Super Mario 3D World Wii U Review
If there’s anything that’s constant in this world, it’s death, taxes, and a well-made Mario game. Like many of the portly plumber’s mainline titles since 1985, Super Mario 3D World is vibrant, colorful, and well-functioning, but very similar to his titles of old, in this case the New Super Mario Bros. series. However, one little twist makes this a worthwhile purchase over the admittedly similar entries in the New Super Mario Bros. universe: 3D. Using the 3D platforming play from Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS, this transition to the big screen is a great time for everyone involved, even those who apparently are depth perception-challenged and hop off cliffs at a moment’s notice. Not naming names here.
Like any good Mario game, the titular plumber and his good friends are just enjoying their day when that mean ol’ Bowser comes around and steals the Princess! Oh no wait, that’s not the Princess. Instead, Bowser has kidnapped the Sprixies, a group of colorful little fairies. Chalk this one up to innovation, friends. So now it’s down to you and up to three friends to stop Bowser and save the Sprixies.
The game then proceeds in a way everyone may be familiar with. You go through multiple worlds, traversing various platforming levels in order to defeat Bowser and save your new friends. While this is all old hat, the developers have once again shown their stuff in crafting beautiful and fun places for you to run and jump across with your friends. Many different worlds await you, each with their own twists awaiting you. At one point you may be just platforming like normal, but the next you may be chasing down an errant flagpole. My personal favorite was A Beam in the Dark, which has some of the best music in the game. While playing, I never once felt bored, like I was doing the same ol’ same ol’ all over again. You don’t even have to play as Mario! Each character brings something to the table. Toad runs faster, Luigi jumps higher, Peach can float farther, and Mario… Mario’s name is on the box. (Mario officially has ‘balanced stats’, but that’s boring, isn’t it? I mean, come on, Luigi’s got the mad hops AND he’s got a personality as well, even if that personality is paralyzing cowardice. Hey, it’s something.)
More power-ups are once again added to the fray. While I’m sure everybody has their eyes on those double cherries that multiply your character, it’s the super bells that truly stole the show. Upon receiving one, your character turns into a fluffy, adorable cat, who gains the power to run up walls. It’s cute and all, but its power is what’s so great about it. Well, that and they’re adorable, though things start getting weird when you see Cat Goombas. There are also invincibility leaves, brought around when you die a certain amount of times in a level. These give you the power of – you guessed it – invincibility, plus the powers of a tanooki suit. Don’t ask how many times I received these leaves.
Another interesting little diversion are certain minigame areas. These are denoted by a little purple house in which you attempt to get ten green stars in a short amount of time. Of course, perhaps there was another minigame within the game, one that everyone was talking about. Oh yeah, Captain Toad!
Occasionally, you come across a Toad in a miner’s hat, and talking to him will allow you play a solo affair where the vertically-challenged Captain must collect five green stars while moving through a diagram-like box where jumping is not allowed. Those short stumpy legs aren’t quite NBA material, after all. Instead, you must use your platforming skills to scurry around, avoiding enemies while collecting the stars. Heck, it was popular enough to get its own spinoff a year later.
Bringing the 3D concept from Super Mario 3D Land onto the Wii U was a great move, and it created a game that, despite taking many cues from Mario’s old (“New” old) adventures, still manages to bring about a fresh game that affords many things for you to do, like collecting all the green stars, getting the stamp, and reaching the top of the flagpole.
While most of the game is of the more family-friendly easy variety of difficulty, later levels can end up really testing you, enough that maybe, just maybe, that invincibility leaf of shame will pop up to let you know that yes, you’re pretty bad at this. This game was yet another solid, fun-for-days title in the Mario series. Just don’t bother collecting the coins. Trust me.