Everything We Know About New Super Mario Bros. U

Countdown to Wii U:
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The November 18 release date of New Super Mario Bros. U marks the first time a Super Mario Bros. game has launched with a Nintendo home console since Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System WAY back in 1991. As such, we’re very excited about it and have been watching its progression like the Wii U-crazed gamer-hawks we are, and have compiled basically every piece of available information right here in one convenient place!

Table of Contents

1: What is New Super Mario Bros. U?

1.1: Game story
1.2: Development history
1.3: Release information
1.4: Wii U features

2: Items & Power-ups

2.1: Power-ups
2.2: Yoshi types
2.3: Other items

3: The Game World

3.1: The World Map
3.2: Worlds and Levels

4: Enemies & Bosses

4.1: Enemies
4.2: Bosses

5: Game Modes

5.1: Solo Play
5.2: Co-op Play
5.3: Boost Mode
5.4: Boost Rush Mode
5.5: Challenge Mode
5.6: Coin Battle Mode

6: Official Trailers

1: What is New Super Mario Bros. U?

New Super Mario Bros. U is the Wii U direct sequel to 2009’s incredibly successful New Super Mario Bros. Wii for Wii. It carries on most of the unique gameplay features introduced by its predecessor, including four-player simultaneous multiplayer, but adds some additional Wii U features, such as Off-TV Play on the Wii U GamePad, the new “Boost Mode” and “Boost Rush Mode,” and high-definition visuals.

The game will be released exclusively on Wii U.

1.1: Game story

wiiu_nsmbu_scrn01_wpFrom the official New Super Mario Bros. U website:

It was just another lovely dinner at the castle with Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach…until suddenly the ferocious Koopa fleet invades Mushroom Kingdom airspace, and launches a full-on assault! With Bowser at the helm and his Koopalings each in their own custom airships, the castle is under siege with the Princess trapped inside — and the heroes have been cast out to the furthest reaches of the Mushroom Kingdom. Can they make it back in time to save the day?

1.2: Development history

New Super Mario Bros. U was first shown at E3 2011 under the guise of “New Super Mario Bros. Mii.” The prototype game looked largely like New Super Mario Bros. Wii for Wii, but added HD resolution graphics and Mii characters as playable heroes, and featured Off-TV Play on the Wii U GamePad. The game was never officially announced for release, but was instead presented as a tech demo.

In early 2012, Nintendo revealed that a new title in the New Super Mario Bros. line was headed to Wii U as a launch title, and that it would be “based on” the New Super Mario Bros. Mii demo. Just prior to E3 2012, Nintendo showed a demo presentation for their new online network, called “Miiverse,” that showed a short clip of a level from the new Mario game as well as delivering a peek at the game’s enhanced World Map.

During their E3 2012 press conference, Nintendo fully revealed New Super Mario Bros. U, with a trailer that showed new graphical assets and level backgrounds, baby Yoshis, and the brand-new Flying Squirrel Suit.

wiiu_nsmbu_scrn12_wpGame producer Takashi Tezuka says that the multiplayer feature from New Super Mario Bros. Wii got a lot of fan support, so they wanted to make a new game that improved upon that experience. One of the big things they wanted to address was adding more characters, so they decided to include Mii characters to give players unlimited options in terms of characters. Mii characters can be shown in greater detail on the Wii U due to its high-resolution graphical capabilities, making it easier to distinguish between them.

They devised the game’s “Boost Mode” as an “assist mode” that used the unique touch features of the Wii U GamePad to interact with the game in different ways beyond traditional platforming.

The new title, New Super Mario Bros. U, is designed to draw attention to the fact that this is a game that will be enjoyed by players when it launches with Wii U.

1.3: Release information

New Super Mario Bros. U will be available as a day-one launch title for Nintendo’s new home console, Wii U, which hits store shelves November 18, 2012. It will be available both as a retail title and as a digital download on the Nintendo eShop for $59.99.

