For many of us, Super Mario World shifted the Mushroom Kingdom from numbered, sequential stages to something more organic. The term “world” never felt more appropriate. New Super Mario Bros. U is the first 2D Mario game not only to return to that approach, but to take it subtly to the next level. The vast, seamless overworld not only houses the requisite levels, fortresses and castles, but also features items that can be picked up off the ground, roaming enemies that must be defeated, secrets, alternate paths and even some boss fights that occur within their own context, outside of any platforming sequence. Why Nintendo ever moved away from this approach seems even more baffling now that it’s returned.