Judged in a universe where no other Mario games exist, New Super Mario Bros. U would easily be a triumph. As-is, it feels like a smaller effort, a checklist completed with recycled items. Nintendo fans will enjoy Mario U immensely, and they should. This game carries the standard proudly, offering all the smart level design, split-second escapes, and tight gameplay that creates (and deserves) such devotion. But it’s not a system seller, and it lacks inspiration.