One of the best games on the 3DS is Super Mario 3D Land, a game that showed everyone what the 3DS was capable of; never did anyone expect a sequel to that title let alone a sequel on the Nintendo Wii U. Is Super Mario 3D World a worthy successor or was it a one hit deal?
Taking on the Super Mario Bros.2 approach you can choose one out of four characters. Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach. Obviously the Princess is not in another castle since she’s playable so instead Bowser kidnaps these fairy things known as the Sprixies and bottles them up. Mario and his buddies team up and explore Sprixie Kingdom to rescue them.
Each character have their own pros, again, mirroring the attributes of Super Mario’s Bros. 2 for the NES, Mario is average, Luigi jumps higher, the princess is able to float and Toad is annoying…but fast. You can choose whomever you please whenever you please. Feel like taking on a boss with Toad? Be my guest. Feel like seeing Luigi in a cat suit? Go for it? Oh, I should probably mention the cat suit.
Like Super Mario 3D Land’s obsessions with the Tanooki suit and tails (seriously there were tails everywhere) this time the new theme is…Cats. Goombas are dressed like Cats, Bullet Bills have Cat ears, and even the trees look like Cat bells. This would get tiresome fast if not for the fact that the cat suit is an awesome power up. Giving Mario and crew the ability to run fast, attack by clawing, climb walls and of course look adorable, although it is a little weird to hear them say “meow”. But the cat suit isn’t the only power up, making the usual rounds of mushroom, firepower, Tanooki and yes, the boomerang bros suit and many more.
The game is broken into multiple worlds all beautifully designed. No two levels are the same. One moment you’re on ice (or in a giant skate) the next your rushing down a waterfall on top of some dragon (with the slide music remixed from Super Mario 64). The levels play with lighting (shadows), perspective, speed and so on, they’re all a joy to play. Every level had me smile and never was there any frustration on the game’s side, but rather something I missed. There are some hiccups when it comes to the camera as you don’t have full 3D control of it, rather, it’s stuck on an isometric view making some jumps a little flustered. But when you go in and conquer that jump you’ll be happy and forget about it. There are also Green stars (usually three a level, and well hidden) this time taking places of the Star Coins, the more you collect the more hidden goodies are accessible. Giving you a bit of a reason to go back and try to collect em’ all.
The game also utilizes the Wi U gamepad and if for whatever reason you’re against using it you can use a variety of other controllers too, Wii U Pro, Classic Controller, Wii Remote, Wii Remote + Nunchuk, many ways. But if you do play with the gamepad it utilizes some of the Wii U gamepad capabilities. Not a whole lot but the ones that are there work well. I mean, yeah it’s gimmicky to have to touch a certain block to make it rise, and yeah blowing into the gamepad to spin a fan is silly, but it works. You can also play the game on the Gamepad itself as it mirrors what’s on the TV.
The big focus is obviously the multiplayer experience. Where you and four others are allowed to explore and run around at the same time. Unlike New Super Mario Bros. where you’re stuck on a sidescrolling 2D screen, this one allows you all to run around freely, giving you a lot of room to breathe. You can still be a jerk and pick them up and throw them…and you will. Because sometimes being a jerk is fun.
Mario does very well in this new HD world thanks to the Wii U. The game looks absolutely stunning, especially in some stages that are littered with color. You don’t need crazy textures (although the game has that for some things), just bright colorful, creative worlds, even the darker worlds have a happy-feel to it. As always the music is fantastic and memorable. There are few classics remixed but generally a lot of them were new and catchy. Just like most Mario titles. The voices are also what you would expect and hearing them say “meow” is still weird. Seriously Mario, you’re a grown man, it’s just creepy.
Keeping up with the tradition of New Super Luigi U, there are random Luigi Sprites hidden in some levels, I’m not sure why…but they’re there and small. The game also comes with Luigi Bros. an arcade port of Mario Bros. re-skinned for Luigi for what I’m guessing is the Year of Luigi, it’s a great extra. You can also go back to collect stamps that can be shared on the Miiverse (although at the time of writing the review this option was not enabled). You can also go back to levels that were once completed and play with “Ghost Miis”. I mean it’s something to make you feel like you’re playing with friends or other people. The game really wants you to stick around and it does a good job with the extras. Extras are good.
I wasn’t expecting anything from Super Mario 3D World, in fact I was originally disappointed that the sequel to one of the best 3DS games was not going to be on the handheld, but sometimes Nintendo knows what they’re doing and proved me wrong. The game is great on the Wii U as it allows for better visuals and a bigger template for more characters to run around. Sure the isometric view can be a bit bothersome but the whole package is great. You can play by yourself or with a group of friends and each experience is varied and fun. It knows what it is and what it is is a fun game. A great game with a weird title.
We received a review copy of Super Mario 3D World. All opinions are honest and of the minds of the Paranerds.com staff.