With a new Nintendo system inevitably comes a new title starring video gaming's most iconic Italian plumbers. Naturally, Nintendo had a demo for the new, tablet-assisted WiiU game at E3 2012. A quick look showed that Nintendo still has the touch.
The basic platforming of New Super Mario Bros. U matches with the styles in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The classic 3-D Mario style, chaotic four-player cooperative play, and other essentials are all in place. The demo levels seem oddly designed, with large numbers of items poorly placed relative to the surrounding platforms, as if there are gaps still waiting to be filled.
Enter the fifth supported player, wielding a Wii Tablet. This user does not play as an on-screen character; instead, he can manipulate the map by tapping any empty space to put a new platform in place. Naturally, the maps for this mode are designed to encourage the kind of shenanigans that can ensue. A mean player, due to the platform limit, may not be able to stop a persistent Mario and crew but can certainly annoy them. A helpful player can provide the missing link to reach secrets and optimize runthroughs. Two-player asymmetric cooperative speedrunning seems to be part of the plan for the game, providing an interesting window into the kinds of odd experiences the Wii U might create.
Alongside this larger shift in the game, there are several smaller enhancements. The biggest demonstrated new item is the Flying Squirrel suit. Unlike the famous Tanooki suit and Galaxy's classic Bee suit, the Flying Squirrel suit does not allow for true flying — only long-distance gliding. However, this gliding is exceptionally efficient and quite fast. Most certainly, it's going to allow for a bevy of secrets in later levels in the final game and possibly be key to many optimized runs for players who seek level optimization.
Also known to be included is at least one new Yoshi color: purple Yoshis, who can inflate like balloons and have gliding benefits similar to the Flying Squirrel suit.
While there is more to come from New Super Mario Bros. U, its release date this holiday season means it will likely be one of the first big hits for Nintendo's latest console.
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