Over the last two days, screens for New Super Mario Bros. U have been pouring in, with plenty of subtle and not so subtle details quietly placed among the screens. Let’s take a look at what the new screens have to offer.
First things first, let’s take a look at the HUD. At first glance, it doesn’t look like the HUD has changed since New Super Mario Bros. Wii. After a closer inspection, small changes begin to become a bit more clear, like the Mario icon for the lives counter facing forward instead of to the side. The coin counter and Star Coin icons are flipped, and the coin counter doesn’t allow the number count to overlap the coin icon. The overall score has nine digits instead of eight, and the timer features an updated clock icon. In addition to all this, the font for the numbers has changed, harkening back to a more “Mario” look.
Since we are already looking at the underground levels, let’s note some differences from New Super Mario Bros. Wii. It looks like playing under the ground will allow for a darkening effect. Take a look at the left and right sides of the screens above, specifically the top right and top left corners. You can see that they are much darker than the center of the screens.
In the second screen, we see three different colored crystal platforms. The purple ones from New Super Mario Bros. Wii are returning, and they will most likely act the same way by continuously moving the left and right corners in the air. The clear crystal platform might have something to do with weight. In the first screen we see a clear crystal platform blocking the entrance to the pipe. This might because he just weighed it down. The second clear crystal platform looks like it was made to stand on for it to sink, and to allow room for Mario to get through. The red crystal platforms may simply be moving up and down, as the entire platform looks like it was about to crush Mario.
Oh, and Red Coins are back, in case you thought they were getting the boot.
Nothing too extreme here, just showing the difference in how the effects look when using a POW block. I do wonder how Mario was able to activate the POW block. It doesn’t look like he threw anything at it or picked it up himself. Didn’t ground pound either. And it looks like the bricks underground are brown this time.
Here we can see that the Mini Mushroom is indeed returning, but this time it brings with it an extra ability never used in a New Super Mario Bros. game. As you can see in the image, Mini Mario is running up the side of the wall, and it looks like he will continue to do so until he hits an enemy or falls in a pit. Also, take note of the pretty clouds in the background. Again, they are pretty.
So here is a list of power-ups so far:
- Super Mushroom
- Fire Flower
- Super Acorn
- Ice Flower (we have only seen Ice Mario, but c’mon..)
- Mini Mushroom
Onto the grasslands! Look right above the second Monty Mole in the screen above. See that yellow spec? That’s a butterfly, and it gives me hope that these tiny extras will be found all across the game. Extras like this really make the game stand out, and I hope to see many more. And as I mentioned, Monty Moles are returning to the series after they took a break in New Super Mario Bros. 2. I’ll make an educated guess and say that Yoshi is going to spit out whatever it is he has in his mouth and knock all the Monty Moles out.
This comparison screen doesn’t show too much, but what we do notice is that things are getting a little more vibrant and colorful, and I’m not just talking about the change in video recording quality. The screen on the left is from the Pre-E3 2012 Nintendo Direct, and the screen on the right is from the recent batch of screens from Game Informer. Notice the castle in the back. Before it was very dim and almost dull, while the newer screens show a castle full of color, along with the new placements of the colorful hills. Throw in some more flowers, update the tree looking things in the back, and throw some Miis in the background too. Hopefully the Miis are exclusive to the new Boost Rush mode.
Here is a nice comparison for those who are looking for a change in the graphics department. Here we see a screen from both New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. They both take place in the grasslands and both show Yoshi snagging an apple from a bush. While this is by no means a testament to what the Wii U can achieve, it is very clear that there is a major improvement from the Wii version. Everything is much more detailed, from the clouds and color of the sky, to the grass and all that is to see in the background. I’m liking how that bush looks too.
Here we see what appears to be two different fortress or castle levels. The first one has the typical fire jets and Dry Bones, while the other is an underwater level that reveals the return of the classic Torpedo Ted enemy.
What’s interesting to note about these screens is the timer. For every screen, save for this one, the timer is set to either 400 or 500 seconds. The two screens above show 500 seconds, while the rest are all 400 seconds. This is clearly because Game Informer has a special copy of the game, and this isn’t something that we should look into. This can also be taken to mean that Game Informer was not using a final copy of the game, putting pressure on getting a release date on the launch of the Wii U.
Here is that Boost Rush mode that was mentioned earlier. The caption states that these levels will be more of a challenge and that the levels will auto-scroll. So how does the new timer and the red meter fit into all of this? The timer is most likely the same as it is in the normal levels, the difference here being that it is much more important and thus it is more evident. Perhaps the red meter has to do with the Super Acorn power-up, or maybe it shows how far you are in the level. The speed of the auto-scroll is not specified, so it could also tell how fast the level is scrolling.
I would place my bets on these two screens being from the same level. With the Wii U being a much more powerful system in comparison to the Wii, you can expect to see plenty of graphical elements impacting the game-play. In this example, we see the use of light being a constant factor in the level. The Gold Baby Yoshis are capable of emitting their own light, so much so that they stun enemies that get too close. You can expect that to happen when Mario tries to cross the sea of Piranha Plants in the first screenshot. Speaking of the first screenshot, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to hit one of those hanging lights and have them swing, shining light all over the place?
Our last screen doesn’t have too much to say for itself. We see Mario and Yoshi running about on top of a giant fountain of water. You can easily guess that the level is from the Sparkling Waters world, thanks to the ever so sparkly water. My only question here is about those Cheep-Cheeps. How did they manage to get so high?