Mario games are always interesting to review because Nintendo’s mascot is featured in pretty much every gaming genre there is, and that makes it hard to really pinpoint which series is the real Mario flagship. But for all intents and purposes, let’s assume that his 3D adventures are the flagship series. With that being the case, Super Mario 3D World offers the most entertaining platforming experience in recent memory.
What Is It?
In the topic of video games, not knowing Mario should be a crime punishable by death. As stated, the most iconic mascot in gaming history has been in games ranging from a wide variety of genres, but it’s his platforming adventures that garner the most attention.
This time around, it’s not about saving Princess Peach. The game begins with a normal day as Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach hang out at the Mushroom Kingdom, until they come to a slanted clear pipe. Using their plumbing skill once, Mario and Luigi fix the pipe, and then a bottled pixie comes out explaining that Bowser has trapped all of them in different worlds–reason enough for the gang to get out there to stop Bowser and save the rest of the fairies.
Why Should I Care?
The features Nintendo never fails to bring up are the fact that the main campaign can be played cooperative with up to four players and the addition of the new cat suit, which adds more than just a cute factor.
Similar to Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES, players have the option of using Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and a blue-hatted Toad (more about that later). Mario is a well-rounded character, Luigi is a little bit faster with a flutter in his superior jumping ability, Princess Peach can float for a short period of time, and Toad is fast. While the game was meant for multiplayer, the entire game can be completed in single player, and players can find items that’ll give you control of clones to solve puzzles that require more than one player. Single players also have the option to select a character before every level, or let the CPU decide to make the choice easier.
Like entries in the New Super Mario Bros. games, the multiplayer campaign is pretty enjoyable, but friends with different skill levels and intentions can really demean the experience. The farther players are from one another, the farther the camera zooms out. The constant pan-outs are annoying, but they can be useful because it gives players a birds-eye view of the level, making it easier to find hidden paths and objects. Of course, skill level and intentions also come into play. There really isn’t much that can stop a friend from pushing you to your death or hogging all the items, so impose your will however you like.
The new catsuit was initially a laughable inclusion, but it’s actually one of the more favorable power-ups in the game. The catsuit, as expected, turns your character into a cat, and aside from traveling on all fours, cats can slash their opponents, climb on walls, and even have a pretty cool pouncing move. In addition to the catsuit, other popular Mario power-ups such as the fire flower, Tanooki suit, and even the boot (which can float on water and walk on spikes) make an appearance, pleasing nostalgic fans everywhere.
The game’s levels were designed after the style first presented in Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS, and as great as those were, Super Mario 3D World just takes it up numerous notches by including every unique facet of gameplay that has set every Mario game apart over the years. There’s your typical left-and-right sidescrolling levels, levels with the fixed camera that force you forward, levels that solely rely on your ability to jump, Boo houses with multiple dead-ends, miniboss battles, boss battles, underground levels, water slides… You name it, and Super Mario 3D World has it. Well, except for FLUDD, but not a lot of people care for Super Mario Sunshine anyway.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
If you’ve ever played and liked a Super Mario game, and it would be unfortunate if you haven’t, you’d absolutely love Super Mario 3D World. The game caters to just about every kind of Mario liking one would have. It satisfies those looking for nostalgia with its old-school-style power-ups and soundtrack (the death song is Super Mario Bros. 3) in addition to still being all about grabbing the top of the flagpole, it satisfies 3D platforming fans with its straightforward level design, and it satisfies jerks that want to spoil other people’s experiences through multiplayer.
Aside from friends possibly ruining the experience, there is absolutely nothing bad to say about this game. So what if the game doesn’t exactly take advantage of everything the Wii U does? Super Mario 3D World takes everything that makes Mario great and puts it into one extremely fun HD package, and that’s all anybody should really want.