Nintendo gamers rejoice as Mario is back for yet another adventure that is full of new worlds, surprises and treats to boot. This is not the time to discount Nintendo or Mario as what you are about to experience with Super Mario 3D World is one of their best experiences to date, and I’m not kidding.
Super Mario 3D World is the sort of game that will never age and has created a formula that is known to almost every gamer and non-gamer alike around the world which is to run super-fast, eat mushrooms and save the kingdom from the clutches of Bowser. That basically sums up the story for anyone living under a rock for the past 28 years that Mario has been around and if you haven’t noticed that by now, it’s best to stop reading now.
Super Mario 3D World is a mixture of almost every Mario title ever released before it. Whether it’s the floating island in the sky style formula that was born with Super Mario 64, to the insane physics and planetary style action that was Super Mario Galaxy, there’s plenty that will make you remember each game from the past. Even the over world map is reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 3 and you certainly will notice almost every type of power up that has graced a Mario title is present less a few that well, simply didn’t fit.
The game is split into seven worlds that you must conquer in your bid to defeat bowser. Each world consists of different zones or stages that you must complete to progress to the next. Within each level the idea is simple and involves surviving the level and reaching the flag pole within the designated time limit. Simple stuff really. However what makes Super Mario 3D World fun is the variety and personalisation in each stage that has such an immense level of appeal that it never gets old. There are of course three green starts to collect per level and a stamp for your sticker book for those who want to collect it all and I suggest you do as there is as always a reward for collecting every star, stamp and landing on the flag pole.
Super Mario 3D World has also introduced new enemies, switches, puzzles and challenges to keep you busy or drive you mentally insane trying to reach every coin or star in a particular level. Also to help things along a new power up has been added to the game in the form of a cat suit. At first I thought, what on earth would I do with a cat suit? In fact, it’s now my most favourite power up and allows Mario or whoever picks up the new power up to run up walls that are inaccessible to others and the rewards can be secret areas, stars, stamps, coins, 1-ups and more. Mario can also scratch enemies head on as opposed to jumping relentlessly and adds a new dynamic to the game. It certainly is a great power up and one you’ll be ensuring is always available in your inventory.
The first few worlds are of course designed to ease you into the experience, so expect to breeze through these worlds. However, as you progress, the difficulty increases and will result in many attempts and potential broken controllers and or thumb sticks. This is a good thing personally because at no point does Super Mario 3D World feel like a total walk in the park, in fact in the later stages it can be the opposite. It’s also worth noting that each character has their own advantages. Mario is a great all-rounder, however Luigi can jump extra high, Peach can float that bit further and Toad can sprint that little bit faster. For the most part, all characters will get the job done, however there are certain stages that require that tiny little advantage that only a particular character can give so if you find yourself unable to make that long jump, try repeating the stage with Peach and the results will be different no doubt.
Super Mario 3D World in terms of value is exceptional. Yes you can blast through the seven worlds as quick as you can and collecting the bare minimum number of starts to take on Bowser and see the credits roll. But if you’ve ever truly enjoyed a Mario title, the hidden gem is in exploration and trying to beat each level, identify secret areas and nail the flag pole on every jump. In this regard, Super Mario 3D World will provide countless hours of fun and will reward you with additional secret levels and worlds should you try and seek them out and I highly recommend that you do. There is also a huge amount of variety in each level which keeps the game fresh and new, and you never feel as if the level feels repetitive or the same as the one just passed which is fantastic.
Super Mario 3D World can be played as either a single player experience or with friends locally on the one screen. Playing solo is loads of fun yet adding some friends can make it better or worse depending on whom you add. Multiplayer adds a different dimension to the game that is a treat. Throw in three other gamers and get ready for mayhem. Whether you work together, gang up on each other, or try and get the most points for yourself you’ll be laughing and crying at the results. I had the pleasure of spending a week with family and we played with four players which was a great party experience, however I also yelled at toad who kept thinking it was funny to grab me and throw me off a ledge so he could get the star in that particular level before me, just dandy!
You’ll certainly have a blast bumping into your friends, jumping on their heads and carrying them along for the ride. Super Mario 3D world is just as brilliant in multiplayer mode as it is playing alone and I highly recommend giving it a go in that regard.
Graphics and Sound
Visually Super Mario 3D World is gorgeous, bright and colourful and the sort of game you want to have your kids and just about every other gamer you know experience. Mario has certainly taken a significant jump in visual fidelity with the move to 1080p and it shows in every aspect of the detail. Whether it’s the glistening of the water, to the smoke appearing and dissipating off the ground as Mario sprints on by , its these small details you appreciate. The detail and attention to it are some of the things you miss in many games today. Super Mario 3D World also runs perfectly on the Wii U without a single glitch, game freeze or slowdown’s and this is a true testament to what gaming should be. No online patches, no half cooked turkey, just 100% pure gaming bliss.
In terms of audio Super Mario 3D world has a beautiful musical score, as well as the classic tunes from prior games remastered. There’s even a hint of Zelda and Donkey Kong in certain tracks that you’ll spot. Finally all this also translates to a perfectly mirrored experience on the game pad which I must admit I love dearly especially when using the camera function to look around a certain level or tap the screen to collect those coins in the distance, activate switches and ledges.
Super Mario 3D World is a true masterpiece that many gamers will miss out on given the title was lost amongst all the next generation hardware launches. However if you did manage to see this little gem on the shelf and pick it up then you have made probably one of the best decisions of your life in terms of gaming. Super Mario 3D World is one of the most inventive platformer’s and shows us as gamers what Nintendo is best known for and that is fun games that can be enjoyed by any genre, age and demographic of gamer. My advice is to pick up Super Mario 3D World and experience one of the best games of 2013 and if you don’t own a Wii U console, this is every bit a reason to jump in and get one.
10 / 10
Editor’s Note: As fun and addictive as this game is, those on our family trip upon their return each went out and purchased a Wii U and Super Mario 3D World based on our experience as a group the week before.