Previews

New Super Mario Bros. U: Hands-on with the Wii U E3 demo

Squirrel Suits, inflatable Yoshi's and touch-screen blocks spice up a familiar formula

So the New Super Mario Bros. Wii U demo that was 'not a retail product' last year is actually a retail product. Shocker.

There weren't that many surprises to be had in the E3 demo either - but somehow we don't think it'll matter when the game launches. Three levels offered more of the tried and tested 2D gameplay of the DS and Wii renditions of revived 2D Mario, with the only immediate difference being the crisp HD sprites.

With the familiar gameplay comes the same easily controllable weight and momentum that lets you bounce from one Goomba head to the other with relative ease.

Bouncing our way through the first of the three stages - a typical, green over world Mushroom Kingdom level - we encounter the first of three main new features revealed in the demo; the Squirrel Suit.

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It's a new gliding suit that lets Mario get a single shot of altitude before slowly returning back to Earth. In one stage we fell down a long, deep chasm carefully gliding along a path of coins and stomping on the heads of flying Koopas as we went.

The first thing we tried was to rotate Squirrell Mario to nose-dive and bounce through the air using momentum (with the awesome Cape from Super Mario World in mind). The nearby Nintendo rep shook his head and informed us it doesn't do that. Bummer.

Yoshi also turned up in the demo, but not in ridable form. He appears as an item called 'Tiny Balloon Yoshi'. Mario carries the baby Yoshi in his hands and hitting the jump button while in mid air inflates Yoshi like a balloon, which again thrusts Mario just a little higher before calmly floating downwards. Much like the Squirrel suit then, but the difference here is that you can keep tapping jump to get more and more boosts of height before Yoshi eventually runs out of steam and deflates.

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