The most ameowzing Mario adventure in years?
It's no secret that Mario is Nintendo's go-to guy. He's been the face of the Big N for over three decades and chances are he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Love him or hate him you have to admit that the pudgy plumber has stared in some groundbreaking titles and set the bar for adventure platforming along the way. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Super Mario 3D World (Thanks Nintendo!) and managed to put in over 20 hours of gameplay, both by myself and with friends. So, is 3D World just more of the same old Mario formula? Let's break it down in classic Lazy Review fashion.
- Game length. The main adventure took me roughly 9.5 hours from start to credits. I played every level, only replayed levels I failed, and collected nearly 190 stars along the way. Believe me when I say hardcore completetieonists will have a nice long adventure ahead of them. Not to mention the fact that there is a great deal more to do after the credits roll. *wink wink*
- Multiplayer. It's much easier to hop and bop around levels with your friends and family when you're not all scrambling on a linear plain (a la New Super Mario Bros). I finally found co-op buddies to be more of a help and less of a hindrance.
- The absolutely phenomenal soundtrack, featuring new takes on classic Mario tunes and a host of new tracks that compliment the gameplay and levels in terrific ways. At times I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack from a Studio Ghibli film. It's quite possibly the best Mario soundtrack of all time.
- The very simple, but extremely clean-cut presentation of menus, maps and overall UI. Unlike previous titles, Mario and the crew have free range to run all over the map, jumping into what ever level or bonus stage they please.
- Seamless loading times that top out at around one second in length. The game is very quick to let you jump in and out of worlds at your leisure.
- The HD visuals. They are stunning to say the least. Nintendo really knows how to push the Wii U's graphical capabilities without slowing down gameplay.
- Multiple controller options. Including *deep breath* the gamepad, the Wii U pro controller, the wii remote, the wii remote with nunchuk, and the classic controller. I found myself using the gamepad most often, but the wii remote and nunchuk was a close second.
- Well executed level design that blends the best ideas from both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land.
- Captain Toad levels. That fellow needs his own spin-off. What a dapper young lad.
- Rain soaked environments that leave your characters drenched and your screen dripping. Truly some of the best looking visuals in the game come from these levels.
- Speed run levels that feature music and obstacles from the original Super Mario Kart. Running has never been so fun!
- Encountering classic Mario baddies with some new twists, not to mention the best army of new enemies to appears in a Mario title since the original Super Mario World.
- Tons to collect and unlock, such as stamps, stars, coins and even a 5th playable character.
- Peach. It's fantastic to have her back, especially after her unfortunate absence from the character roster in the New Super Mario Bros series. I found myself using her more than any other Mushroom Kingdom hero.
- The most comprehensive collection of Mario power-ups I've ever encountered. Now including giant ice skates and cannonball-shooting headwear!
- Picking up items such as bombs, soccer balls, snow balls and baseballs to hurl at enemies.
- Being a cat.
- Controlling multiple copies of your characters at once (via the Cherry power-up).
- Being six cats.
- The camera. Due to the pulled back view depth perception can be a problem at times. I had to train myself to simply follow my characters shadow so I could time jumps and smash blocks precisely. Even more problems occur when multiple players are roaming the screen at once.
- Difficulty (for the most part). Mario veterans who prefer to speed through levels in a race to get to flagpole won't find too much to slow them down (until later levels at least). There are some seriously challenging stages here and there, but it's nothing a few lives can't help you overcome.
- The story. For once it's not the whole "Bowser kidnapped Peach again" shtick and we get to rescue some lovely little Sprixies, but it's still nothing to write home about.
- Lack of online multiplayer. Were we really expecting it? No. But the local co-op is such a blast I can only imagine how much fun it would be to explore the Sprixie Kingdom with internet chums.
- A disturbing lack of Yoshi.
- Peach's bizarre (and fashionable?) tanooki suit. What is she trying to hide under there? I'll just let you witness this one for yourself.
I never thought I'd say this, but... Super Mario 3D World is easily on par with the Super Mario Galaxy titles and is hands down the best multiplayer Mario adventure that has ever graced a Nintendo system. Around every bend is a new power-up, a new enemy, a new way to play Mario that you could never imagine. It's hard not to smile when you're riding an enormous dinosaur though a secret waterfall, all while dressed as a cat. Super Mario 3D World is wacky, fun, and throughly enjoyable. It's easily the best title for the Wii U to date and one of the greatest adventures in Mario's star-studded history.
Super Mario 3D World was reviewed using a digital copy provided by Nintendo. Follow GiantBoyDetective on Twitter for more gaming goodness @SuperBentendo