mario Bros.
5. N++
6. Super Mario World
7. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
8. New Super Mario U
9. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
10. New Super Mario Bros. 2
11. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
12. Rayman Origins
13. Super Meat Boy
14. Adventures of Little Ralph
15. Bubsy
16. Sonic the Hedgehog
17. Adventure Island
18. Mickey's Magical Quest
19. Little Nemo the Dream Master
20. Hermie Hopperhead

and all of those are better than Rayman Legends, New Super Mario Bros., Sonic 2&3, Ristar, Castle of Illusion, Duck Tales, Klonoa, The Lion King, Aladdin, Rocket Knight Adventures, and every Kirby game

Bubsy... You think Bubsy is better than all of the Sonic games, Rayman Legends, RKA? That sure is an opinion you've got there!
 

Nerrel

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Oct 13, 2014
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But to be honest, the squirrel isn't that much more interesting than the propeller mushroom.....

The squirrel suit would have been pretty good if it just had a little more power. Like an offensive attack, similar to the cat scratch from 3D World. Or being able to chain multiple jumps together in mid-air without losing your speed... If you could keep pressing ZL/ZR to boost yourself while gliding without that massive momentum drop, it would feel a little like the cape's "bounce" move that allowed you to fly long distances, just without the ability to fly in the first place. You'd have to climb to a height and glide first, so even then it would still be less powerful than the cape.

It just feels too minimal to only be able to float and bounce once, and the wall hang isn't useful that often. I like the way gliding with it feels a lot, it's just an underpowered item compared to the tanuki or cape.

That said, I'd really like it if the acorn were added to Mario Maker in a patch. It would be a lot of fun to design some courses around it.
 

Nocturnowl

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Jan 1, 2011
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The squirrel suit would have been pretty good if it just had a little more power. Like an offensive attack, similar to the cat scratch from 3D World. Or being able to chain multiple jumps together in mid-air without losing your speed... If you could keep pressing ZL/ZR to boost yourself while gliding without that massive momentum drop, it would feel a little like the cape's "bounce" move that allowed you to fly long distances, just without the ability to fly in the first place. You'd have to climb to a height and glide first, so even then it would still be less powerful than the cape.

It just feels too minimal to only be able to float and bounce once, and the wall hang isn't useful that often. I like the way gliding with it feels a lot, it's just an underpowered item compared to the tanuki or cape.

That said, I'd really like it if the acorn were added to Mario Maker in a patch. It would be a lot of fun to design some courses around it.

Bouncing off an enemy resets the glide back to its original state as well as the ability to boost yourself back up in the air once more, I'd say it's far from underpowered.

To see this taken to its most pointlessly convoluted conclusion here's one of the super play videos that abuses these traits of the wingsuit.
 

Ozium

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Sep 3, 2007
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tropical freeze gets way too much praise on GAF

it's not even as hard as some people say until the last world + bonus levels, otherwise it is pretty tedious to collect all the crap every level and it's just boring

mario > dkc

it was true in the 90s and it's true in the 10s
 

QueenOfThorns

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Jun 14, 2011
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tropical freeze gets way too much praise on GAF

it's not even as hard as some people say until the last world + bonus levels, otherwise it is pretty tedious to collect all the crap every level and it's just boring

mario > dkc

it was true in the 90s and it's true in the 10s

It was never true, friend. The Kong has always been superior.
 
Jul 19, 2012
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It has the best level design and it's the best looking one, that's for sure.

Sadly, the music is very lacking, and it has too many reused tunes from the previous games. It's sad 2D Mario is getting this treatment while other 2D Nintendo series like DK, Kirby, and Yoshi(Woolly Worlds not that horrid New Island soundtrack) get much better music.
 

Nerrel

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Bouncing off an enemy resets the glide back to its original state as well as the ability to boost yourself back up in the air once more, I'd say it's far from underpowered.

To see this taken to its most pointlessly convoluted conclusion here's one of the super play videos that abuses these traits of the wingsuit.

That's an extremely isolated scenario that requires a lot of practice and rehearsal to perform, and even then, I don't see anything powerful about it. It's slower and far more difficult than just running on foot. If the player were doing this in a sky themed level where there was no ground and bypassing all of the difficult platforming, then it would be something.

I think the lack of an offensive attack is the thing that most makes me feel like it's an incomplete powerup, not the gliding ability. Dropping little acorns to stun or knock out enemies while gliding actually would have been a pretty great attack for it.
 

Weltall Zero

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Mar 11, 2012
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It's not so much that the art style changed as the graphics got better. The differences are bigger from old to new because the visuals were so limited and advances in graphics are less and less immediately noticeable. The difference between SMB and SMB3 is much bigger than SMB3 and SMW and so on. The NSMB games simply build on the style the same way the past games did, and despite cries that they look the same they actually change the visuals such as backgrounds just as much.

People make like Mario radically changed art styles all the time or was a graphically complex showcase. Mario has always had a nice clean look.

