After decades spent in the shadow of his headliner brother Mario, Luigi is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Nintendo has even gone so far as to unofficially dub 2013 as “The Year of Luigi,” releasing a handful of titles starring everyone’s second-favorite plumber. The latest: the recently released New Super Mario Bros. U DLC, New Super Luigi U.
It would be generous to suggest that Nintendo was only a little bit behind the curve when it comes to downloadable content and post-release expansions. The Wii U’s storage is a good indicator of Nintendo’s early views on DLC. The tiny hard drive – 3GB of usable storage in the 8GB models, and 25GB in the 32GB models – almost nixes the entire concept of DLC as a frequent thing.
For example, even if Activision released all of the four planned DLCs for Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the Wii U, gamers that own the 8GB model wouldn’t have enough space to download them all. It’s a fairly shocking oversight when you consider how much money can be made from post-launch content, but it’s one that Nintendo is working to improve.
One of the saving graces of the Wii U is its ability to accept external storage of up to 2TB via a USB 2.0 port. The relatively meager 800MB that accounts for New Super Luigi U might not require that, but if Nintendo keeps putting out DLC like this, it’s something you may want to look into.
Although 800 MB is relatively small, the DLC offers a ton of content to Mario fans. In fact, it’s an entirely new game, with over 80 new maps to master. As with New Super Mario Bros. U (which you will need to play the DLC, although a full retail version of Luigi is due in August for $29.99), you can play with up to five players.
Mario has been removed though, and in his place is Nabbit, a character that can’t be hurt by enemies. He also collects power-ups for points, rather than using them. Nabbit can still die by falling, but he’s a good character for a novice. For experienced players, using him is a novel experience, but it’s also a bit limiting. A fifth player using the GamePad can once again act as a helping hand (or as a vengeful god) and add platforms to help (or not).
In terms of gameplay, Luigi is identical to the vanilla offering. There are some new tricks, and many of the levels begin with just 99 seconds on the clock, forcing a speed run. There are plenty of new kinks, but it is the same old, same old.
The Mario franchise is frozen in time, and the Luigi DLC reinforces that. As with the original game, Luigi’s new maps are entertaining and addictive, especially with friends, and the ever-present cleaverness that has become a signature of the level design in Mario games remains. It’s still just more of what you’ve already seen though, continuing to adhere to a formula that is nearly 30 years old.
Despite the staleness, it is still fun, and that is what really matters. The DLC is essentially an entire new game, albeit a shorter one than you already have with New Super Mario Bros. U, and the co-op bits once again add a completely different layer to how you play. The price may be a stumbling block though.
Purchased as DLC for the copy of New Super Mario Bros. U that you already own, New Super Luigi U will cost you $19.99. That’s not bad considering how much content you get, but it is higher than the average DLC. Especially considering that it is just more levels rather than something new. That’s all relative though.
How much you get out of New Super Luigi U will just come down to how much you enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. U. It’s a formula that has worked wonders for Nintendo thus far, and it clearly still continues to work for a certain segment of gamers.
New Super Luigi U may also signify a shift in Nintendo’s online strategy. It will take some convincing to coax fans into buying another peripheral to enjoy digital content for games when there are still only a handful of titles for the fledgling system, but it is a long overdue move on Nintendo’s part. New Super Luigi U doesn’t break the mold – in fact, it doesn’t even gently nudge the mold. It is, however, quality DLC that should appeal to fans that are content with more of the same.
This DLC was reviewed on a Wii U using a code provided by Nintendo.