Nintendo has done it again. Every single time a Super Mario game hits the shelves they somehow manage to take the simplest game genre, platformer, and turn it into something brilliant. Super Mario 3D World is no different. With new power ups and phenomenal level design, Super Mario 3D World is sure to have you hooked. Despite being overshadowed by the launch of the Xbox One and Playstation 4, Nintendo has made big waves with what is definitely a candidate for game of the year.
While going for a stroll in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario, Luigi, Toad and Peach come across a mysterious pipe. A fairy appears from the pipe calling for help to rescue the rest of the bottled fairies from the grasp of none other than Bowser. Peach being the caring little princess she is, she dives right into the pipe to help, with Mario and the gang quickly following suit. The pipe spits you out onto a world map similar to the classic Super Mario 3, and your adventure begins. Your goal is to clear the stages in these worlds, collecting stars and stamps, and defeating the castles at the end of the worlds to free the bottled fairies.
Much like Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS, the gameplay is a hybrid of a classic side scroller and a 3D adventure game. While collecting the stars and overcoming each levels obstacles you will have a time limit to reach the flag pole finish. You can choose between Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Mario can jump high and is easiest to control, but is a little slow, Luigi jumps the highest but is harder to control, Peach can float in mid-jump but is probably the slowest character, and finally Toad runs the fastest but cannot jump as high as the others. So what makes this instalment of the Mario franchise so innovative? It’s all about the power-ups. Of course there is your usual power-ups like the fire flower or the tanooki suit, but there are some new weapons added to our little plumber’s arsenal. Probably the biggest addition is the cat suit. The cat suit not only gives you added agility but also many other advantages. To access some stars in certain stages you’ll need the cat suit to paw at gears, revealing pathways and secrets. You’ll also rack up more points when you can simply climb the finish flag pole to the top, as opposed to trying to jump. You can obtain this power from finding the bell in a coin block or by stomping out a new foe, the cat goomba. The next new power up is the double cherry, which clones the player’s character and mimics all the same movements. You can also collect multiple double cherries, creating your own small army.
Graphically Super Mario 3D World is one of the prettiest games out there. The stages and backgrounds are incredibly bright and sharp, making it very pleasing to the eye. Nintendo did not slack off with the World maps either. Each World is just as pretty as the stages, with shimmering water and colorful landscapes. Not only do the stages look good but the design of them is imaginative and entertaining. Each stage is unpredictable and completely different from the next, whether its racing through a river on a dinosaur or sliding through ice stages dodging goombas on skates. As you progress through the worlds each stage is more wacky and brilliant.
Super Mario 3D World offers a decent degree of difficulty. While the mid-World boss battles are generally pretty simple, some stages will require multiple playthroughs and investigating to obtain all the stars and stamps. Really stumped on a stage? You can always download ghost mii’s for the miiverse to join the stage with you and possibly give you some tips or tricks. Like most Super Mario games, the game is even more entertaining when you’re playing with friends. Super Mario 3D World can be played many different ways, using the Game pad, Wii remote, or classic & pro controllers. Certain stages will require the game pad, as some obstacles can only be activated by touching or dragging the touch screen or blowing into the mic. The game pad works very well as a controller for Super Mario 3D World, offering more accurate control than the Wii remote. Clearing the worlds with friends is not only more entertaining, but more beneficial when it comes to discovering stars and stamps. You’ll also need a bit of team work if you want to find all of the secrets and still make it to the flag pole finish at the end before the time limit runs out.
With incredible level design, innovative new power ups, and just all around brilliant gameplay, Super Mario 3D World is quite possibly the best game of the year. If you own a Wii U you need to experience one of Nintendo’s greatest efforts, and if you don’t own a Wii U and are waiting for a worthy title that utilizes all the console has to offer, look no further than Super Mario 3D World.
Title: Super Mario 3D World
Format: Nintendo WiiU
Developer & Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 22nd 2013