It wouldn’t be a new Nintendo console if Mario didn’t make an appearance somewhere in one of the launch titles. The company lives and dies on the success of Mario and his cohorts like Zelda and Kirby.
Not to worry though, the Wii U will be coming with a new Mario game in New Super Mario Bros. U. With that, Mario actually gets a few new items and some gameplay changes to spice things up.
One of the items that seems to be catching everyone’s eye is the new Squirrel Suit. The latest in a long line of Mario costumes, the Squirrel Suit is a gliding suit that lets Mario get a single burst of altitude before slowly drifting back to the ground. Some of the levels, as you can see in the trailer, focus on the slow fall as players guide the suited Mario through obstacles.
Yoshi makes his return in the new game but not as a rideable creature. This time he’s an item called “Tiny Balloon Yoshi.” Mario carries a baby Yoshi and hitting the jump button in mid air causes Yoshi to inflate like a balloon, briefly shooting Mario a bit higher. Similar to the Squirrel Suit, Yoshi gets players in the air — the difference is that players can keep hitting jump to get more boosts before Yoshi deflates.
The game will also feature a new mode called “Boost Mode” that utilizes the Wii U tablet controller. It’s a multiplayer mode with one player controlling Mario with a Wii-mote and the other using the tablet. Players with the tablet can tap the screen to place physical blocks anywhere in the level. Possibly they could hinder Mario’s progress or actually be helpful by blocking off chasms or providing ledges to jump on. Apparently, tapping enemies also kills them.
Most of Nintendo’s launch lineup, including New Super Mario Bros. U, do not have release dates. However, the Wii U is expected to launch this fall in time for the holiday season, so you can expect this and other Wii U titles to appear around then.