The Holiday release schedule is in full swing with next-gen consoles finally hitting living rooms and a massive wave of quality games vying for a spot underneath the Christmas tree. One such entry that's turning heads everywhere is Mario's latest title for the Wii U which boasts gorgeous graphics, four player coop, and classic platforming gameplay for modern consoles. Is the hype warranted or does Nintendo's reputation do most of the talking?
Nintendo has begun a trend with Mario titles where they branch his adventures off from his more story oriented quest found in such titles like Super Mario Galaxy or Sunshine in favor of new series based purely on platforming. In the case of Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo has expanded upon the 3DS title Super Mario 3D Land for the Wii U (and will most likely continue to do so in the future.) However if I have more of these games to look forward to, the future with my Wii U will certainly be a bright one.
Gameplay: This new and exciting franchise has some bold design choices and fresh features that sets it apart from recent entries in Mario games. Along with bringing the Tanuki suit, fire flowers, super stars, mega mushroom, and boomerang flower into the 3D universe, SM3DW also gives players the cat suit and multiplication. Additionally the plot of the game is (kind of) different with Princess Peach being a playable character rather than a mission objective to rescue. She's the first to jump to the rescue for seven Fairy 'Sprixie' Princesses and has her own unique ability to float.
There are four playable characters to choose from including Mario, Luigi, Peach, and a blue toad who all have their strengths and weaknesses. Mario is the most balanced of the four, Luigi excels in jumping, Toad is faster, and Peach can hover for a short period of time. All are equipped with the move set established in Mario games such as the somersault, long jump, back flip, and wall jump to help maneuver through the colorful and vibrant levels. Unfortunately the triple jump is still missing.
But what about this new cat suit? I hear you ask. On top of being cute to behold, it also opens up quite a number of attack and moves to execute. I'm particularly fond of the crouching kitty move which is followed up with a pretty mean pounce attack. Some however usually end up failing like the diving air-bomb attack which most likely ends in me falling down a pitfall. The ability to climb walls can be a little bit cheap however, saving yourself from a pitfall or climbing to the very top of a flagpole is made much easier by running up the wall but this is a very minor complaint.
Graphics: Nintendo's first party games for the Wii U so far are all absolutely gorgeous, bright, rich, and detailed. Much like Pikmin 3, the levels offered to explore have a lot of imagination and look stunning running in 1080p. Sticking true to Mario traditions, levels all fall under themes such as grassy fields, deserts, snow lands, haunted houses, lava castle, or beach water levels, many of which are both a treat to play and watch.
Downsides: A lot of praise has been graciously showered upon Super Mario 3D World but it's not without a few downsides. In typical Nintendo fashion, the online aspect is incredibly weak. Where most games that are released nowadays have a diverse and readily multiplayer experience, Nintendo still can't quite nail down that feature. With Super Mario 3D World strongly emphasizing 4 player coop for the first time in a 3D Mario game, it's very difficult to defend this unfortunate omission, relegating the experience down to only local multiplayer.
Bottom Line: It's fun. It's beautiful. It plays like a dream. Super Mario 3D World deserves the rave reviews however that doesn't mean it's recommendable for everyone. Nintendo makes sure that their games are family friendly and Marios latest title definitely fits that description. Gamers without an open mind won't find over the top action and explosions they are accustomed to. But for anyone out there who wants a reliable, beautiful, and thoroughly enjoyable game, look no further than the company who established effective game design.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was purchased by the reviewer for game review purposes.
(Images: All characters, logos, artwork and properties are copyright of Nintendo, as linked above)