Customers who wish to buy the game digitally have three options:

  • As with current digital shop purchases, you can buy games directly from the eShop with a credit or debit card.
  • Nintendo recently introduced download codes as a means of securing transactions online, and you’ll be able to buy download codes for your 3DS and Wii U games as well.
  • They’ll also be offering pre-paid download cards, which can be purchased instead of physical media at retail stores.

1.4: Wii U features

New Super Mario Bros. U will support a few Wii U specific features. Players will be able to leave in-game messages and share their high scores via Miiverse, a fifth player will be able to participate with four other co-op players using the Wii U GamePad, and a solo player will be able to play the game in Off-TV Mode using the Wii U GamePad.

Though Wii U supports up to 1080p HD video output, thee game will run in 720p HD. The game will feature “some motion controls” for a few choice moments, and players who use Wii Remotes will need to shake the remote to perform the spin jump and other actions. Playing in Solo Mode on the Wii U GamePad allows you to press one of the shoulder buttons instead of using waggle for these actions.

2: Items & Power-ups

As with previous New Super Mario Bros. games, Mario and Luigi can collect various items and power-ups to help them reach coins and secrets, defeat enemies, or get past obstacles. New Super Mario Bros. U brings back classic power-ups like the Fire Flower and Ice Flower, while introducing new ones such as the Super Acorn.

2.1: Power-ups

When Mario touches a power-up, he gains a special ability or attribute. Mario will begin the game as Small Mario, who is short, can’t break blocks, and will lose a life as soon as he is hit by an enemy. Collecting power-ups will be key to survival against the Koopa armies.

These are the power-ups we know about so far:

Super Mushroom: This classic power-up transforms Small Mario into Super Mario. He’ll grow in height, can sustain one extra hit of damage, and can break Brick Blocks with jumps and ground pounds. Extra power-ups gained beyond Super Mario will grant yet another extra hit.

Super Acorn: This all-new power-up acorn transforms Mario into Flying Squirrel Mario. While wearing the Flying Squirrel Suit, Mario can glide for short distances, get a small vertical boost, and cling briefly to walls.

Fire Flower: The Fire Flower transforms Mario into Fire Mario, which gives him the power to toss fireballs at enemies. These can incinerate certain enemies as well as melt ice.

Ice Flower: The Ice Flower returns from New Super Mario Bros. Wii and retains its previous functions. Balls of ice can freeze some enemies, allowing them to be picked up and thrown or shattered with a ground pound.

Penguin Suit: The Penguin Suit has all the powers of the Ice Flower, plus the power to slide at high speeds along ice and swim freely underwater.

Mini-Mushroom: This tiny blue mushroom turns Mario into Mini Mario. While in this form, Mario can fit into tight spaces, run on water, and run along walls. If Mario sustains damage in this form, he’ll lose a life.

P-Acorn: This special Super Acorn lets Mario glide through an entire level before its extra powers expire. It can only be obtained from the mischievous creature Nabbit.

Super Star: This item grants Mario temporary invincibility. While bathed in the power of the Super Star, Mario can run right through enemies to defeat them.

1-up Mushroom: This green mushroom will grant Mario an extra life.

3-up Moon: This super-rare crescent moon icon will grant Mario three extra lives!

2.2: Yoshi types

Like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, this game includes Yoshis. You’ll be able to ride Yoshi around and eat enemies. This game also re-introduces Baby Yoshis, which first appeared in Super Mario World, giving them a greater role in gameplay as their own class of power-up.

These are the types of Yoshis that will appear in New Super Mario Bros. U:

Baby Balloon Yoshi: This magenta-colored baby Yoshi can inflate like a balloon while held, giving Mario an extra vertical boost and slowing his descent.

Baby Bulb Yoshi: This yellow baby Yoshi can light the way in dark places. Shaking it will stun nearby enemies.

Baby Bubble Yoshi: This blue baby Yoshi can spit bubbles that engulf foes, turning them into coins.

