Luigi von Sacher-Masoch
No longer will Luigi be green with envy, as the oft-overlooked brother of the adventurous plumbing duo now takes the center stage in New Super Luigi U. Not only is Mario no where in the game, Nintendo scratched out the Bros. from the title. That’s right, it’s all about Luigi.
Well, technically you can play as a pair of Toads and Nabbit: that bastard Rabbit from New Super Mario Bros. U that you must chase down and catch to get a P-Wing. But I don’t recommend trying multiplayer co-op in Super Luigi U, even though it’s readily available. That’s because the game is so darn difficult even as Luigi alone, and so reliant on timing, that attempting it with friends will result in four frustration-smashed controllers instead of just one.
I kid you not, New Super Luigi U may just drive you to Karate Kid Crane Kick your GamePad into the next room, but not because it’s that overly cheap, pull your hair out difficult. It’s difficult because it’s designed to take advantage of Luigi’s faults—even despite the advantages Luigi provides. See, Luigi can jump even higher than Mario and is a bit faster thanks to Mario gobbling up most of the pasta Mama Mario served at Sunday family dinners. However, Luigi also slides after he lands, making him more difficult to control for precise platforming.
Nearly every stage is designed in such a way that there’s a hazard after every jump that Luigi can slide into. This makes the timing of jumps all the more crucial than it already was. Adding to this, each stage starts off with that classic, panic-inducing “you’re almost out of time” medley that gets your heart pounding immediately. Luigi only has 100 seconds to complete each stage, making it a time-attack/speed-run throughout. At the same time, running and jumping as fast as you can when Luigi slides all over platforms is a recipe for insta-death.
Even with all the opportunities for mistakes, and how angry you will get at yourself for missing the tempo and timing, you can’t help but appreciate the attention to detail and the way each new stage is designed with only one thing in mind: Challenge. You will also appreciate it more when you actually do make it through a stage unscathed—especially if it first took you numerous attempts to complete it. Just to paint a picture for you: I was up 26 lives after a good run mid-way through the Desert area when I got to one stage that proved to be a thorn in my side. 36 lives, and two continues later, I finally beat it, and stood up out of my seat to fist pump in victory.
On the downside, since it's DLC, New Super Luigi U consists entirely of assets, enemies, and obstacles already seen in New Super Mario Bros. U. The stages may be laid out differently, and are shorter in length to accommodate the reduced time and play to the increased difficulty, but you can’t help shake the feeling that you’re playing pretty much the same exact game again—all 82 levels of it. You still have to get the three star coins which, surprise, are more difficult than the main game. It also feels a little weird that Luigi’s out to save Princess Peach, when he ain’t gonna get the same “reward” that Mario will. Poor Luigi.
Besides, seeing what a masochist Luigi is, he might prove to be more than Princess Peach can handle. New Super Luigi U. might be a little too difficult for kids—hell, even the most seasoned gamers will have a lot of trouble in many stages. Real gluttons for punishment will only dare to get all the star coins or try playing on co-op. Oh, and I noticed that it didn’t pester me for Miiverse as much as New Super Mario Bros. U. For the price, and if you’re up to the challenge, you can’t go wrong with New Super Luigi U. Who says games aren't challenging anymore?