I guess it's been about 2 weeks now since the New Super Luigi U was released. It's one of the few instances (or only?) where we get a Mario game without the Mario. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to think of the game and the roster change up - I actually thought it was going to be an awful lot like New Super Mario Bros. U - only instead of a red hat and shirt it would be green? But that is definitely NOT what they did.

The biggest change is the levels have been modified a bit and you now have 100 seconds to finish. If you're trying to get the 3 big coins per level, it can be very tense. And if you try and find the hidden level in each world, plan on playing it a dozen or so times because 100 seconds is not nearly enough.

I find it a bit odd I've never questioned the name Mario Bros until I played New Super Luigi U. If you've seen the cover with the "Bros." part covered up by a green X, maybe you know what I'm talking about. If Mario and Luigi are brothers like we've been told for the past 30 years, then Mario Bros. doesn't make a lot of sense. Well, I did a little research (meaning I went to Wikipedia). I can't believe I never knew this or heard this before, but according to Wikipedia and the source it cites, Mario and Luigi's last name is Mario? This according to the book, "Game Over Press Start to Continue". I dunno about all that. That would mean Mario's name is Mario Mario and Luigi's name would be Luigi Mario. Seriously?

Oh well, whatever...this blog isn't about Mario and his shining career. We're here to talk about Luigi.

The game is fun and the developers made some distinct chances so Luigi plays completely different than Mario. It reminds me a lot of Super Mario Bros. 2. Luigi's feet don't shuffle as much in this game, but he clearly moves a lot different than Mario.

Something else you might notice - at least I did - is the Luigi presence in the game. I had no idea he was so vain. After years of taking a back seat to older brother, he really pours it on in his game. You'll uncover Luigi statutes, find stone columns carved in his likeness and even see shrubs trimmed to look like him. It's actually kind of neat, but quite different than the traditional Mario games. It almost makes Luigi's character feel a little bit arrogant. I mean, it is just a game...a pleasant one at that. But after you see him on everything, it kind of made me wonder if that's why Mario didn't want him around as much...or going out there on his own. Of course I'm not being completely serious - it is kind of cool when you find some of the hidden statues, but I do think the developers really wanted you to know this was Luigi's game.

The other big change is the introduction of Nabbit as a playable character. If I remember right, this character made an appearance in the New Super Mario Bros. U, but I don't recall exactly. Anyway, he (or she?) is an interesting character and I think the developers implemented him with some unique characteristics.

Nabbit is immune to enemy damage, and while he cannot use power-ups himself, any he does collect are converted into 1-Ups at the end of the stage.

So, my son and I are playing thru this game together. We played New Super Mario Bros. U from start to finish together, collecting all the stars and discovering all the secret levels. And now we are playing this game together - he is Luigi and I'm Nabbit. Believe it or not, I actually picked to play him. I spend about half of my time helping my son, about a quarter of my time getting in his way (accidentally) and about a quarter of my time purposefully trying to annoy him. While a character that is immune to enemy damage sounds like it could result in an overpowered character (which it does) it's still a ton of fun. If you're wondering how you could annoy your fellow character, it's really quite simple. You can  try and  run thru the level as fast as you can and hope you manage to leave them behind, but my favorite is when I think I'm about to die and I use the bubble to save myself and kind of leave him hanging. I realize it might not sound all that interesting and who knows...maybe it isn't. But I do know we spent the whole evening laughing so hard I thought the neighbors were going to complain.

I guess my only real complaint with the game is the final bosses (which is true of many Mario games). They're ridiculously easy, especially when half of the team doesn't take damage. But otherwise, the gameplay is fun, the levels are beautiful and it's not every day we get a Luigi game all to him.

One thing that has me curious (I don't always follow the Nintendo Direct presentations, so if this was mentioned I don't know about it) is the statement - this is the Year of Luigi. I know we witnessed Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon release earlier in the year. It's truly a great game and showcases the power of the Nintendo 3DS. I was quite impressed with it. But, if this is the Year of Luigi, should we be expecting something else we don't know about? I might have to look into that more tomorrow.

Final Thoughts - You're not really going to find anything new here, but if you like Mario games, especially the New Super Mario Bros. U - there's plenty to love with this game. Sure, it's billeted as DLC and yes, it came out second to Mario's version of the game, but it's cool to see more of Luigi. And see him you will. The game makes sure of that.

Good Games, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.