He's right in that the New games have a more consistent theme among them, which is itself based on SMW: wavy layered ground with a layer of grass on top, capsule-shaped multicolored hills, geometric, 45º slanted rocks, and so on. Mario 1 (bricks/rocks) and 3 (wood) were markedly different. That said, there are only so many themes one can invent for a platform game, Mario 1's would look boring nowadays, and Mario 3 would look super weird (it was already kind of odd back then), so it's not necessarily a bad thing.
 

NathanS

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Jul 12, 2013
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I'd say NSMB series is more a conglomeration of art elements from SMB, SMB3 and SMW. It takes the World environment look well ditching the more unique looking things like the flip blocks. 3 has the mentioned stage look, tons of wood, that's ditched and outside of that it shares a lot with SMB, and often where the two differ NSMB takes from SMB, but it does give us all but two of the world themes used by NSMB. It takes a noticeable amount from SMB, yeah not the rock ground, but for example the brick blocks look far more like they do in SMB then in SMB3 it also has the indestructible stone-ish blocks that make up pillars and and stairs like the end level ones in SMB. These were replaced with wooden ones in SMB3 and are almost nonexistent in SMW, but their back and sporting the same design as in SMB. Speaking of level ends the reuse of SMB's is notable in that both SMB3 and SMW did all new ones. That and level, notice who every single NSMB's 1-2 is an underground level? Yeah riffing on SMB, because SMB3 sure didn't have an underground level as it's second and neither did SMW.

The result is to make, depending on your point of view, Iconic visuals of Mario stripped of the distractions and focusing on what unites the games visuals, or a generic version of Mario visuals with none of the unique charms of the individual games it steals from.

And this iconic/generic is very intentional. NSMB for the DS was basically sold as “Hey remember 2d Mario? Here' he is again largely unchanged but with new levels!” NSMB has largely stuck to this motto. Not that they don't bring new things, but they don't want it be too front and center, they want it to feel familiar, they want it feel like more of the same.

Where SMB3 and SMW well keeping a lot of similarities to each other and SMB also wanted the feel to the them to be different enough that they felt like distinct new experiences and games hence SMW redesigning the fire flower and both of them changing how the end of the levels look, something most direct sequels would keep the same from one entry to another.

NSMB works from the assumption, that well you do need new things to spice up each entry at heart what most people want is something that is overall the same but with new levels, or even remixed/refined versions of old levels. Hence the focus on remixes for the sound track, hence why every level 2 is an underground level and every second world is a desert. Hence why we don't see the massive number of redesigns that World had or the stage play look of 3 and instead a far more standardized art style from game to game, and even standardized level ends and physics. It's not that the makers can't come up with new things to fill those slots, they actively decided not to, because they think doing otherwise would put people off.
 

Nocturnowl

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That's an extremely isolated scenario that requires a lot of practice and rehearsal to perform, and even then, I don't see anything powerful about it. It's slower and far more difficult than just running on foot. If the player were doing this in a sky themed level where there was no ground and bypassing all of the difficult platforming, then it would be something.

I think the lack of an offensive attack is the thing that most makes me feel like it's an incomplete powerup, not the gliding ability. Dropping little acorns to stun or knock out enemies while gliding actually would have been a pretty great attack for it.

I was actually just talking about how the jump/glide resets when bouncing off enemies with that video being the quickest example I could find.
Basically I'm just pointing out its flight potential isn't that minimal, especially since enemies are often all over the place.

I'm fine with it not having an attack lest it end up like the cape situation in SMW where you pretty much never take a fire flower over it.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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Interesting thread, coming from the Mario World Vs 3 debates. I think this is the best LTTP I could find to comment in.

I do think NSMB U is the best 2D Mario since World. Previous NSMB games weren't bad at all, but they still played second-fiddle to the greats. But I'm glad they tried something new - reimagining back-to-basics Mario with new mechanics and physics - than be retro indulgences.

While I skipped 2, and was apathetic to Wii since I never managed to play it in multiplayer, U immediately seemed like a big step up in ambition and scope and that's exactly what it was.

The levels made superb use of that extra screen space, the backgrounds were majestic, the level design was consistently excellent while being continually more challenging, the world map was a great way to hint at more hidden secrets.

Nintendo was right to stick it in the NSMB series, while that probably meant the game never received a fair-shake from most people, U is still the embodiment of everything Nintendo had been doing with the series: the physics, enemy designs and level furniture definitely fit in with the series.

Speaking strictly from its gameplay and level design it probably is my favourite 2D Mario game, up until recently I thought it and NSMBWii were pretty close in quality but going back to the blurry old Wii game with its shockingly drab appearance just makes NSMBU feel that much stronger.
Now why oh why did they not overhaul the music?!

To be fair, the overworld theme and atheletic overworld music were pretty great, while fitting the tempo of the platforming. Unlike NSMB 2 and Wii it didn't feel like they just phoned it in the audio presentation.