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Personally, I tend to view NSMBU + NSLU as 2D Mario's Sonic 3 & Knuckles equivalent: solid products on their own, but basically the undisputed peak of the franchise when put together. Two decently-sized campaigns, five-player semi-asynchronous semi-competitive co-op, Challenge mode (where even the co-op bits can actually be tackled singleplayer), and level design that is flat-out bananas.
The amount of thought that went into how the stages were put together, the surprisingly versatile moveset, and the things that their interplay allows players to do is honestly kind of mindblowing.
Look at this stuff:
Or look at the first five videos here for the different completely (insane) ways that it is possible to play through just one level that intentionally accommodates all of them:
Not just every platform, but every enemy, every power-up, every coin has a specific purpose for being where it is placed down to the pixel and frequently timed to when it is there down to the millisecond.
And this applies to both the standard NSMBU as well as Weegee's campaign, which also had the benefit of levels that could be pretty nuts even for just basic completion. At times players have to deal with an absolutely heroic number of moving platforms and obstacles (and without the checkpoint spam or general lack of polish that handicap most indie platformers).