When New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (whew!) launches on Nintendo Switch tomorrow, players of the Wii U original will be happy to find that reports of Blue Toad’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
The Wii U version of New Super Mario Bros. U featured four playable characters: Mario and Luigi, of course, alongside two Toads — one yellow, one blue. But with the Deluxe version’s addition of a playable Toadette, it seemed like Blue Toad had been thrown out of the picture. He no longer appeared in any marketing material, replaced by Yellow Toad and newcomers Toadette and Nabbit.
It’s understandable that Nintendo wanted to highlight Deluxe’s new characters and features, but Blue Toad fans were displeased that their cobalt-colored boy was seemingly MIA. But Blue Toad has, in fact, returned and is playable in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. Praise be!
There’s a caveat for Blue Toad-lovers who enjoyed playing through the 2.5D platformer in multiplayer mode, however. Blue Toad exists not as a separate character, but a palette swap of Yellow Toad. Pressing the ZL button on the character select screen while navigating to Yellow Toad will allow a player to choose Blue Toad instead. Now Yellow Toad is the default Toad; Blue has been relegated to a skin.
This speaks to a bigger problem that Mario fans have with Deluxe. It’s not just that there’s a comparative paucity of Toad options; it’s that only one player can choose to play as Toad at a time. In a four-player co-op game, one player must choose either Toadette or Nabbit. There’s nothing wrong with Toadette, except that she’s locked to an easier difficulty setting, as is Nabbit. Toadette is able to use the Super Crown ability that gives her extra jumping abilities, gets more time to complete a level, and can collect items inaccessible to other characters. Nabbit’s straight-up invulnerable to enemy attacks.
We obviously have nothing against Toadette (or Peachette, whom she transforms into while wearing the Super Crown). But such a limited array of playable characters doesn’t sound like a plus — even if the same was technically true of New Super Mario Bros. U on Wii U. The key difference is that playing as either of the Toads, Mario, or Luigi never gave any player an advantage over another. Now, there will be at least one player who will be coasting a little more than the rest of the team. While that’s great for younger players or newcomers, for Mario veterans, it’s kind of a drag.
That aside, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is a grand ol’ time. Check out our review for all of the things that make this Switch revision worth trying.