New Super Mario Bros. U. launched alongside the Wii U last November, coming out only months after the 3DS release of New Super Mario Bros. 2. While this latest release is a solid title with plenty of content, it was met with a lot of criticism from an increasingly cynical fanbase. If Nintendo wants to keep fans coming back for more, then there are a few things they must do to ensure this series’ ongoing dominance.
1) More original content
While the 2D Mario formula has worked well, not much has changed since Super Mario Bros. 3 was released in 1988. Many enemies, obstacles, and music tracks have been revamped and reused time and time again. While none of this reused content hurts gameplay, it has made a series that once pioneered the modern platformer seem a bit stale. In order to continue to draw older fans back to the series, Nintendo may have to dream up new enemies and scenarios to keep this series feeling fresh. While each new game tries to balance itself between new and classic ideas, the series requires changes to its core concept. Changes in settings and basic aesthetics is what has kept the 3D Mario games unique and innovative throughout the years.
2) Bring the Mario playing community together
While online cooperative play is still absent from several of Nintendo’s newest releases, the implementation of Miiverse is a huge step in the right direction. Miiverse allows players to write their thoughts and feelings about the game, and post them to the Wii U’s social networking hub. These new community oriented features would have made a much bigger impact if only players could directly interact within the game. While Nintendo continues to focus on local multiplayer, the option for online gameplay is long overdue. While a very different experience than playing with friends on a couch, playing with people from around the world can be just as much a rich and enjoyable experience. It also gives gamers a reason to continue playing, even if they are tired of solo play, and are unable to find anyone locally.
3) Customizable Mushroom Kingdom
One feature that makes platformers like LittleBigPlanet stand out is their level editor. Allowing players to create and share their own levels with others adds greatly to a game’s value. It also helps unite the community that Nintendo is working to establish. Masataka Takemoto, New Super Mario Bros.’ director, spoke of implementing such a feature in a recent interview with GamesTM magazine.
There is a possibility of this happening in the future, but there’s no use just blindly making that feature available. We would need to carefully think about how to make such a system work…Where a beginner can easily make something and have a good time, and simultaneously, someone who is really into Mario can delve into it deeper and make something more complex. So that is a challenge we will need to tackle in the future.
It is too soon to tell if this comment will lead to a level editor being featured in a future Mario title. Such a feature would most certainly become a huge selling point, and Nintendo would be foolish not to capitalize on such simple a concept.
While New Super Mario Bros. U has been a success, having sold just over a million copies globally within its first month of release, one must wonder whether the series can retain its popularity in an ever-changing industry. Nintendo has made steps in the right direction, though they still seem reluctant to reinvent themselves in some very basic ways.