Today we are going to focus on the main Super Mario Bros games for the Wii U: New Super Mario Bros U, Super Mario 3D World, and Super Mario Maker.
Gamachronicles are multi-part features on a famous or noteworthy game series, diving into some of its most memorable moments and providing additional perspective on its history.
New Super Mario Bros U
New Super Mario Bros U started development shortly after the release of New Super Mario Bros Wii and took three years to develop. The game’s soundtrack was composed and produced by Shiho Fujii and Mahito Yokota, with Koji Kondo serving as sound advisor.
The game was initially titled New Super Mario Bros Mii, and was first revealed at E3 2011 as one of several tech demos demonstrating the capabilities of Wii U. The visual style was similar to New Super Mario Bros Wii, but featured high-definition graphics, and Mii characters were featured as playable characters alongside Mario and Luigi.
New Super Mario Bros U was published in 2012 by Nintendo for the Wii U.
Like most Mario games before it, New Super Mario Bros U was well received by both critics and fans alike.
IGN stated that “Nintendo’s approach here strikes a great balance in all areas, ranging from its difficulty to design to enemies and bosses”.
Joystiq commented “There’s a sense of wonder again, of exploration and discovery. I’m not quite prepared to say New Super Mario Bros. U fully recaptures the spark of Mario’s 2D heyday, but it’s an impressive step in the right direction.”
Game Informer considered it the best game in the New Super Mario Bros series, saying it has “some of the most creative NSMB levels Nintendo has created”.
In June 2003, Nintendo released downloadable content in celebration of the “Year of Luigi”, titled New Super Luigi U, which was announced along with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Luigi’s first appearance (in Mario Bros.)
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World was the sixth original 3D platform game in the series and the sequel to 2011’s Nintendo 3DS game Super Mario 3D Land. The game has Mario and friends attempting to rescue fairy-like creatures called Sprixies from Bowser, who invades a realm known as the Sprixie Kingdom.
The game introduced a power-up called the Super Bell, which turns the character into a cat, enabling them to climb walls and use a scratch attack, as well as a character selector.
The inspiration for the Double Cherry, an item that creates controllable clones of a player character, came late in development when a developer erroneously inserted an extra copy of Mario’s character model into a level.
The team was relieved to see that the game did not crash with two identical characters present, and were amused that both could be controlled simultaneously. Developers “scrambled” to include this feature in the final game.
Up to four players may control player characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad. Additionally, Rosalina appears as a hidden, unlockable fifth playable character.
Similar to their appearances in Super Mario Bros 2, each of the characters possesses unique abilities and controls differently:
Mario has balanced running speed and jump height.
Luigi jumps higher and falls slower, but has lower traction.
Peach can jump and shortly float through the air, but runs slowly.
Toad runs the fastest, but cannot jump as high and falls faster.
Rosalina can use the spin attack move as seen in the Super Mario Galaxy games, but has the slowest running speed.
Players could select any of the five characters, and up to four players could explore the same level simultaneously using a shared pool of lives. Players were also able to pick up, carry and throw each other to either help or hinder each other’s progress.
Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker is a side-scrolling game and game creation system developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii U, released worldwide in September 2015.
Players are able to create and play their own custom courses, based on Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros U, share them online, and download and play courses designed by other players.
Despite the Wii U’s relatively low install base, by May 2016, over seven million courses had been created in Super Mario Maker by players worldwide, and played over 600 million times.
Super Mario Maker was originally conceived as an internal tool for use by Nintendo’s internal development team, however, the team quickly realized the tool’s potential as a game and pitched the idea to senior game designer Takashi Tezuka.
Just prior to the game’s launch, Nintendo partnered with Facebook to host a special “hackathon” event, where 150 Facebook employees were tasked with constructing courses using Super Mario Maker. The winning team was given the opportunity to create a course to be featured in the game on its launch.
Super Mario Maker was released worldwide in September 2015. Each copy of the game was packaged with a 96-page booklet of creative ideas, which was also available as a PDF download.
Super Mario Maker was generally well received by critics, with Polygon’s Griffin McElroy saying, he had “a tremendous amount of fun playing, but the way it developed that newfound appreciation for something I’ve known my whole life was the game’s biggest accomplishment”.
An adapted port of the game for the Nintendo 3DS was released in December 2016. A sequel, Super Mario Maker 2, was released for the Nintendo Switch in June 2019.