This review was written using a review copy of the game from Nintendo.
New Super Luigi U isn’t really a stand alone game, it’s a piece of add-on content to New Super Mario Bros U. Originally this pack was released digitally and could be played via Mario Bros U, but in order to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Luigi a disk based version was released. Because it was originally based as add-on content, you should always remember that it is just that, extra content for another well established game.
In Luigi U you play as the famous Lugi, there is no Mario in sight, not even in the four player mode. He’s an interesting character and boasts a special jump technique which in some instances will allow you to jump slightly farther and stay in the air longer, but only just. His tendency to slip and slide a little after picking up running speed is rather off putting and can cause some frustrations when you happen to fall off the end of the environments. Despite that he’s enjoyable to play with and his adorable accent is nice to hear when you’ve spent the last half an hour trying to complete a level, “I’m a winner!“, really Luigi or are we?
The world is exactly the same as that you’d find in New Super Mario Bros U, the only difference being that there are new courses to negotiate, 82 new courses to be exact. As is the norm you must navigate your way through the worlds, as you pass one level the route to another will then open, this can become tedious after a while especially when you find yourself dying almost constantly and are aching to move forward.
The world is as beautiful as ever with interesting backdrops, intriguing enemy designs and a generally colourful environment which is sure to please children and adults alike. You can use either your TV or the gamepad to play Luigi U, and even though the screen on the gamepad is smaller it doesn’t take away anything from the game, in fact I found myself playing with the gamepad more often than not.
Courses are packed with a variety of layouts and content meaning that no two are the same, the inclusion of Toad houses along the world routes is also a neat idea as you can load up on a couple of extra lives or useful items that you can use in later levels should you wish to.
With most titles I’d expect the difficulty level to spike towards the end of the game or campaign, however Lugi U seems to have placed all of its courses in a barrel and mixed them up in to cocktail of randomness. You can get some easy levels once in a while but sometimes you overestimate how challenging a game such as this can be, I’ve spent more than a few minutes trying to complete a level only to have lost a handful or more lives.
Thankfully you can create save points once in a while, so if you’re stuck or have ran out of lives and still have some continues left, feel free to load up a save and continue. These saves are one time use only which is a shame, but it wouldn’t have a classic Nintendo game feel if there were infinite saves. I should also mention that major milestones in the game ‘story‘ will reward you with a checkpoint.
One game element which I’m sure most people wouldn’t enjoy is the limited amount of time in which you are given to complete each course, longer courses give you extra time when you pass through new doors or shoot down pipes but the standard courses don’t reward you with anything extra. 100 seconds might seem a lot of time, but for the completionists out there who enjoy taking all of those coins to the flag at the end might feel pinched for time towards the end.
There is a co-operative play option which allows you and 3 friends to all join in with the fun, I only managed to play with one other person. Even with different characters you’d sometimes be confused where exactly you were, combine that with players jumping almost constantly all over the joint and you get one sloppy, messy game. Taking your time was a better option but it’s not nearly as enjoyable and speeding through levels and just barely letting your feet touch the platform ahead of you.
This is a shame as I did enjoy playing with another person, however the experience as a whole was terrible and I was soon wanting to get back to my single player journey.