Super Mario 3D World Review (Wii U)

Published on September 29th, 2014 by Eric Weichhart

Super Mario 3D World Review


Super Mario 3D World Gameplay
Finally, the main story has been changed. And there’s actual plumber work from Mario and Luigi as well!

Super Mario 3D World has the same objective as Super Mario 3D Land: it offers a 2D platformer experience in 3D environments. It worked well on the 3DS and it’s closer to the perfect experience on the Wii U.

Before going to the small details, the game can offer multiple experiences with different characters and the camera itself, however, it’s still aimed at the core player. It works great, but it won’t be the game everyone might want.

Like I mentioned before, the camera can change the experience of the game where it’s possible to move its camera, if it’s possible, being to the left, right, up and down (the altitude change is small), allowing to use a 2D, a 2.5D or a 3D perspective.

Unlike the 3DS title, it features a multiplayer mode where up to four players can play. It works excellent and also brings some competition if you don’t want a full cooperative experience, where it works great (where some mechanics are taken from the NSMB series).

There’s also a few uses of the Wii U capabilities: some actions are possible with the Gamepad’s microphone and the tactile screen, like hitting boxes and freezing enemies, blowing up platforms, etc. Sadly, just a few levels take advantage of those features, however, it’s still appreciated (Of course, the Off-TV mode is also present). Miiverse has also been included where you can find posts on the map, lots of stamps and ghost data from other players.

Super Mario 3D World Gameplay
Double Cherry and a different camera in action. The player is also moving in the wrong direction.

SM3DW cointains a total of 12 worlds. The first 8 worlds are part of the main story and the others are the challenging part of the game. Meanwhile the 10th and the 11th worlds are mostly remixes of older levels, the 9th world actually features new ideas as well as a little surprise: Rosalina as a playable character (it’s not a secret actually). The last world only includes the hardest levels of the game.

The level selection screen is now in 3D, which is a good touch. It allows you to move freely between the stages and the world, including a few secrets you can find. There are also different places you can find :

  • Enemy Blockades: They are enemies. Unlike NSMBU, you need to beat an enemy on an actual level. You can consider them micro-bosses with a green star as a prize.
  • Toad Houses: These houses give you the change to win items. This time there are two boxes. If you fail, you only get a Super Mushroom.
  • Sprixie House: These just gives you a stamp.
  • Lucky House: It’s a little roulette with four slots. You can win from 10 coins to 777. You can consider these houses to be like the Toad Houses that gave you lives from older games.
  • Mystery House: Similar to 3D Land, these houses bring you challenges. This time there will be a large variety of them and you are required to complete them instead of having them as an optional addition.
  • The Adventures of Captain Toad: A series of puzzle courses where you need to pick the five green stars with a minor limitation: you can’t jump. There are a total of six courses in the whole game which is a great addition to SM3DW (and its popularity is bringing a retail game to life).

Unlike Super Mario 3D Land, there are five playable characters to choose from (from the beginning of the game): Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad and Rosalina. Each character has their own way to play, like its skill (Luigi jumps higher, Toad is faster) and ability (Peach can hover when jumping, Rosalina has a spin attack allowing her to perform a double jump) and a price to balance them (Luigi lacks from traction, Toad needs more time to start to sprint, Rosalina is really slow and her skill can’t be used when a suit is used). You should test them and check what character is better for you.

There are typical items and suits from the Mario universe such as the Super Mushroom, the Invincibility Star, the Flower, the Mega Mushroom (this one is barely used) and the 1-Up Mushroom. The Super Leaf and the Invincibility Leaf (both Tanooki Suit) are also featured, including SM3DL’s new Boomerang Suit. This entry still presents new items:

  • Cat Bell / Cat Suit: The new big suit of the game. It allows you to run up walls and flag poles, makes you sprint faster and gives you the ability to attack when diving in the air.
  • Lucky Bell / Lucky Cat Suit: Replacing the role of the Statue Leaf, when performing a ground attack the character becomes invincible and wins coins meanwhile it falls.
  • Double Cherry / Double Suit: Creates a clone of you being controlled at the same time than the main character, with a limit of four extra clones for the character. Performing a ground attack on them allows you to steal it when playing on multi-player.

There are also different support items that gives you a special ability when used and once you finish the level, they will be converted into extra lives. If you’re hit, you keep your suit or status. The Propeller Box and the Coin Box are included, as well as new ones:

  • Cannon Box: Makes you to shot cannon balls, allowing you to attack from a distance. You can also charge to make a stronger and longer attack but be careful, you can damage partners with those.
  • Potted Piranha Plant: Allows you to pick up a Piranha Plant which is capable of grabbing objects and attacking all types of enemies.
  • Goomba Mask: Allows you to camouflage from low level enemies, like Goombas.
  • Ice Skate: Makes you move easily on the ice, and also makes you immune to spikes and certain enemies.
  • Light Box: This box isn’t just able to illuminate the room, it can also kill ghost.
Conkdor is one of the new  enemies, and there's a big quantity of them.
Conkdor is one of the new enemies, and there is a large quantity of them.

Every level contains three green stars that must be found (instead of the coins) and in the case of the first nine worlds, there is usually a hidden stamp to obtain for some replay value. Still, there is a lack of difficulty in the first eight worlds in general (again, it’s aiming to a casual-core public).

The Mystery Houses, unlike the rest of the game, feature a good quantity of stars (five, ten or in the case of the last one, thirty green stars). Each green star must be won separately, giving you ten seconds to complete each challenge. If you fail one, you will be required to start from the beginning.

Something I praised from previews games is the controls: they work flawlessly and they actually work the same way as 3D Land. The level design features a good variety of levels, however, some of them can be short including a slow pacing, and it really lacks the use of some new items wasting the big potential the game has. It still does not affect your experience in the game.

Now, if you want to get the five stars on your save, I should make a warning: unlike Super Mario 3D Land where you needed to play the entire game two times, if you’re playing alone, you will be required to finish the game fives times which is a nightmare for those without friends to play with.

Some levels are like fresh air on the formula.
Some levels are like fresh air on the design formula.

The game looks wonderful with a smooth 60 frames per second, featuring a lot of details on the environments and the models. Sadly, the model distance can be quite short in some levels. There is also a good use of lighting and textures, where it’s really noticeable at a latter part of the main game.

Like SM3D Land, there is the use of new music, a work that is usually lacking in 2D Mario games. There is a large quantity of new songs and some of them are really good (like the Bowser’s song and the Staff Roll one), There are still some remixes, including songs from SMB2, SM3DL and SMG, still it’s just a little part of the soundtrack. The little voice acting and the sound effects are also greatly done by the way.

Bowser got a new car, you must destroy it with football/soccer ball bombs!
Bowser got a new car, you must destroy it with football/soccer ball bombs!

The presentation on Nintendo games is usually excellent or perfect, where the polish work is greatly done, featuring a good quantity of levels and a great replay value, a good manual, a variety of controls you’re able to use, etc.

Still, I would like more love for the hardcore players like the difficulty found in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Super Mario 3D World probably isn’t a must have for hardcore players, but it’s a great game for a majority of players who own the Wii U console. There is a lot of creativity in Nintendo and they are showing it. To conclude, the game is worth its price tag. Also, I think the Cat Suit is better than the Tanooki one.

Super Mario 3D World Review Score

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About Eric Weichhart

Eric enjoys playing video games in his 3DS XL and Wii U. Platform, puzzles and RPG are his favorites. He doesn't care if a game is 1080p or 720p, it only needs to be fun.