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New Super Luigi U review

See how the other half lives (hint: dangerously)

Luigi's a big green ball of contradictions. He likes to act the tough guy and in the Paper Mario series he's often heard bemoaning the fact that his big bro gets the lion's share of the adventures, but let's face it, he's just not cut out to be the hero.

He's as cowardly as green custard and his mental skittishness is embodied in his every moment. Compared to Mario's composed, precise moments, Luigi floats around the Mushroom Kingdom as though his feet were made of tiny, startled horses.

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Leaps see him flutter high and far into the air as if determined to crash into something before he hits ground. While Mario at full pelt can screech to a halt on a sixpence, Luigi's momentum keeps him going for just that little bit too long, like a caravan slowly tipping over a cliff.

The Gangly Green One's wild movements make him a far harder beast to tame than his brother, which in turn makes this DLC pack a far tougher proposition than its parent game, even before you consider any of the other changes.

Bruce Spring-Green

Despite the colour of the box, this is not a game for greenhorns. New Super Luigi U positions itself as the Lost Levels to New Super Mario Bros. U's Super Mario Bros; a punishing gauntlet of ultra-tough levels geared to expert players.

Stages are dense with enemies and light on breathing room, with later levels spaced with lonely, isolated platforms and moving podiums that swoop across the landscape as erratically as our unlikely hero. More often than not, they're framed on all sides by crushy spiky pillars or those especially large variants of Piranha Plants.

To reach the pole at the end, then, more often than not you have to sprint through the level at full speed, using your instincts (and a fair few of your extra lives) to find the level's sweet spots. In case you didn't get the memo, you're only given 100 seconds to complete each level - meaning the panic-inducing hurry-up klaxon sounds the instant the stage appears on screen.

New Super Luigi U's haste-driven structure makes sense as an expansion pack. Two-dimensional Mario platformers are at their best when they demand that you become one with the level design, exploiting every last carefully placed koopa and goomba to sprint to the finish line. This is why the time challenges were for many the best part of New Super Mario Bros. U, and it's smart to build an entire game around this ethos. While Luigi U is pleasingly merciless, though, we can't help but feel that swapping Mario for his skiddy sibling isn't a low blow too far.

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You might remember that Nintendo released a video a few months back detailing the difference in movement between Mario and Luigi. It seemed faintly ridiculous at the time, but that video is rarely far from your mind during play. You're always acutely aware of the fact you're in control of the lesser of the two bros. Luigi U asks you to tackle expert-level stages with a slightly different tool and it makes nailing the perfect run slightly less intuitive than you'd like.

Upon completing the main game levels do sprout a Mario block that enable you to go back to the original physics, but stages are designed for Luigi and end up feeling a bit 'wrong'. We'd have preferred a level pack that taxed skills we already had to one that threw you into the deep end on your first day on the job.

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  1. smikey666 Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 08:36

    I personally prefer the luigi version it gives more of a challenge than the often excessively simple Mario bros u.
    but then I've always liked luigi more than Mario not really sure why.

    For me the score is some what harsh but then I don't buy games based on score so I can live with that.

  2. Twinkle Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 09:54

    Its good but many of us are missing Mario. Luigi jumps differently than Mario.

  3. OrangeRakoon Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 10:35

    Luigi floats around the Mushroom Kingdom as though his feet were made of tiny, startled horses.

    Quote of the year

  4. IRNBRU64 Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 17:31

    Looks exciting, really exciting, particularly with mates. 2D mario is SOOOO much better with mates, BUT! I doubt it'll be as good for as long because of super mario 3D land.

  5. K-tet Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 19:01

    This review is also known as "Mummy! The game's taunting me!" *cries in a corner*

    Seriously, this game will have you throwing tantrums if you're not used to the steep difficulty curve. They're just as bad as those stupidly difficult Coin Rush levels in NSMB2. Nabbit is indeed a 'get out of jail free' card, but the game's naturally so difficult that using Nabbit is nothing short of a cop out.

    Definitely worth a medium review score, because there are very few that would put themselves through the wringers. Those that do however, when they do complete the game, are going to feel an immense sense of satisfaction and pride. It's a real winner in that respect, but if you're on the fence, I feel you'd be better off waiting for the game to be released physically before you give it a spin. If you don't like it then, at least you've saved the trouble of wasting money on a digital download you absolutely didn't feel comfortable about in the first place.

  6. stormsinger Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 20:05

    While I agree that this game probably isn't quite as refined as Mario's recent outings, it still makes a refreshing change from the same old, same old. Perhaps seeing Luigi in an environment traditionally associated with Mario kind of jars a little for now-hopefully, if Nintendo make some other games like this, we'll grow more accustomed to the new play style.
    Here's hoping!

  7. Gargravarr Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 20:52

    Does anyone know if the physical copy will be a limited release? I'm trying to decide whether I should snap it up while I can because it'll get as hard to find/expensive as a Gamecube copy of Twilight Princess, or just wait and get it during a gaming dry spell or something because it's not going anywhere. I know I'll always be able to get the downloadable version but I'd prefer to save my console's memory if possible.

  8. TheRexFactor Saturday 6th Jul 2013 at 21:07

    Does anyone know if the physical copy will be a limited release? I'm trying to decide whether I should snap it up while I can because it'll get as hard to find/expensive as a Gamecube copy of Twilight Princess, or just wait and get it during a gaming dry spell or something because it's not going anywhere. I know I'll always be able to get the downloadable version but I'd prefer to save my console's memory if possible.

    I believe they've said the physical release will only be a thing for 2013. Year of Luigi and all that. So it'll become limited alright

  9. CraigEmberson Sunday 7th Jul 2013 at 00:04

    Am I the only one who is disappointed with games like NSMBU and Nintendo Land. NSMBU is too hard, even for me as an advanced gamer. I'm the kind of person who gets as good as I can but never improves, which makes things hard for me.

    As for Nintendo Land, it bugs me that I never have people around me who WANT to play the multiplayer games with me (they're just not interested) and the games get to a point, as if the devs have just "made it hard just for the sake of it". I don't agree with things just being made purposely hard, unless the mechanics call for it or naturally make it a challenge. A game like Skyward Sword did that perfectly but games like these just throw things in bigger numbers or make it hard just to mess with you. I don't like those kinds of games.

  10. imbusydoctorwho Tuesday 9th Jul 2013 at 12:28

    Pre-ordered the retail edition,and I can't wait.

  11. mammadot Friday 2nd Aug 2013 at 11:06

    I have just finished superstar Road on SuperLuigi U and nothing after.... :?: ... is there somewhere else to go ? It is a great game as is Supermario U although SLU kept you on your toes more with the time limit. Due to downloading I find it great to be able to click from one to the other. Have not quite completed SMU but my skills have improved because of SLU. Could play them all day. Hope they make more :) :D

  12. ONMisreal2401 Sunday 11th Aug 2013 at 09:48

    Get Alex in the main team to replace Chris instead of those special guests, PLEASE

  13. lrulesok Thursday 29th Aug 2013 at 18:03

    It is much better than super mario as it is harder and more challenging

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