New Super Mario Bros. U is a Mario platform game, a launch title for the Wii U, and the fourth entry in the New Super Mario Bros. sub-series.
The gameplay of New Super Mario Bros. U is largely similar to gameplay seen in other New Super Mario Bros. titles, particularly that of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Up to four characters can play at one time. A fifth player can join in using the Wii U Gamepad, but cannot play as a character: instead, they can create platforms by taping the gamepad's screen, which the other players can walk on. As in previous 2D Mario titles, the primary objective is to reach the flagpole at the end of the level, avoiding the obstacles along the way. Like previous New Super Mario Bros. titles, there are a total of three Star Coins to be found in each level.
The game introduces Baby Yoshis, which can be carried by individual players. Baby Yoshis come in three varieties, each a different color (magenta, blue, and glowing yellow) and with its own unique abilities. Regular Yoshis appear as well, but only appear in the green variant.
Deciding to take a break from his usual plans, Bowser and the Koopalings invade Princess Peach's castle and use a giant mechanical arm to throw Mario, Luigi, and two Toads away into the distance. Mario and his friends must now traverse across a new land to get to Princess Peach's castle and save her from Bowser. Along the way, they encounter the Koopalings and a few other more minor enemies, and eventually reach Peach's Castle. By this point, Bowser has transformed it into a hellish landscape during the absence of Mario and company. After a long battle, Bowser is defeated, Peach is freed, and the castle returns to its original state. As Mario and company celebrate the victory, Bowser and his forces are forced to flee.
New Super Mario Bros. U started development shortly after the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and took three years to develop.
The game, initially entitled New Super Mario Bros. Mii, was first revealed at E3 2011 as one of several tech demos demonstrating the capabilities of the Wii U. The demo's visual style duplicated New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but featured high-definition graphics, and Mii characters were notably featured as playable characters alongside Mario and Luigi. Shigeru Miyamoto later announced that the Mario demo was going to be released as a full game for the system, and would be demonstrated in its revised form at E3 2012. The new game, titled New Super Mario Bros. U, was revealed at the event and was announced to be released alongside the Wii U console.
The game's soundtrack was written by composers Shiho Fujii and Mahito Yokota, who each previously worked on New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy. Koji Kondo served as the sound advisor.
The game received positive reception from critics, who praised the gameplay. Criticism was primarily focused on its similarity to previous Super Mario titles, namely the reuse of much of New Super Mario Bros. Wii's soundtrack.