Review Context: As stated before in my DuckTales: Remastered review, after Duck Tales, Super Mario Bros. was my next game to play on the NES. From that moment forward I have played all the main Mario games of the series on the SNES, GameBoy, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Wii, 3DS, and now his new outing on the Wii U.
Date of Playthrough: January 6, 2014
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Mario is to video games as Mickey is to Disney. That’s what goes through my mind when I think of the Mario Bros franchise. Today Mario’s name can be replaced with other characters since video games have become broader to mainstream appeal. Over the years, a new Mario game meant as a showoff for what the Nintendo hardware is capable of. As time went on, it seemed the Mario games were starting to lose their appeal (unless it’s a 2D side scrolling one). Mario has now become an annual release while the Zelda franchise has time to stay fresh.
After the showing of Super Mario 3D World at E3 2013, people were not impressed with the reveal stating that it looks like a copy and paste of Super Mario 3D Land that was released in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS.
Once again, Nintendo proves that you can’t judge a book by its cover as it shows that this would be the first four player co-op 3D platforming game that uses elements from the past 2D and 3D Mario games.
Considering that the game was released the same day as Microsoft’s Xbox One, Nintendo was hoping to get those buyers to pick up a Wii U. Has this game brought a new idea to the Mushroom Kingdom or should we not check another castle?
It’s clear from the beginning that Nintendo put a lot of time into their visuals for the HD era and it shows. Everything is bright, colorful and little details such as the lint on the cat power up shows. When characters come out of the water you can see their clothes stay wet for a period of time. The visual effect of the screen getting wet when it storms is breathtaking.
What’s a Mario game without tight gameplay? (Forget Hotel Mario) 3D World’s gameplay is easy to pick up so anyone can play, but some moves like the long jump do take some timing to make use of. The game uses multiple control schemes. The game supports the Gamepad, Pro Controller, Wiimote and Nunchuk, and the Wii Classic Controller Pro. Giving you multiple ways to play. I used the Wiimote and Nunchuk scheme the most because of Mario Galaxy, but there are moments where you have to use the Gamepad.
Gamepad features include using the touch screen to find secrets in the level. Blow into the mic to make platforms move; yes they do that, and Off TV play. The Gamepad also helps out Captain Toad (I’ll get to that later). Though I still prefer the control scheme from Mario Galaxy, I had to keep reminding myself that the motion moves have been removed.
Using other control schemes work just as well so when you get 4 player co-op going on no one will feel bad for having to use the bad controller.
While Mario games lack in story, they make up in content. You travel to eight different worlds, which are not theme based, each level changes it’s beat from time to time. Not as much as Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, but enough to make you think off your game when you think you know the pattern of the level. The levels play out more exploring and less speed run like the New Super Mario series. Not to say there are a few moments where they give you just enough time to speed run certain levels. The big change is that you can play as four different characters; Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad (including a secret character you unlock later).
People who played Super Mario Bros 2 will know what I’m talking about. It’s great that each character has a different ability to make you think who you want to choose. From Peach’s hover ability to Toad being a fast player. Each character brings out the challenge though there are some secrets that require you to use a certain character. I found myself using the random option since I don’t have a favorite just like when I played Super Mario Bros 2. Speaking of, I feel the fairies you save in 3D World look similar to the ones you save in Super Mario Bros 2. Before I get off topic about that, like most 3D Mario games you have a lot of items to collect for that 100% completion.
You can find stickers (Nintendo’s achievement) and green stars you must collect to unlock special levels at the end of the game. This is what makes this game great. There were moments after I beat the main game I thought I could put the game down, but another secret level opened up and I dove right in. What’s a Mario game without power ups? Most of the normal power ups such as the Fire Flower and Super Leaf return, but the Cat Suit adds a layer of depth. The Cat Suit gives you the ability to swipe enemies and climb walls. The cherry power up from Super Mario Bros 2 returns to double up your character making it challenging to control multiple yous. Then there is Captain Toad… His missions require thinking since he cannot jump and has two lives. You use the Gamepad to look around the level. It is inspired from Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS. What impresses me about the segments is how 3D the levels are without being in 3D if that makes any sense. The Captain Toad levels got so much praise; Nintendo at E3 announced that he will have his own game coming out later this year. When you add local multiplayer to the mayhem, you’ll have a fun time without playing the blame game as much your buddies did in the New Super Mario series.
Every Mario game has that one tune where you find yourself humming with the theme. This game is no exception. From the colorful tunes and sound effects you know in a Mario game there have also been little details in the substance. Biggest example of this is when you go underwater the music starts getting a mellow vibe since underwater levels go for the peaceful feel. There are also new pieces of music when you play a Japanese style level having that B movie Japanese feel. The only drawback for me is the lack of surround sound support.
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