Published on February 27th, 2014 | by octaneblue1
Review: Super Mario 3D World
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Platform(s): Wii U, Wii U eShop
Release Date(s): November 22, 2013
The newest Super Mario adventure has arrived! Super Mario 3D World is the sequel to the excellent Super Mario 3D Land, released for the 3DS in November 2011. Super 3D World features four-player multiplayer, HD graphics, vast environments, a fantastic soundtrack, plenty of collectibles, and a big variety of levels. Simply put, it’s definitely one of the best Mario adventures up to this point. Read on for the full review!
The game begins with a Sprixie suddenly appearing in front of Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach. As she explains that Bowser has invaded her kingdom and kidnapped other Sprixies, he emerges and captures her. The heroes jump into the pipe that the Sprixie and Bowser emerged from, and end up in the Sprixie Kingdom, where they must defeat Bowser and his forces to save the Sprixies.
Perhaps the first aspect of the game that players will notice are the gorgeous HD visuals. While the Mario series took the leap to HD with New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D World‘s graphics are overwhelmingly better. It’s certainly one of the best-looking titles out now for the console, featuring plenty of vibrant colors and gorgeous backgrounds. These are the HD visuals that fans have been waiting for on the Wii U. The game’s music equally beautiful, featuring the “Mario 3D World Big Band” performing some excellent tunes, ranging from remixes of tracks from previous Super Mario games to new, original songs.
Like its predecessor, Super Mario 3D World merges the 2D gameplay found in games like the New Super Mario Bros. series with the 3D gameplay found in titles like the Super Mario Galaxy games. The levels are like the 2D games in the sense that there’s a start point and end goal in each level, but you can explore the levels freely – and there are plenty of pipes to go in and hidden areas to find. Scattered throughout each level are Green Stars, and a majority of the levels feature a collectible Stamp as well; these are used to post character sprites in messages on Miiverse. Some of these are cleverly hidden, and the Green Stars are required to get to later levels in the game. It’s also worth noting that the Golden Flag, obtained by jumping to the top of the flagpole at the end of each level, is important as well if you’re going for 100% completion.
Super Mario 3D World features plenty of power-ups. Old mainstays such as the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Starman, etc. return, as well as some lesser-seen ones like the Super Leaf, Boomerang Flower, and Mega Mushroom. As shown in the game’s reveal trailer, one of the new power-ups is the Super Bell, which gives your character a cat suit, allowing them to climb walls, run faster, and features a claw attack. The other new power-up is the Double Cherry, which adds a doppelganger character that follows yours around and mimics your every move.
In addition to the Mario Brothers, Blue Toad and Peach are playable, with a fifth character that is unlocked later on in the game. Each of the five characters is unique, with different abilities that set them apart. You can choose your characters right before a stage. Up to four players can join in for some cooperative multiplayer. The game’s multiplayer is about as crazy as it was in the New Super Mario Bros. console titles. A problem with the multiplayer is that the camera sometimes struggles to keep all four players on-screen at once – this is especially apparent in the game’s faster-paced levels. There are also levels in the game that feature a playable Captain Toad, and these levels are unique in that they’re confined to a small area and require you to move the camera around and collect Green Stars and Stamps. Since Captain Toad can’t jump, you’ll have to maneuver him around and ride lifts or enemies to get around. These stages are basically puzzle-like sections that are surprisingly a nice change of pace and a welcome addition to the game.
Instead of a hub world as shown in games like Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario 3D World opts for a large map screen, like in Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario Galaxy 2. The maps feature some interactive sections, including hidden areas that feature extra levels. There are also item and stamp houses as well, and slot machines that give players a chance at earning more power-ups. Besides the standard levels, there are blockades that feature battles against certain enemies (similar to the enemy battles in Super Mario Bros. 3), castles, and boss fights. The game also includes tank and train levels, as well as various locales like volcanic, snow, forest, and outer space areas, so there’s definitely a big variety of stages to go through. Plenty of references to older titles in the series are found throughout the levels too, some of which will no doubt bring smiles to the faces of veteran players.
Super Mario 3D World supports multiple control options, including the GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, and Wii Remote. There’s optional GamePad functionality scattered throughout the game, such as platforms that can be tapped on the GamePad screen, enemies that can be stunned by tapping on them, and some platforms that rise when air is blown into the GamePad mic. The game fully supports Off-TV Play, with the GamePad mirroring the on-screen action at all times.
The game is actually quite lengthy, featuring twelve worlds overall – eight regular worlds and four hidden ones. The game takes about a dozen hours to go through if you plan on collecting all the Green Stars, Stamps, and unlocking all of the levels. However, for full 100% completion, all of the Gold Flags in each level must be obtained by every character. While the incentive is not that great, doing this will certainly add several more hours of gameplay. Besides the main game, there’s also a mini-game called Luigi Bros that is automatically unlocked if you have New Super Luigi U save data on your Wii U, or if you beat the game once. This is essentially a re-programmed version of the original Mario Bros. to feature Luigi, but it’s a nice diversion for those that want to try it out, and it’s another welcome addition to Nintendo’s “Year of Luigi” campaign that began in early 2013.
Super Mario 3D World seems like a combination of all of the great previous Mario titles mixed together to form a one amazing experience. This is easily the best Mario game in recent years, and it can easily stand up as one of the best games in the series. This is also the best game for the Wii U at the moment, so those that own the console should absolutely get this for it. And for those interested in buying the Wii U, Super Mario 3D World is one of the reasons to get one. Highly recommended.
+ Incredibly entertaining
+ Big variety of stages
+ Multiple playable characters & 4 player co-op
– Camera issues during multiplayer
Final Score: 4.75 out of 5