One of the best-selling Wii games of all time, New Super Mario Bros. Wii in it's bright red box has been bought by a massive one in four Wii owners – which is why it's surprise that the portly plumber and co. are at the forefront of Nintendo's next console launch. Bringing a whole lot more Mario to the Wii U's launch day, New Super Mario Bros. U takes the same multiplayer platforming action we've come to know an love, gives it a fancy, high definition make over, and adds in a whole bundle of new features - not least of which is the ability for a fifth player to play along using the Wii U GamePad's Touch Screen, placing platforms to help your friends reach higher ground (or send them crashing down). With the games release now just four weeks away, Nintendo have lifted the lid on a few of the new modes we'll be playing through, and how it'll all fit together.
When Mario, Luigi, Toad and Toad aren't rushing through the courses stomping on enemies heads, leaping over chasms and trying to stay put on moving platforms on their journey to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser's clutches, they can pit themselves against each other in the new Coin Battle mode. Letting up to four players race through a course littered with gold coins, as they scramble to collect more than their opponents, the player wielding the GamePad takes on the role of a sort of King maker, placing platforms to help their favourites reach the hard-to-get coins. As an added bonus, the GamePad's Touch Screen can also be used to customise each of the levels, letting you place coins, and effectively design your own layout, with the ability to save the level to play later.
The Challenge Mode, meanwhile, does exactly what it says on the tin, giving you a series of specific objectives to complete – such as clearing a level without collecting a single coin, or racing through a level without touching the floor. Sadly, this mode is primarily single-player, split into Time Attack (where you need to complete a course as quickly as possible), Coin Collection, 1-Up Rally (perhaps earning as many extra lives as you can) and Special (miscellaneous) categories, but there are some two player Boost Mode challenges thrown in which may require a second player to place platforms with the GamePad to help out the other. Once you complete a challenge successfully, the game saves a replay of your run so you can show off to your friends, which can then be shared via the built in online capabilities of the Wii U, called Miiverse (which we'll be learning more about very, very soon).
More details have also been shed on one of the creatures you'll come across in your adventure, the Ronseal-named Nabbit. Appearing from time to time in the levels, Nabbit is a somewhat unsavoury character who's nicked a load of items from poor old Toad. If you see him, it's up to you to chase after the speedy critter, and catch him in order to get the items back, which will earn you a powerful P-Acorn for your trouble. Letting you fly continuously through an entire stage, potentially proving invaluable for those not-touching-the-ground challenges mentioned above, the P-Acorns are incredibly rare items - so it's best to try and nab Nabbit when you see him.
New Super Mario Bros. U leaps onto the Wii U on the same day as the console launches, in barely a month's time on the 30th of November. Our bodies are ready.