In multiplayer, the player with the GamePad will be able to tap the screen to make platforms appear. While not entirely imaginative, it does make Mario U more accessible to casual players that may otherwise find Mario platformers too intimidating and difficult. While its impact on gameplay is quite minimal, this mode does a better job of engaging a second player more than, say, collecting star bits with the Wii Remote in Super Mario Galaxy. Mario U's other multiplayer offerings are a blast. Four players can play with Wii Remotes through the entire campaign, and as in New Super Mario Bros Wii, you'll find yourselves hurting each other just as often (if not more so) than helping each other. Accidentally killing a co-op partner by stomping on them before a jump makes for laughs, but the real fun comes when you're playing Coin Battle. As a competitive mode, you'll be using all those dirty Koopa shell-throwing tricks intentionally, as you try to collect more coins than your fellow players. It's a blast. New Super Mario Bros U may not sell the Wii U by showing off the GamePad in any meaningful, innovative ways. Instead, it sells Nintendo's new hardware by simply being the best 2D Mario game since Yoshi's Island. Combining the best elements of Mario 3 with the best elements of Mario World, all while adding its own unique flavor, New Super Mario Bros U is easily a must-have for the Wii U early adopter.
The GamePad doesn't offer much besides Boost Mode
This New Super Mario Bros U review was based on a retail Wii U version of the game provided by the publisher. The game will be available on November 18th. Local multiplayer requires additional Wii Remotes (up to 4). Online functionality could not be tested, as Nintendo Network was unavailable before publishing.