Adult Yoshi: Mario and Co. can hitch a ride on an Adult Yoshi, using him to gobble up enemies and perform a Flutter Kick to reach certain coins and platforms that would otherwise be out of reach.

2.3: Other items

There are a few other items that you can use to collect power-ups and find secrets:

Berry: Yoshis love these juicy berries, which grow on trees in certain levels. Feeding your Yoshi enough of them will cause a power-up to appear.

Red Ring: Pass through a Red Ring to cause eight Red Coins to appear. If you grab them all, you’ll get a power-up for your trouble.

Green Ring: Pass through a Green Ring, and sets of spinning Green Coins will appear. Collecting them all will get you something good…

P-Switch: Hitting these switches will turn all empty Brick Blocks into Gold Coins and vice-versa. Sometimes hidden Blue Coins will appear to guide you to secrets and hidden pathways.

3: The Game World

New Super Mario Bros. U is set in the fictional land of the Mushroom Kingdom. This time around, however, we get a different glimpse at the various classic worlds that typically feature in New Super Mario Bros. games, like the Grass World, the Desert World, and so on, as these regions have been re-imagined and given graphical overhauls that make them look different from their previous incarnations.

The World Map

Previous New Super Mario Bros. games have featured World Maps, giving you the option to wander between levels and worlds at your leisure, looking for branching pathways as you progress. New Super Mario Bros. U takes a leaf out of Super Mario World‘s book and offers a fully-connected World Map where all the various game “worlds” are included in one consistent overworld.

You’ll be able to track your distance from Peach’s Castle, your main objective point, as you travel. You’ll also be able to open shortcuts that cut across the map, allowing for non-linear progression through and between worlds.

Worlds and Levels

For the first time in a Super Mario Bros. game since Super Mario World, each of the Worlds has its own unique name – and for the first time ever in a side-scrolling entry in the Super Mario Bros. franchise, each of these levels will have a name of its own as well! A handful of level names from Worlds 1-5 have been made known to us:

Acorn Plains

Course 1 Acorn Plains Way
Course 2 Tilted Tunnel
Fortress Crushing Cogs Tower
Course 3 Yoshi Hill
Course 4 Mushroom Heights
Course 5 Rise of the Piranha Plants
Castle Lemmy’s Swingback Castle

Layer Cake Desert

Course 1 Stone-Eye Zone
Course 2 Perilous Pokey Cave
Course 3 Fire Snake Cavern
Fortress Layer Cake Fortress
Course 4 Spike’s Spouting Sand
Course 6 Blooming Lakitus
Castle – Morton’s Compactor Castle

Sparkling Waters

Course 1 Waterspout Beach
Course 2 Tropicial Refresher
Course 3 Above the Cheep Cheep Sea
Fortress Giant Skewer Tower
Course 4 Urchin Shoals
Course 5 Dragoneel’s Undersea Grotto

Frosted Glacier

Course 1 Spinning Star Sky
Course 2 Cooligan Fields
Fortress Freezing Rain Tower
Course 3 Prickly Goombas
Course 4 Scaling the Mountainside
Course 5 Icicle Caverns
Ghost House Swinging Ghost House
Castle Wendy’s Shifting Castle

Soda Jungle

Course 1 Jungle of the Giants
Course 2 Bridge Over Poisoned Water
Fortress Snake Block Tower
Course 3 Bramble Jungle
Course 4 Painted Swamp Land
Course 5 Deepsea Ruins
Castle Iggy’s Volcanic Castle

4: Enemies & Bosses

The Koopa Clan is back in force, bringing the full weight of their armies to bear against Princess Peach’s Castle. Standard enemies will appear in the fields, caves, skies, and castles scattered about the land, while tougher foes will await you at the end of each fortress and castle.

4.1: Enemies

Bowser has a number of foot soldiers at his disposal. Here’s a list of the ones we’ve spotted so far:

Goomba: Goombas are mushroom-capped brownish enemies that simply wander back and forth. A quick bounce on the head will defeat them.

