Nobody opts for Luigi unless he’s holding a ghost-sucking vacuum – and even then it’s only because you can’t control anybody else – or if he’s already kicked Mario out of an existing game. Case in point: the oddly titled Wii U game (currently DLC) New Super Luigi U, which is effectively a remix of New Super Mario Bros U with the green-hatted bro at the centre.
Newly revisited levels, tighter time limits, quirkly little jump? Present and correct.
New Super Luigi U is a curio. It’s a little costly – eighteen quid for the DLC and more if you want to buy it on disk (which won’t need NSMBU to play) – and feels very much squeezed in sideways. Patched into the original Wii U game like some kind of last-minute retro-fit, Luigi’s adventures are resigned to hiding behind a little green button past the splash screen, which itself has been pushed and squeezed to accommodate the new logo.
Once in, it’s business as usual. Luigi’s story doesn’t particularly differ from Mario’s – despite a cute little switcheroo in the initial cut-scene – and the overall level map and structure remains the same. The differences lay in the levels, which have been adapted from the original set and compressed, with the difficulty curve tightened and the time limits dramatically toughened. Luigi’s for the hardcore?
Probably. It’s hard to imagine this particular outing being a big draw for Nintendo’s mainline family market – the allure of all new levels just isn’t there, and although each course has been adjusted to fit Luigi’s enhanced jumping ability (and ridiculous inertia on the ground) they’re still built from the same set of familiar building blocks.
That said, concessions have been made, and the introduction of invulnerable player character Nabbit (who replaces Mario in multiplayer and can be selected in solo mode if you’re really struggling) at least shows the platform holder are happy to let anyone have a go, regardless of skill level.
And there’s still that joyful charm to the graphics and gameplay, that glorious mix of deep colour and playful abandon that seemingly only Nintendo can manufacture. New Super Luigi U still offers a diverse platforming experience but it’s one that most Wii U owners will have already seen much of. As the first party line-up settles to a slower pace of output Luigi will likely find open, welcome arms, but don’t go into this thinking it’s an easy ride because you might be slightly disappointed.
Regardless, Luigi U is notable for being a substantial piece of DLC the likes of which the publisher has generally steered clear of. It’s lengthy, well produced and feels complete in itself, and although I can’t shake the feeling that the price is a little on the high side, the fact that it’s considerably cheaper than the physical product has to be applauded.
Fans of the original will find much to keep them occupied with this side story. Luigi’s fun to control (although takes a while to get used to) and it seems that only Nintendo can continue to push out high quality, core platforming games so your choices are naturally limited. Beating the game 100% will take a while, and that’s part of the fun, but keep your expectations in check.
The DLC is out now, the standalone disk is out at the end of next month.