Every single Mario game since the very first Super Mario Bros. on NES has had the same trick that can be used to achieve a literally infinite number of lives if one so chooses. The method is the same in every Mario game, and works just as well in New Super Mario Bros. U as it has in all previous incarnations.
First, you need to find an area with stairs that has a shelled enemy such as a Koopa-Troopa walking down them. As it comes down the stairs, time your jump so you'll land on him right as he's near the edge of the next stair. This will launch him back and off the wall, and back towards you again. If the timing and distance is right, you'll automatically jump on him again, and repeat the process of launching him against the stair wall and back towards you, all the while racking up points multipliers until you're into 1up territory. At this point, all you need do is sit back and watch the 1up's pile up endlessly until you're satisfied enough to end the cycle.
The flying squirrel suit can also accomplish this feat, though it takes a lot more work, and must be manually maintained. If you wish to try that route though, find an area with many Koopa's roaming around, and swoop around off their shells, never actually touching the ground as you glide and bounce back and forth between each Koopa, racking up 1up after 1up.
When you are playing Boost Rush, what you need to do is keep jumping all the time and then have the player who has the gamepad place blocks. Each time a block is hit coins will fall out and you can keep grabbing them. More blocks equals more coins!
If you jump up onto the flagpole at the end of a level where the last two digits of your time for completing that level were the same number, then the number of fireworks will be equal to the relevant number. For example, "33" will mean 3 fireworks.
One of the great new innovations in New Super Mario Bros. U is the Help Blocks function, which can be utilizes through the Wii U game pad. Players can accomplish all sorts of things through the game pad to help their fellow players, such as touching the screen to distract enemies away from another player; placing blocks that can be used to stop falling players, or to block other items from falling on player; placing blocks to be used as stairs to reach higher up or otherwise inaccessible areas; and placing them at such intervals that they can be used to jump across entire levels.
If you die a few times in a level, this block will appear, which will summon Luigi when struck to help you guide you through the level. As mentioned above, never use these blocks if you hope to have a 5 Star save file. Otherwise, these are handy ways to get through difficult and frustrating levels.
Getting a nice fireworks show after finishing a level at the flagpole may seem random, but there's actually a way to get them every time. You must time your jump so that you land on the pole with the last two digits left on your counter matching (11, 22, 33, etc.). The number of fireworks you get is also dependant on these two digits. The higher the number, the more fireworks you'll get. So aim for a 99 on the counter to get a great fireworks show every time, that draws a fitting end to your triumph.
5 Star Save File
The ultimate achievement in the game is to get 5 Stars beside your save file, and you'll need to accomplish numerous things to unlock this. Firstly, be aware that you can never use an Assist Block 9the green guide blocks) to help you, or you will forever be unable to reach 5 Stars. Here are the other tasks you'll need to accomplish to unlock it:
Beat all 73 levels spread across the 8 worlds.
Beat Bowser and complete the game.
And lastly, you must find all 246 Star Coins in the game, some of which are only granted after accomplishing yet other tasks. These are: finding all of the secret exits; finding Nabbit in worlds 1-7; and finishing every normal and secret flagpole in every level.
Getting a 5 star save file will grant you unlimited Toad Houses.
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