New Super Mario Bros. U

Common Sense Media says

Teamwork plays major role in another fun Mario platformer.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In group play, kids get to experience teamwork as they face challenges together and come up with strategies for greater efficiency. Played alone, the game becomes an exercise in thumb dexterity and perseverance.

Positive role models

Mario and the gang are, as always, out to save Princess Peach. They're the indisputable heroes who take on a clearly misbehaving Bowser. That said, players won't be able to mimic much of what they see in the game, save perhaps the general struggle to see good triumph over evil.

Ease of play

Standard run-to-the-right controls are a snap to grasp. Levels get tricky in a hurry, but Nintendo offsets the challenge in several ways. If you fail a level a few times you'll be given the option to watch Luigi perform a perfect run-through, and you can take control of him at any point. Plus, unlimited "continues" mean you need never worry about losing more than a few levels worth of progress. And if you play with two or more players, a new "Boost" mode lets the one with the GamePad place random platforms around the screen, saving struggling players from falling and blocking off hazards like piranha plants and spikes.  

Violence & scariness

Mild, cartoonish high jinks. Mario kicks, bounces off of, and shoots fire and ice balls at fantasy enemies, some of which look vaguely like animals such as turtles and beetles. The player's character can be burned by fire and poked by spikes, but he reacts simply by hopping around or jumping off the screen.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is part of Nintendo's enormous Mario franchise, and will likely spark kids' interest in other games starring everyone's favorite plumber.    

Privacy & safety

Some privacy and safety concerns: This game connects to Miiverse, Nintendo's online community.

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. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Communication

  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • teamwork
  • cooperation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Fun from the first level, this game draws kids in with its bold, cartoonish graphics, accessible design, and couch-co-op play.

Learning Approach

Playingin groups will force kids to cooperate and communicate, startegizing on the fly as they meet rapidly challenges together. 

Support

Kids generally figure things out via experimentation, but if they're having trouble with a level a magical Luigi will show up to show them a perfect path.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • collecting

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Communication

  • friendship building

Collaboration

  • teamwork
  • cooperation

Kids can learn about cooperation, teamwork, and puzzle solving in this fun and accessible platforming adventure game. Multiplayer modes encourage kids to collaborate, helping each other tackle navigational challenges and solving puzzles together using a combination of strategy and quick reflexes. It also fosters positive social experiences. Up to five active players can play together in the same room, sometimes helping and sharing items with each other and other times competing against one another to collect the most coins or earn the highest score. New Super Mario Bros. U creates madcap fun and a very positive social gaming experience.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii U
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 (Nintendo Wii U)

This review of New Super Mario Bros. U was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byUltimateRacer2 November 27, 2012
AGE
2
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Best Wii U Game Ever!

Wow! A new Mario Adventure on the Wii U! Amazing!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 10 years old February 19, 2014
AGE
5
QUALITY
 
LEARNING
7/10 Good but Mario bros stories are all the same.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Teen, 13 years old Written byThe Messenger November 3, 2013
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

A Great Game for Everyone

A definite must-have! This game is just great all around. Anyone who can hold a Wii remote can play it. It's easy, fun, and just plain entertaining.
What other families should know
Great messages

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