Kaushik here again, back to review another video game. My first reviewed Wii U title in fact, Super Mario 3D World. I may never have expressed my views on this particular series of games before, but I’ll do so now as a quick preface. As far as recent Mario games have been concerned, I have not been totally impressed. Particularly with the New Super Mario Bros. line of games, and the predecessor to this title, Super Mario 3D Land. So my expectations for this game were not high to begin with. However, I got a chance to play (and beat) the game over the last two weeks, and I must say, this is a must-have game for Wii U owners. All fifteen of you.
3D World surprised me in many ways. While the game play is similar to 3D Land, it’s definitely more refined. It keeps the 4 player craziness from the console New Super Mario Bros. game, which adds a whole new element of fun to the game. There’s just something about 4 players moving around on a 3D map that’s all sorts of fun. While I do have a general issue that no one can quite tell what’s going on at any point in the level, it’s still all in good fun. Plus, while Mario games can generally be easy, 4 players (even competent runs) can be something of an obstacle, which is a ton of fun.
So what’s the basic game play like? Well, you run and you jump. You face off against enemies big and small, you use powers old and new to traverse the various levels in this world. The game play is surprisingly varied in level design, which is quite enjoyable. There’s a lot of verticality to some of the levels that you don’t generally see in Mario games, which was very appreciated. There were some gimmicky levels that incorporate tablet use. They’re enjoyable, but you can tell Nintendo was just trying to incorporate the tablet in a few levels. The new powers are definitely a lot of fun to play around with, especially the Cat power. There’s a lot of mobility offered there, and it’s great to play around with.
There’s a lot of tiny things in this game I love too. The free roam map, the item houses, the classic 8-bit Mario, there’s just a lot of little nostalgic and new things to this game that are a joy to play and a treat to enjoy. One of my favorite new features is the “item bank”. It’s not quite like the one in Super Mario Bros. 3 in that it’s an actual bank, but it’s more of an “anti-theft” maneuver. When you play with multiple players, multiple items equal to the number of players come out of blocks. However, if a player grabs more than 1 of them, accidentally or otherwise, that item is usually gone forever. Now, however, that item is saved in a “bank” of sorts any player can access, which I find supremely cool.
Moreover, I enjoy the secrets in the game, from the stamps to the star coins to the green stars. The collectibles add some replayability and something fun to look towards when the easiness of the levels might get to you. They are in a lot of cases quite well-hidden, and confer some neat bonuses once you get all of them. Things like warp pipes to other worlds and access to secret worlds can be quite exciting to find!
The graphics are surprisingly better than I anticipated. People joke about the Wii U graphics a lot, and honestly up to this point I haven’t been seriously wowed by any Wii U graphics until this game. Super Mario 3D World has a lot of gorgeous settings and stages, and it’s a visual treat. The lighting and how perspective changes are handled are great; and with the amount of crazy action that can be going on at once, it’s cool to see little to no slowdown in the game.
Similarly, the music is surprisingly better than I thought it’d be. To be honest, I’ve been getting really sick of that same New Super Mario Bros. theme that I’ve been hearing so much these past several years, so listening to some new music (and some remixed oldies, of course!) is a great feeling. Super Mario 3D World does a lot to be different, which I appreciate, but still definitely keeps to its solid Mario roots, which in my opinion is quite the winning formula.
— Fun to play, especially with friends
— Does not fall into the recent rehash trend the Mario series has seen
— Surprisingly good graphics
— Still a fairly easy game
— Wii U gamepad use is gimmicky at best
— Not as fun by yourself I’d imagine
— It’s on the Wii U?
Available on: Wii U
Release date: November 22, 2013
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