The worlds and stages of New Super Mario Bros. U are shown to have been inspired by Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, so longtime players of the series might find the game to hold much nostalgia, with many worlds confirmed such as the colorful Acorn Plains, the tropical world of Sparkling Waters, the snowy peaks of Frosted Glacier, and the very dry Layer Cake Desert which is filled with melting deserts and pastries, all of these pay homage from past worlds such as the Forest of Illusion found in Super Mario World and Sky World from Super Mario Bros. 3. Like previous games in the series players go across a map to access courses around the world, Boom Booms also make a new console return as mid-bosses found in fortresses and the Koopalings serve each as a boss for each world's castle. Like the previous entries into the New Super Mario Bros. series players can transport between worlds in cannons unlocked by secret passages found in specific courses, however players are given with more freedom as players are often presented to which world they want to play in next.
The game introduces a new item as well, which has received much focus: the Super Acorn. The Super Acorn gives players a flying squirrel suit, which allows players to glide through the level to avoid hazards more easily, this item becomes more important later in the game where the item makes some levels so much easier to navigate through lava courses and wide gaps, a simple shake of the remote or GamePad causes an updraft which brings Mario much higher than natural which can come in handy when trying to reach secret areas. Of course, no Mario game would be complete without a variety of power-up items such as the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Ice Flower, Starman, and Mini-mushroom, which are also included in the game. Some may say that new items are seriously lacking, but the returning Baby Yoshis and their abilities make up for that and can sometimes be more useful than items, these cute little guys each have a special ability which can become useful in various courses throughout the game. There have been three varieties introduced, one of which being the pink baby Yoshi, which can inflate with the shake of the remote or GamePad which take Mario higher than the Super Acorn's squirrel suit, and their large size when inflated can come in handy when collecting coins that are in the air. The gold baby Yoshi lights up dark areas such as caves, and in addition stuns nearby enemies for a limited time. Finally, the blue baby Yoshi has the ability to shoot out bubbles from it's mouth which can deal with enemies in new ways. Adult Yoshis are not left out in this game, these guys still help Mario out by eating enemies he encounters and can eat fruit, eating five of these fruit fills up a meter and award the player an extra power-up item.
Like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, this game will feature up to 4-player co-op gameplay, where players can get their friends, team up and play as Mario, Luigi, blue and yellow toads, or even your Mii characters. Like the previous game, co-op has it's ups and downs, most noticeably the scrolling gameplay where the screen continues to move if one player moves forward which can trap the other unprepared players to loose a life. The camera pans out well, which allows you to see hidden areas and star coins not easily seen in solo gameplay. If you are having trouble navigating, another player can use the GamePad to place up to four platforms at a time using the touch screen which can help to reach star coins. The GamePad's touch screen also serves many more purposes in this game such as popping other players out of bubbles, swatting paratroopas off the screen, stunning enemies, and making it easier to reach the top of flagpoles. Players can also activate Boost Mode through the GamePad, which takes players to new challenging courses created to push their skills. The screen auto-scrolls which forces players to continue moving or loose a life, collecting more coins makes the level shorter but it increases the speed of the scrolling making it far more difficult. Players are given a limited amount of lives with no continues, only increasing the intensity of the gameplay and bringing a friend over to help can backfire because one mistake of the other can cost the player a life as well. Boost Mode promises to be a very addicting feature that serves as an alternative to the main game and a place to sharpen your skills.
New Super Mario Bros. U will be a launch title for the Wii U, which will launch on November 18th in North America, November 30th in Europe, and December 8th in Japan. New Super Mario Bros. U promises to bring much more to the table than previous entries in the series as Nintendo enters it's debut into the HD era, the twists and new features promise for an unforgettable adventure!