Super Mario 3D World Review

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Super Mario 3D World Review

Wii U owners have been patiently waiting for system selling software to be released, and while a few enticing titles in Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD have been released, no game could pique the interest of gamers quite like the brand new Super Mario 3D World. Though, even Super Mario 3D World was initially met with major criticisms like not being Super Mario Galaxy 3 or being too much like Super Mario 3D Land. In the end, Super Mario 3D World surpassed most people’s expectations and is rightfully sitting on the thrown as the best Wii U game to date.

For the first time since Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach are playable characters. This time – instead of battling within the subconscious mind of a plumber – you will be teaming up to fight against Bowser (I guess some tropes will never die) in an effort to save the seven Sprixie Princesses of the Sprixie Kingdom. While this story isn’t exactly original, it’s refreshing to be someplace that isn’t the Mushroom Kingdom.


Once you enter the Sprixie Kingdom, you will find yourself wandering around a world map containing each of the game’s levels. These world maps are a little different than most as they let you roam freely without tying you down to a specific path; however, while there are a few small secrets hidden amongst these maps, they serve mainly as a hub for each world. The real game begins once you enter one of the maps’ many levels.

This game plays a lot like other 3D Mario games, but specifically Super Mario 3D Land. Of course, this means you will be jumping and stomping enemies until you reach the flagpole waiting at the end of each level. However, Super Mario 3D World’s levels are much bigger in nature and a whole lot more creative. You will encounter a lot of interesting level design, including a lot of difficult platforming, though nothing a Super Mario Bros. master can’t handle. In fact, Super Mario 3D World uses a lot of themes not found in most other Mario games. There are levels designed with a circus theme and even levels designed to look like a Japanese Dojo.


Super Mario 3D World is able to offer a fresh take on the series thanks mostly to new power-ups and the four-player co-op. Sitting at the front of Nintendo’s marketing materials is the cat transformation: a power-up that lets players become an adorable feline capable of climbing walls, swiping its claws, and a nifty claw diving attack. These new abilities have allowed Nintendo to create levels that are bigger in nature and a little more open-ended than levels from Super Mario 3D Land. This particular power-up is one of my personal favourites from the series and I’d rank it amongst the very best. Though, there are other new power-ups that are worth mentioning, as well. Specifically, the Double Cherry, a power-up that clones whoever touches its glistening red flesh. Collect a second Double Cherry and you will split in half once again. This particular power-up doesn’t do much for level design, but it sure is a lot of fun to use.

Multiplayer is also a huge draw for Super Mario 3D World and I would know because I’ve played with plenty of different people over the holidays. For the more straight-forward levels, co-op is a lot of fun; however, levels with gimmicks that are difficult to traverse in single player become absolutely nightmarish. Less experienced players have trouble keeping up with others and can drag the team down because of the shared lives pool. Though, this is an incentive to slow down to help others, which ultimately creates true team spirit. If you are patient, multiplayer can be an absolute blast, but if you’re bothered by less experienced players, then a game of fisticuffs may emerge.

Players looking for extra replay value can collect stamps – used for stamping posts on the Miiverse – and three green stars within every level. Finding everything can be quite challenging as Nintendo has cleverly hidden some of these items extremely well; a nod to the days where secrets were exactly that. If you want to see everything the game has to offer, you will need to collect everything, which includes reaching the top of every flagpole.


While some previous Super Mario games (I’m looking at you New Super Mario Bros. series) recycled old music, Super Mario 3D World gives players an aural experience that borrows heavily from the Jazz genre. Most of the music has been orchestrated like the Super Mario Galaxy games; however, the new Jazz touches make these some of the most memorable tracks from the entire series. Of course, plenty of old jingles can be heard, but they also have their place in the Mario games. There are too many standout tracks to mention, though I’m sure you will also fall in love with the music from Pipeline Lagoon.

Rounding out a perfect game are the game’s gorgeous HD visuals. This is definitely the most beautiful Super Mario game to date, which even makes use of jaw dropping, next-gen lighting effects not seen in many other Nintendo games. Some excellent examples of the game’s visuals include Mario’s illuminating fireballs – a feat that has never been so fascinating – and the rain effects found late in the game. To be honest, I’ve never been one to concern himself about graphics – nor am I a technical guru – but this game certainly delights on many levels.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, Super Mario 3D World is the best Wii U game available at this date. It offers creative level design, amazing new power-ups, great Miiverse integration, and four-player co-op for the first time in a 3D Super Mario game. It has plenty of replay value with an admirable amount of post-game content, plus a jaw-dropping soundtrack and gorgeous visuals. This is the first must own Wii U game and you should have it in your collection. If you’re thinking about buying a Wii U in the future, this should be one game you include in your purchase.

10 – Masterpiece

Purchased at retail

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  • Holly

    Your thoughts on the multiplayer pretty much echo my own perfectly. Unfortunately, I haven’t really found anyone to play with who is on the same platforming level as I am (no pun intended). Playing with my sister reduces my stock of lives appallingly fast, so I keep a file to myself.

    SM3DW is certainly an excellent game, but it surprisingly fell below my expectations, I’m afraid. But they were pretty high expectations, so maybe it’s not that surprising. I wouldn’t call it the Wii U’s best game, though: at this point, I would give that honor to Rayman Legends. I continue to baffle even myself with my opinions.

    • Parko

      Multiplayer can be awesome but, as you know, it can be dreadfully painful. Rayman Legends, while an awesome game, just isn’t as polished or as fun as SM3DWorld, in my opinion.