The Mario games have always been a part of my core. I mean, I respect the video game universe, with all its genres, updates, and whatever else has been embedded in the virtual world that is controlled by people. But Mario and his colorful environments are what video games are all about; fun, challenging, and discovery.
Super Mario 3D World, a sequel to the AMAZING Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) is the first Wii U game that FEELS like a Wii U game, and my word, it is fantastic. As soon as you are thrown into the first world, the smiles come fast and furious, and before long, that Mario game learning curve sets out to destroy you, even as you are having the time of your life playing it.
The formula has changed a little bit; Bowser steals a female, but this time, it ain’t the princess. He kidnaps these little fairies and throws them into his familiar castles. It’s up to Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad to set things right (up to four players can take down baddies at a time), exploring the traditional grass, ice, and water levels, finding surprises along the way.
One of those new surprises is the power up known as the cat suit. Mario and company can turn into adorable kitties that can pounce and scale walls. This new wardrobe is functional in any area, and makes getting around levels so much easier when you can claw up parts of the mini world you are trying to get through. Familiar power ups include the fire flower, mega mushroom, and the much beloved Tankooki suit. There’s also a cherry power up that will create a clone of whatever character you’re controlling, making for some fun insanity as you blast through the level.
Gameplay is not much different from previous Mario games, except for the addition of having three extra players. There is also single player only levels that has a “miner” Toad looking for green stars, which fill in for star coins from other Mario games. Sometimes players will come across points that require an action on the Wii U tablet, which aren’t gimmicky. These additions just make the game more fun.
Graphically, the game looks phenomenal. I don’t lie when I say Mario and the gang have never looked better, and the HD capabilities help that feature a lot. The game is filled to the brim with colorful characters and stages, and each bit is rendered beautifully.
Music is also a major plus, as the themes familiar to gamers that have been playing Mario for decades pop up frequently. There are variations on classic tunes, infused with a jazzy or disco vibe, livening up the atmosphere in only the way a Mario game can.
The only major flaw of the game is the camera. While playing the game with my girlfriend, we encountered a level in the third world that just become annoying. The camera moved too fast at some points and too slow at others, and trying to get to the end flag pole felt like a chore more than fun.
Other than that, any Wii U owner would be crazy not to pick this new Mario entry up. At only four levels in, it’s been a wild ride thus far, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. Nintendo should be proud of themselves for finally relinquishing the familiar “New” brand to get them by anymore, and instead gives us something more along the lines of a Super Mario 64 for the Wii U. And there ain’t anything wrong with that. This game is a must buy for any fans of the franchise, a definite Wii U seller for those doubting the system.