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Ever since it became available on Thursday, I've been having a frustratingly great time with New Super Luigi U, a 733 MB DLC pack for New Super Mario Bros. U on Wii U. After installing a patch for the main game, the download becomes available right from the main menu and also adds a significant boost to the main game, regardless of if you purchase the DLC; the game now allows the Pro Controller to be used (you know, that controller you bought with the console that got all dusty).
From the surface, New Super Luigi U appears to be the same game as the main one. However, that's only on its cosmetic surface--Luigi U is a test of platforming valor and courage. With only 100 seconds for each level, tricky areas to find the star coins and Luigi's new flutter-kick-jump similar to Super Mario Bros. 2 and Lost Levels, this add-on content could easily be a game in and of itself, which it will be once the standard retail version is released this August.
Though the main overworld and area names remain, each level is completely different. Some levels might be easier than expected, but a lot of them really require patience and multiple playthroughs to fully complete. The items and upgrades carry over from New Super Mario Bros. U, but instead of Mario being a playable character, we get Nabbit for co-op. Nabbit's a unique character in that he cannot be hurt by enemies, which is perfect for the one friend who seems to get hurt a lot more than the rest in co-op.
Does all of this mean that the $19.99 asking price is worth it? If you have New Super Mario Bros. U and have been itching to get more life out of the disc, then absolutely! This DLC adds more than enough content to tide you over. If three more save slots (including an extra Quick Save), over 80 redesigned levels that will test you over and over again until you collect everything and new co-op possibilities isn't worth $20 to you, I don't know what is. If you don't own the game or think that a digital download isn't worth $20, then perhaps you should wait 'til August to pick up a green box with a disc of the same thing.
What makes the DLC worth $20 is the fact that it changes nearly every aspect of the game. Sure, the assets of the original game remain along with the core gameplay mechanics, but the difficulty is ramped up enough that it'll demand repeated playthroughs. In my opinion, New Super Luigi U has succeeded in bringing back the "NES Hard" status that video games of yester-year used to have. Nowadays, too many publishers get away with pushing out $15 DLC packs that do nothing more than add more areas and/or weapons to fight with in multiplayer matches, so it's nice to see Nintendo giving gamers the chance to replay their entire game from a fresh perspective for a third of the price of a retail game.
Sort of like the original Super Mario Bros. 2 (which we know as Lost Levels), New Super Luigi U keeps the original assets but gives us new level design that makes it worth playing at least once. So far, I'm impressed. Once I get through the entire thing, I just might bring out a review.
UPDATE: Turns out I was right with my initial assessment. Check out my review.