Since the day my wife and I brought our Wii home (this after we both squatted for the console on launch night) , we have craved co-op experiences on Nintendo's inclusive gaming platform, devouring the best multiplayer games that Nintendo offers. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 offered at least a hint of a reason for one of us to pick a Wiimote and tag along, and Kirby's Epic Yarn had her in stitches. So when we decided to go all-in on the next Nintendo system, New Super Mario Bros. U was the key to that agreement. Unfortunately, like a tandem butt-stomp, it may also be what fractures our happy home.
Succinctly put, co-op play in the New Super Mario Bros. series is the worst. The decision to have all on-screen characters occupy their own space means I can't stand with my partner on a precarious ledge. No, instead, I am left to either sail just over that ledge and into the bottomless chasm we'd both been so carefully avoiding or bounce off of their head and end up in the same position. "But you can spin up and lift your partner to make two characters one, albeit much taller." True, but good luck living with the stare down that results from taking the initiative and proving my Neanderthalic, chivalrous ancestors' instincts to be correct. "When you fall down the pit, just bubble and you can pass through the section with no effort and resume on the other side." Two issues here; one, rarely can I trust my partner to successfully navigate the upcoming section, resulting in a companion bubble to join mine, and two, bubbling is the highest form of emasculation. I may come through the moment unscathed, but my manhood certainly doesn't.
I'm sure this choice was made to keep things kinetic and entertaining for all players involved, and with more than two, it goes from rational and insane so quickly that the only recourse is laughter. But two makes it seem just possible enough to make those "we can't both be here at the same time" moments just the worst.