Paragoomba: Paragoombas are Goombas with wings, allowing them to jump and sometimes fly across the stage. Jumping on them rids them of their wings, allowing you to defeat them more easily.

Grand Goomba: Grand Goombas are large Goombas that, when jumped on, split into two normal-sized Goombas.

Mega Goomba: Mega Goombas appear only in the various regions of Huge Island. Jumping on their heads splits them up into two Grand Goombas.

Goomb-Acorn: These enemies look and behave like Goombas, but wear an acorn-like shell on their heads.

Koopa Troopa: The foot soldiers of the Koopa Clan. Jumping on them once causes them to retreat into their shells, which can be jumped on or kicked to send them sliding across the stage and into enemies and blocks. You can also pick them up by holding the dash button and throw them at things at your leisure. Green ones will mindlessly walk off cliffs; red ones are more cautious and will turn around at a precarious edge. They are susceptible to fireballs as well.

Koopa Paratroopa: A Koopa Troopa with wings. Like the Paragoomba, jumping on it once causes its wings to disappear, turning it into a regular Koopa. Sometimes they’ll bounce back and forth along the stage; others will fly along pre-determined flight patterns.

Gargantuan Koopa Troopa: These massive Koopa Troopas only appear on Huge Island. Other than their size, they behave just like any other Koopa Troopa. You can kick their giant shells, but can’t pick them up.

Spike: These little green guys spit out spiky spheres that they then toss at the Bros. Avoid the spiked ball and jump on their heads to make short work of them.

Hammer Bros.: These green-shelled Koopas toss hammers at passing heroes. They’ll jump up and down at intervals, often between layers of blocks, to block your path.

Fire Bros.: Fire Bros. are like Hammer Bros., but have red shells and throw fireballs instead of hammers. Fireballs will keep bouncing along the ground until they hit something – don’t let that something be you!

Ice Bros.: Ice Bros. behave much like Fire Bros., but instead toss ice balls that have the same effect as those thrown by Ice Mario. Avoid them at all costs!

Sumo Bros.: These burly Koopas will jump up and down, sending shockwaves along the ground below them. If they’re standing on a set of blocks, that shockwave will pass through the blocks and strike the ground underneath.

Buzzy Beetle: Buzzy Beetles behave much like Koopa Troopas, but can’t be harmed by fire. You’ll be able to pick them out by their shiny blue shells.

Bob-omb: These wind-up bombs walk around for a little while before exploding. You can jump on them to render their legs useless and toss them at certain blocks and enemies to cause general destruction. Just don’t get caught in the blast!

nsmbu-gameinformer-8Monty Mole: These moles burrow out of the ground and walls to attack you. Don’t let them catch you by surprise!

Flying Squirrel: These critters float around in the skies of Acorn Plans, and have the same abilities as Flying Squirrel Mario. Sometimes they carry Super Acorns that you can pick up if you defeat them.

Piranha Plant: These man-eating plants tend to hide out in pipes. They’ll pop out at regular intervals to chomp anything that’s come too close. You can defeat them easily with fireballs and other non-jumping attacks.

Super Piranha Plant: These massive Piranha Plants appear on Huge Island. Otherwise they’re pretty much the same as regular Piranha Plants.

Venus Fire Trap: These fire-breathing Piranha Plants can spit fireballs! Watch their trajectories and dodge the incoming projectiles, then defeat or avoid them!

Muncher: These fledgling Piranha Plants are a bit smaller and easier to avoid… but unfortunately they often come in large groups.

Pokey: These sentient cacti will try to suck the water out of anything that comes near them. You can blast them with fireballs to break up their various segments.

Chain Chomp: These vicious dog-like creatures will try to bite you if you get too close, but they’re all on pretty tight leashes! You can ground pound the stakes holding them in place to set them free, at which point they’ll scramble out of the way.

