Super Mario 3D World
If this is your first time playing Super Mario 3D World you’re in for a treat. Much like its predecessor, Super Mario Galaxy, platforming is the focus here. Mario must traverse numerous worlds within the Sprixie Kingdom in his pursuit of Bowser. But in this adventure you have the option of playing the entire game with three other players. In true Nintendo fashion, each level toys with a new concept. And the further into the game you get, the more challenging the stages become. The endgame is particularly engaging with plenty of bonus levels to tackle, including some very tricky obstacles for the more hardcore platforming fans. The game also introduces the cat power up. This makes traversing the game’s many levels even more dynamic as you can claw your way up steep walls, pounce upon your enemies or even climb the flagpole at the end.
Still as enjoyable
Seven years on, it hasn’t lost any of its magic or charm. I’m enjoying it just as much now as I did on the Wii U. I’ve almost exclusively played it multiplayer with friends. It’ll always be a delightfully chaotic party game, as it combines elements both cooperative and competitive. It’s always so much fun racing to the flagpole at the end of a level, trying to hold onto your crown without plummeting into a bottomless pit, and it often lends itself to some incredibly hilarious scenarios.
One feature the original did not have is online play. Nintendo’s online service is infamously antiquated and unstable, and lag is certainly present here, although thankfully it isn’t overbearing. Levels may occasionally slow down and drop a few frames. It’s mostly a minor inconvenience, although there can be larger spikes. Sadly at the moment local play isn’t really an option if you don’t all live in the same household, so I’m happy to let the occasional hiccup slide. I just hope over time Nintendo can provide a more stable service going forward, especially considering you have to pay to use it.
Bundled with Super Mario 3D World is the brand new single player title Bowser’s Fury. Considering it’s a bonus game on top of 3D World, for me it’s the star of the show here. It was an absolute joy to play. What you’re getting is essentially a whole new mini 3D Mario game. While it perhaps isn’t worth the price tag alone (it’s approximately ten hours in length if you’re going for everything) there’s still a lot of content packed in. It feels like Nintendo is trying to push what they learned with Super Mario Odyssey further with larger open worlds. Tighter platforming segments are interspersed with open world traversal. Personally I’d be happy seeing this formula used more in the future, providing they can maintain a decent level of challenge.
Ocean traversal is a lot of fun thanks to Plessie, the aquatic dinosaur. If you approach the water’s edge, Plessie is never far to be found. Even if you find yourself plummeting to the sea from a high platform, your faithful orange companion will always be there to ensure that returning to land will be a speedy endeavour.
The world is beautiful to look at, and the game comes with a great screenshot tool and editor to make the most of its visuals. There are so many vistas to climb and areas to discover that you can spend a lot of time just exploring and taking photos of your adventures.
Pretty good for a bonus game
My only complaint is that during the big Bowser battles the game’s camera is sluggish and struggles to keep up with the action. This is a slight shame considering these fights are supposed to be the highlight of the game. It is called Bowser’s Fury after all. I was still able to dive out of the way of Bowser’s attacks, but it did seem to lack a level of polish that could be found elsewhere. That aside, the boss battles are still a lot of fun, and I always love seeing the different ways they handle Bowser in each 3D Mario game. I’m glad Nintendo tried something new.
If I had to nitpick further, I would’ve liked some more challenging platforming segments in the postgame content. However, considering this game was a bonus in the first place, I’m very happy with the experience overall and how well the world’s space is used. It feels like a complete package. And considering Super Mario 3D World was already a fantastic game in the first place, to get a whole second game on top of it makes this a very content rich bundle indeed.
WORDS Andy Porter