New Super Luigi U Review
First things first, New Super Luigi U isn't a standalone game so no New Super Mario Bros U, then no Super Luigi U for you. (Editor's Note: Since this review was written Nintendo has released a retail packaged version of New Super Luigi U) That being said, I'll assume that if you're still reading this that you own and have played New Super Mario Bros U and so we can dispense with the usual introductions to a game that are standard for reviews. In fact, describing how Super Luigi U opens will be quite easy, since it opens exactly the same as Super Mario Bros U does. Well, sort of. The polite dinner party that Princess Peach is hosting, and that soon gets violently interrupted by Bowser's fleet of airships, is conspicuously absent of Mario. Or at least his body; all that's at the table is Mario's trademark red hat. When Bowser's mechanical arm flings our heroes to a far-flung corner of the kingdom, this time it's Luigi flying through the air and leading the charge back to the castle once he hits the ground. From there things will continue to look pretty familiar at first, as Luigi will need to make his way across the same maps that Mario traversed before him.
Enter the first level, though, and you'll see that Super Luigi U is actually more than a copy of the original that instead features a hero in a green suit. The levels themselves are actually different in New Super Luigi U, and in ways more subtle than just new course layouts. These levels are shorter and more challenging, and geared towards Luigi's unique characteristics. At first you may think that Luigi must be heavier than his brother, because shifts in direction take just a touch longer with him than with Mario. But the first time you jump, you might think that the opposite must be true because Luigi can jump slightly higher and is a tad "floatier" than his red-suited brother. All this will feel slightly off at first if you've spent hours with Mario and have developed an innate feel for his particular set of athletic skills. Before too long you'll get your "Luigi Legs" under you and when you do you'll gain an appreciation for how the levels have been designed with Luigi's capabilities in mind.
Even though the levels are shorter in Super Luigi U they feel more challenging than those in the original game, and part of that is certainly a factor of the tight time limit on each level. Spend a little time trying to chase down a koopa that you missed on your first attempt to jump on it and you could find yourself on the short end of the timer short of the end of the short course. The levels also feel a little less forgiving of poorly timed jumps and mistakes in general, although the level designers offer an apology of sorts to you in the form of a 1-UP mushroom that seems to sit at the beginning of every level in the game. Now I don't want to give you the impression that playing the game is some sort of exercise in platform masochism, just that you'll feel a bit more challenged with Luigi than with Mario.
Overall, it's pretty easy to recommend Super Luigi U to anyone who had fun with Super Mario Bros U. The recycled elements are a bit disappointing, but the new levels and the fact that they feel different from the originals certainly help to temper those feelings.
Final Rating: 84%. The adventure may not have changed, but the challenge sure has.