Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo, 1-Up Studio
Content Warning: This game is a clean affair that can be enjoyed by everyone.
First off, I must say I am confused by whether this game is the console defining Mario title for the Wii U. I know the NES had the original three Super Mario games. SNES had Super Mario World, N64 with Super Mario 64, Gamecube with the gem of Super Mario Sunshine, and the Wii had the two Super Mario Galaxy games. It is safe to say that we all know that the New Super Mario Bros series is more of an in between Mario game rather than the system defining Mario game. The reason I am confused as to whether this is THAT Mario game is due to it not being the typical Mario 3D adventure in the vein of Sunshine or Galaxy. This feels more like a newer and much improved version of the New Super Mario Bros. Do not think for a second that this does not make the game good! I am just simply hoping for another classic Mario adventure that we have come to expect from games like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy.
Not that this part ever really matters but… Mario, Luigi, Peach (surprisingly NOT kidnapped), and Toad are hanging out when they run across a clear pipe. A fairy pops out and of course Bowser shows up to ruin the fun by snatching the fairy. Mario and company jump into the pipe to save the day! All in all it is just an excuse for another Mario game and I do not mind.
I must admit that the amount of fresh ideas Super Mario 3D World is simply staggering. I must admit that I never owned a Wii or 3DS so I never played Galaxy nor did I dive into Super Mario 3D Land but if this is the direction of Mario games then count me back in! Let’s start off by filling you in on the basics. There are eight worlds that you travel in Super Mario 3/New Super Mario Bros style. You can play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad and they each have their own special skill. Luigi can jump higher and Toad is faster, for example. The controls are tight and responsive. Right away the game lets you try the new cat suit and the fun abilities associated. Needless to say it is another wonderful addition and hearing Mario say “meow” is priceless! The levels are all 3D in a sense of that there is depth to them but they are still linear and you still have a checkpoint and final flag pole. It is enough of a change to feel fresh while still sticking to what it knows works. The new clear pipes are interesting and add a new unique challenge in later levels. Every time a new idea is introduced it tends to stick around for only that one level which makes it never overstay its welcome and keeps everything fresh. I must admit my absolute favorite level is the one where Mario feels like a classic Sonic game. When you reach it then you will know exactly what I am talking about. It made me fantasize about Nintendo making a Sonic game… sigh… As a bonus you can play the entire game away from your TV on your Wii U Gamepad which is always nice since I like to do this sometimes while watching television. My only gripe is that the game did not feel like a real challenge until the next to last level. A hard mode would have been much appreciated. But! That is a very minor complaint in the grand scheme of things. Also you can play with up to four people at once through the campaign!
Graphics and Sound
Super Mario 3D World looks and sounds great! Now, it is not as good looking as Mario Kart 8, in my opinion. However, it is a huge step up from New Super Mario Bros U which was underwhelming to say the least. I am not sure what else to say besides to play the game yourself. Screenshots and videos almost do it justice but something about seeing it with your own eyes just makes everything look and sound better. Nothing will make you say wow but it all looks good in HD.
If you own a Wii U and you do not own Super Mario 3D World then you are missing out on an instant gem. This title is that one game you pick up besides Mario Kart 8. You can play with four people at one through the campaign which is flipping awesome! I highly recommend!
The Bottom Line