New Super Luigi U: Artwork 006
New Super Luigi U box art Title New Super Luigi U
Developer Nintendo
Publisher Nintendo
Genre 2D platformer
Platform Wii U
Release Dates NA DLC: June 20th, 2013
NA Retail: August 25th, 2013
EU DLC: June 20th, 2013
EU Retail: July 26th, 2013
AUS DLC: June 21st, 2013
AUS Retail: July 27th, 2013
Age Ratings E (ESRB), 3 (PEGI), G (ACB)
Official Websites NA, EU, AUS

It seems the Year of Luigi has just about come to a close. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon has long since been released, Mario Golf: World Tour has been pushed back to 2014, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has arrived in Europe, Australia, and North America. I imagine the Year of Luigi was established to springboard Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon to success, but the real star of the show (in my eyes) was always New Super Luigi U. I’ve always dreamt of a platformer starring Luigi, and on June 20th, in the form of downloadable content, my dreams came true!

My review of New Super Luigi U aims to take care of anyone who’s on the fence about purchasing this downloadable content—one marketed as being a “full game starring Luigi”—or the actual “full game starring Luigi” sold at retail. Regardless of how Nintendo’s packaged the game, I have quite a bit to say.

New Super Luigi U: Screen 001
Gotta go fast!

I won’t spend too long covering the basics. Check out my review of New Super Mario Bros. U for an overview of that and to read my thoughts regarding the original game. Since writing that review, I’ve gone out of my way to 100% (and thus completely familiarize myself with) the game. As a result, there are probably many a Miiverse post from me sitting out there for the world to see—and Luigi U does more of the same things as the original in that respect. But as many know, New Super Luigi U is not an exact copy of the game before it at all, at least when it comes to level design.

Every level is 100 seconds long. Every castle level has a timer at the end that adds 100 more seconds so you can fight a boss without having an anxiety attack. There are hidden Luigis in levels that offer no reward but are cool to see. Old power-ups from New Super Mario Bros. Wii are back, and they are plentiful. You can play as Nabbit, who can’t get hurt, in multiplayer mode (and in single-player mode, if you know the right button combination). And the last thing everyone should know already—it’s $19.99 (USD) for the download and $29.99 for the retail version, hefty asking prices for a game you can theoretically blast through in 150 minutes or so.

New Super Luigi U: Screen 009 New Super Luigi U: Screen 010

A theory can be woefully disproven in practice, however. Cruelly hidden Star Coins, secret exits, and the usual tropes of a 2D Mario game help keep you going back to those levels over and over again. Oh, yeah…and there’s the fact that the levels themselves are downright cruel. And I have gone back to these levels over and over again, because New Super Luigi U takes the “okay” difficulty of the original game and amps it up to Super Mario Bros. 3-after-World-4 level. Anyone who has played Mario games since the 1990s and is expecting another leisurely stroll through the outer-Mushroom Kingdom this time around…is in for a rude awakening.

New Super Luigi U: Screen 002

I’m not messing around here. Every post I’ve seen on Miiverse while progressing through this game conveys something along the lines of “ARRRGGHH!” These levels may seem “short and sweet” when viewed under the premise that they’re only 100 seconds long, but…good gravy, they are cruel. Hardcore platforming fans will work up a decent sweat—and anyone who is not a veteran may not make it to the end. I foresee a lot of broken controllers, rage-quits, and defeat, because I’ve been there, I know what that’s like. This is the one section of this review that I don’t want you to take with a grain of salt, because it’s going to be what separates the purchasers from the passersby.

If hardcore platforming is your thing, you’re going to eat Luigi’s Wii U venture like candy. You may overindulge, you may not, but at the end of the day, I’d say the experience will be a fully enjoyable one for you. Despite there not being any graphical, musical, or presentation-esqe changes (because it is indeed DLC), these all-new levels will remind you of the truly old-school Mario games: fun, challenging, and over in an instant if you allow them to be.

New Super Luigi U: Screen 004 New Super Luigi U: Screen 007

Indeed, New Super Luigi U doesn’t offer any extra bells and whistles. Bosses are still the same, the world map is still the same, everything that made the first game what it is remains the same. But the new parts of the game, these levels, are truly a treat for the veteran platformer. Your $19.99 or $29.99 could be justified because these levels provide a challenge to the truly seasoned, and they offer enough incentive to jump back in from time to time.

If you aren’t into hardcore platforming…the game may prove too much of a hassle for you. Watch some gameplay videos, let my words sink in… If you’re looking for simplicity, tread with caution. New Super Mario Bros. U offered a steady progression that made for a smooth ride and an ultimately smooth incline into higher difficulty levels. New Super Luigi U, by contrast, does not hold your hand, does not mess around, and will have you losing the handfuls of lives you gain by about World 3 if you’re not careful.

Nabbit may be invincible, but you can still fall to your death…a lot. Just the fact that Nintendo included a secret code to unlock Nabbit in the game’s single-player mode should be enough of a testament that I’m not being intentionally hyperbolic here.

New Super Luigi U | PlayStyle

If you’re a big Luigi fan, you’re probably walking the fence between making and not making a purchase. The thing that will ultimately lead to you spending the money on the DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U or the retail package housing the same game…is how you feel about quick-and-dirty platformers. I use “dirty” in the sense that the seemingly quick levels are filled with dirty tricks to keep you coming back…either from dying a few hundred times or from trying to get that last Heaven-forsaken Star Coin to unlock the usual secrets.

Whether or not Luigi U stands as a rise or decline in the quality of the original game relies upon how in touch you are with Mario’s roots of quick-and-dirty gameplay. Heck, whether or not it’s worth the asking price relies on that same notion. For me, it was totally worth $19.99 despite still suffering from the same flaws of the original game. New Super Luigi U is truly another example of how New Super Mario Bros. U is the “New” Mario married with the old. But yes, indeed, that “New” still holds Luigi U back from being all that it can be.

Super Mario Bros. 3 box art  +  New Super Mario Bros. Wii box art
My review of the original game used a similar formula, after all.

Review Score

Review copy purchased by author.

New Super Luigi U can be pre-ordered from and

Jonathan Higgins
[Former Staff] Jonathan parted ways with Operation Rainfall on June 15th, 2014. You can follow him on Twitter @radicaldefect.