A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that New Super Mario Bros. U is an old-fashioned run-and-jump game. Players stomp on goombas, avoid spikes and pits of fire, and eventually take on Bowser himself and his minions in scenes with very mild, cartoonish violence. Teamwork and cooperation is more important than ever, with one player assigned to help his team mates by creating platforms at critical times to catch falling players or just block enemies. Remember, though, that in multiplayer each kid will need his or her own Wii remote (save the one with the GamePad). Also be aware that once children are provided first-hand exposure to Mario, they may begin gravitating to anything with his face on it, from other games to random merchandise.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Play NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. U by yourself and you'll like find it's pretty much business as usual. The game begins with Bowser tossing Mario and Luigi leagues from Princess Peach's castle, and they have to work their way back to her by running through mushroom-y fields, sandy deserts, and icy glaciers, jumping between platforms and stomping on enemies all the way.
However, play with two or more players in Boost mode and you'll get to see how the Wii U GamePad alters the series' classic formula. Up to four players can use Wii remotes to run around like normal, but the player holding the GamePad can tap anywhere she likes to conjure up platforms, acting as a savior to falling Marios and a strategic asset to Luigis aspiring to reach higher heights. This new dimension to the Mario experience is expanded upon in some of the bonus modes, where kids will be presented cooperative puzzles in which the must work together to reach seemingly impossible goals or speed run through levels with the help of platforms strategically placed by a fellow player.
Is it any good?
New Super Mario Bros. U makes a fine Wii U debut for Nintendo's dungaree-clad superstar. It offers plenty of classic 2D side-scrolling action for players who just want more of what they've always loved in old-school Mario games. Then it sweetens the pot by offering groups of gamers something completely new in Boost mode, which can be used by parents to help struggling kids work through tricky areas or veterans to improve their scores and find hidden treasures. Some friends may even make up their own challenges in Boost mode by attempting to, say, see whether they can use the platforms they conjure to stymie rather than help each other.
As an added bonus, kids (or parents) who want to continue playing when the TV is needed for something else can keep the game running on the GamePad screen, playing through the story and some of the bonus challenges in solo mode. They won't even need to restart the game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cooperation. Do you prefer games in which you cooperate with other players or compete against them? Or do you like to play games alone? Do you believe that cooperating with others can make facing tough challenges a little easier?
What is it about Mario games that makes them so engaging? What is your favorite Mario game and why?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Communication: friendship building
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles, strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: November 18, 2012
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship
- ESRB rating: E for Comic Mischief
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love Mario and Nintendo Wii U
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.