Bullet Bill: Bill Blaster cannons will fire these angry bullets at you if you come within range. You can jump on a Bullet Bill to stop it in its tracks.

nsmbu-gameinformer-2Torpedo Ted: Torpedo Teds are Bullet Bill’s underwater brothers. They will travel in a straight line and can’t be defeated in traditional means. Some of them are heat-seeking and will follow you until they hit something.

Cheep-Cheep: These small fish look harmless, but they’ll hurt you if you get too close! Dispatch them with fireballs.

Deep-Cheep: This Cheep-Cheep variety is more aggressive and will track you if you swim within range. Luckily, they’re still weak against fireballs.

Blooper: These squid-like creatures move in diagonal patterns to try to suck the life out of you. Avoid them by swimming underneath them, or sizzle them with fireballs.

Huckit Crab: These beach crabs will pick up rocks from the sands and huck them at you. Avoid their projectiles and jump on them to dispatch them.

Urchin: These spiny creatures live underwater. You can defeat them with fireballs, but otherwise you ought to avoid them.

Mega Urchin: These are, as the name suggests, giant-sized Urchins. They’ll get in your way in some levels, but can’t be defeated in the ordinary means.

wiiu_nsmbu_scrn09_wpDragoneel: These massive serpent-like creatures will chase after you if you enter their domain. You can slow them a tiny bit with fireballs, but it’ll only get you so far.

Cooligan: These penguin-like beasts slide back and forth along the ice. You can jump on them to defeat them.

Boo: These shy ghosts will turn invisible and freeze if you look at them, but will pursue you if you leave your back turned. They can’t be defeated by standard attacks.

Boo Buddy: These Boos aren’t so shy. They’ll often circle around certain areas to block your progress.

Dry Bones: These undead Koopas can be jumped on, but won’t stay down forever. They’ll reassemble and come after you anew. You can only really defeat them by freezing them with an Ice Flower and shattering the ice.

Bony Beetle: These undead Buzzy Beetles are also tough to take down. They’ll sometimes send out spines to defend themselves. You can freeze and smash them like any other skeletal foes.

Fishbone: Fishbones are bony fish that swim back and forth underwater. Don’t let them see you, since they’ll give pursuit recklessly. Send them crashing into the walls, however, and they’ll go down without a fight.

Fuzzy: These bizarre “fuzzy” creatures will move mindlessly along pre-determined routes. Dispatch them with non-jumping attacks.

Podoboo: These fiery spirits hop in and out of lava in Bowser’s castles and fortresses. They’re tough to defeat, so it’s probably better to avoid them altogether.

Thwomp: These massive beasts of stone will wait in nooks and crannies in the ceiling and crush you if you try to pass underneath them. They’re resilient to pretty much any attack.

Thwimp: These smaller-sized Thwomps have a bit more mobility. They’ll jump back and forth to crush you instead of staying in one place.

Nabbit: This item-nabbing thief will sometimes steal power-ups from the Toads. Chase it down to get back the lost stuff – usually you’ll recover a P-Acorn along with the spoils.

4.2: Bosses

Bowser’s most loyal underlings wait for you in the fortresses and castles he’s erected across the land. Defeat them to access the lands beyond their keeps.

Boom Boom: The Koopalings’ loyal henchman guards the various Fortresses they’ve erected around the Mushroom Kingdom. Watch his attack patterns and jump on him three times to take him down.

Lemmy Koopa: Lemmy Koopa has set up shop in the Acorn Plains, and is the boss of Lemmy’s Swingback Castle. He likes to roll around on that bouncy ball of his and throws bombs at you as you approach.

Morton Koopa Jr.: Morton Koopa Jr.’s castle in Layer Cake Desert stands in your way. He’ll wield a magic hammer against you that can create shockwaves and conjure platforms in your way.

Wendy O. Koopa: Wendy Koopa’s castle in the Frosted Glacier blocks your way into the Soda Jungle. She’ll skate back and forth across the ice in her airship when you confront her and conjure her trademark magic ring attacks to cut you to pieces.

