Playing a 3D Mario game has never felt so good
Playing a Mario game usually follows a certain pattern, when playing a traditional Mario game you will often get a multiplayer component so you can play together with friends or family. However the three dimensional Mario games have always been a more lonely adventure with their strict single player playthroughs. This single player idea however is one of the past, with Mario’s friends joining him for the first time on an adventure in the third dimension.
Mario begins this adventure out on a stroll through the castle gardens, watching the fireworks with Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach when all of a sudden a clear pipe appears. Out of it pops a sprixie in panic when suddenly Bowser pops out and grabs the Sprixie and vanishes back down the pipe. In distress the four go jumping (and falling) down the pipe to go to the rescue. From here we see Peach takes on a playable role for the first time since Super Mario Bros 2 (not including the Princess Peach game on the DS).
Super Mario 3D World is single player compatible and is a blast to play alone and remains quite fun, however multiplayer is truly this game’s biggest positive. The way Nintendo has gotten into the characters is a great thing by providing each one with a different ability to benefit the character and do better in some levels. Luigi keeps his traditional bigger jump, Peach has an excellent glide, Toad is fast and Mario is a great all-rounder. As long as the character you want is not taken you can change to them at anytime at the start of a level to use their abilities. To make things better you can use just about any control style compatible.
Design is also another really great point of Super Mario 3D World. The world map is very similar to the ones seen in the New Super Mario Bros games mixed with some hidden secrets to find. Each level has also been well designed, with each tending to focus on a different idea such as ending up in a giant ice skate and zipping across frozen plains, another few end up using a friendly dinosaur named Plessie to take Mario and friends across different level themes, another features the use of a head mounted cannon to blast distant switches to turn on the path. Each level features a diverse theme that keeps the game interesting up until the very end, better still levels are also fun to revisit time and again to strive for a better time.
As with all Mario games, Nintendo tends to add a new power up ability to keep things interesting and fresh, for this adventure Nintendo has opted for the cat bell which puts Mario and Co in an adorably cute cat costume that just gets better as the game progresses. The costume is natural and I love the end of level effect for it provides each character with an adorable yet diverse meow which even carries over to enemies with the cat bell.
The cat power up is cleverly used across many levels and easily adds to the attractiveness of each one. As a cat the characters get the ability to scale walls to reach new heights and quite often is used to find or reach hidden secrets throughout the levels. Adding further to the appeal the cat power up also adds a new layer of offensive abilities for the characters providing them with a sharp and swift claw attack.
The double cherry is also new to the game and creates a second copy of your character. While this item is barely seen it does not really remain fun for long when it does appear. Keeping copies alive when they accidentally stray away is frustrating and often doesn’t work causing problems for later sections of the levels they exist in.
The usual star coins have been removed in favour of green stars which follows the basic same rule as previous Mario games. You will need to collect them in order to see everything the game has to offer including a good portion of post credit content which easily makes you want to go and clean them up. As long as you keep playing there is plenty to do and a special bonus that people might recognize to enjoy all the bonus levels you will come across.
Outside of the traditional Mario platforming there are also special Captain Toad levels, these levels are more puzzle based and place you in the shoes of Captain Toad as he seeks to reach all five green stars hidden about his obstacle course. These levels are fun and are cleverly designed relying heavily on camera positioning and problem solving. These levels acted as a great change on the traditional gameplay and are enjoyable in having to use your brain in order to succeed plus losing the ability to jump while being Captain Toad just makes when you succeed even more enjoyable.
Super Mario 3D World is great fun and it’s impossible to deny just how great everything about this is. I will admit I really loved Bowser here and his final boss fight. Usually I finish these disappointed but I was quite satisfied particularly after seeing his very egocentric Eggman like final area. Usually a game’s final area can ruin the experience but it seems that the end just made the experience better from then on and will keep a smile on its players face from beginning to end.
Final Score: 9.5