The release of a Super Mario game is always a special event in the gaming world. Nintendo’s Italian plumber is one of the most recognizable characters ever created, known and loved by both young and old audiences alike. Gamers all over the world literally go wild every time the creative minds at Nintendo come up with a new Mario game. The same excitement and enthusiasm can be found in this Super Mario 3D World, the latest Mario game and the first high-definition 3D platformer starring the Italian plumber for the Wii U.
Super Mario 3D World‘s story is not too different from any other Super Mario games. The only exception is that this time it’s not Peach who gets kidnapped. Bowser has taken away the Sprixie Princess and 6 of her friends in an attempt to conquer each of their Kingdoms. It will be up to Mario and his gang, as usual, to rescue them and thwart Bowser’s plans once again. The plot is really nothing special, but it serves as an entertaining backdrop for the new adventure that awaits Mario and his friends on Nintendo’s latest flagship console.
Where Super Mario 3D World truly shines is in its gameplay component. I really don’t exaggerate when saying that nothing like this has been done before in a Super Mario game. While the general game progression is pretty much the same as always – progress through different themed worlds, complete all the stages until you reach a final boss, defeat him or her and move on to the next world – the way the stages have been designed is something never seen before in other Mario games.
Each stage is completely different from the one before and each introduces you to a unique game mechanic. You will find yourself exploring a circus during one stage, complete with some tricky jumping sequences, only to soon realize that you’re experiencing something entirely different as you advance to another stage. Different stages provide different fun activities like speeding through a Mario Kart or riding a giant boot to defeat Goombas, and some of these activities mirror those found earlier in Super Mario Bros 3. Super Mario 3D Land did try to do something like this but the scope here is simply bigger and better in every possible way. There are just so many variety of things to do in each stage that it will be hard to put the game down because you’ll likely be itching to grab those controllers just to see what happens next. There is a sense of discovery in Super Mario 3D World that’s been lacking in the series for quite a while. Most stages rarely follow the general theme of the world they’re a part of.
This sense of discovery and wonderment is also enhanced by the inclusion of new power ups that work incredibly well in the context of the game. The Cat Suit will allow your character to climb walls and do an effective pounce attack while the Double Cherry will allow you to control multiple clones of your character at the same time. Both new power ups feel incredibly simple to use. No one can keep a straight face when controlling multiple Marios at the same time.
Super Mario 3D World is the first Mario game since the classic Super Mario Bros 2 to feature multiple playable characters. Available from the beginning are Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad, with Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy becoming available later on. All of the playable characters have different abilities that will make specific stages easier or every bit more challenging, depending on your choice of character. Mario is the usual well rounded character while Luigi can jump higher than everyone else. Peach can use her parasol to glide and Toad can outrun pretty much everyone. Some areas inside the stages are only accessible by a specific character so you will have to play through some of them more than once to be able to collect everything.
Super Mario 3D World also includes a multiplayer mode, allowing up to four characters to play at the same time. For the first time ever I can say that the multiplayer experience in a Mario game is on par with the single player one. The fun in playing with other players in the New Super Mario series is often hampered by the limitations in movement as well as because of the dull 2D gameplay. Fortunately, those hangups aren’t a serious problem in this game. In Super Mario 3D World you can choose to work together to fully explore the various stages of the game or to simply compete with one another to see who manages to get more points at the end of each stage. The cooperative and competitive aspects of the multiplayer mode manage to add yet another layer of depth to a game that’s already quite inventive and engaging.
Being a Wii U game, Super Mario 3D World makes use of the Gamepad’s unique features. The integration with the Gamepad is very nicely done and cleverly used. The Off TV play option is also available and can be activated with ease.
As the very first HD Super Mario game, Super Mario 3D World looks stunning. Graphics are excellent and manage to enhance the incredible artistic direction of the game while allowing everything to run at a steady 60 frames per second. The game’s soundtrack is just as good, with a fully orchestrated score that breathes new life into many of the classic Mario songs. Some tunes are just so catchy that you may find yourself pausing in the middle of the game just to listen to them. As far as voice-acting goes, there’s very little of that, as expected of a Mario game.
Super Mario 3D World is an excellent game where every element has been masterfully crafted to create one of the best Super Mario games to date. It’s a game that keeps you engaged from beginning to end thanks to the huge amount of contents and the very fun multiplayer mode, all of which can keep you busy for a while. There’s simply so much to discover in this game that you will never feel bored. If you own a Wii U and decide to pass on this game, you’re simply making a mistake. I can recommend with full confidence that Super Mario 3D World is quite simply the best Wii U title ever released thus far.