Larry Koopa: Larry wields a Magic Wand during his battle with you over Sparkling Waters.

Iggy Koopa: Iggy wields a Magic Wand during his battle with you over Soda Jungle.

Roy Koopa: Roy Koopa has set up shop in the mountainous regions of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Ludwig von Koopa: Ludwig von Koopa is the last of the Koopalings standing in your way.

Bowser Jr.: Bowser Jr. flies his airship, the Doom Ship, and will spring on you at various intervals. He has his own Koopa Clown Car that he’ll use to try to get the drop on you.

Bowser: The vicious King of the Koopas. He has invaded Peach’s Castle and tossed Mario and friends to the farthest reaches of the kingdom. Defeat his minions as you make his way to his stronghold!

5: Game Modes

New Super Mario Bros. U offers more game modes than any Mario game before it, including the classic story mode that can be played either solo or with friends, GamePad-enhanced Boost Mode and Boost Rush Mode, as well as Challenge Mode and Coin Battle.

5.1: Solo Play

Solo Play is the traditional single-player story mode. Players will progress along the World Map, with the path they take depending on which level exits they find. Levels can be replayed to discover new secrets. Players will be able to stock up on up to ten power-ups, which they can use from the World Map before entering a level.

5.2: Co-op Play

Co-op Play is like Solo Play, but with up to three additional players. These players can control Luigi, one of two colored Toads, or a Mii character. The screen will pan out to accomodate these other players if they get too far from one another.

When players lose a life in Co-op Play, as long as they have an additional life remaining and there is another player still standing, they’ll appear in a bubble and can re-join the adventure. Other players will have to pop the bubble to release the revived player.

5.3: Boost Mode

Boost Mode adds a fifth player to Co-op Mode who controls the game using the Wii U GamePad. By tapping on the screen, the Boost Mode player can create mid-air blocks to either help or hinder other players. Sometimes these blocks will spit out coins. The Boost Mode player can also tap enemies to stun them.

5.4: Boost Rush Mode

Boost Rush Mode is a special challenge mode that turns each course into an auto-scrolling level. Players will have to move efficiently to survive. Built in to the mode is a feature that speeds up the auto-scrolling as players grab more coins, so you can set better times if you grab more coins.

The mode is designed to be played cooperatively with a Boost Mode partner, as jumping between Boost Blocks can help the stage scroll even faster and will power up the Boost Mode player so he or she can defeat most on-screen enemies with a simple tap.

Like New Super Mario Bros. 2, Boost Rush Mode will be played in various “Course Pack” sets, with leaderboards indicating the best players for each of the Course Packs. Players will have a limited number of lives when playing in Boost Rush Mode.

5.5: Challenge Mode

Challenge Mode offers various specific targeted skills tests. Here’s the official description:

Challenge Mode tasks players with completing specific objectives, such as clearing a course without touching a single coin or touching the ground. There are four single-player Challenge categories: Time Attack, Coin Collection, 1-Up Rally and Special (miscellaneous challenges). Boost Mode Challenges require two players, with one player using the Wii U GamePad controller and the other using a Wii Remote controller. Once players complete a Challenge, the game saves a replay of the action so players can show off their accomplishments.

5.6: Coin Battle Mode

Coin Battle Mode returns from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but adds a level editor feature that allows players to manipulate coin placements using the Wii U GamePad:

Up to five players can play together and compete to see who can collect the most coins. One player will use the Wii U GamePad controller while the other four players use the Wii Remote controller. The player using the Wii U GamePad controller in Boost Mode can place Boost Blocks to help grab hard-to-reach coins. Players can also use the GamePad to edit and customize the coin layout in courses found only in Coin Battle. The coin layout can then be saved and played by the players using Wii Remote controllers.

6: Official Trailers

E3 2012 Debut Trailer

Wii U Preview Trailer