Review: Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World is now finally playable on Nintendo Switch. For most Nintendo fans a first introduction to 3D World, but not for some. That's why Nintendo has another surprise up its sleeve: Bowser's Fury.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is available in one pack, both digital and physical. These two bundled games offer tons of fun for both returning players and brand new players. Super Mario 3D World is in fact already appeared on the Wii . The content of this game has hardly changed. Bowser's Fury, on the other hand, is completely new. And new has two meanings in this.

Super Mario 3D World

If you're familiar with Super Mario 3D World on Wii U, you already know a bit about what to expect. A delightful 2.5D platformer that plays like a modern classic. All elements of the traditional 2D Mario games return, but in a 3D world in which you use a 2.5D playstyle. So you move from left to right through a level, but you can also move forwards and backwards. This makes it all feel very new, but in fact you are still playing a very classic Super Mario game. Mario also has a new powerup: Cat Mario! You wear a cat suit, can attack enemies with your claws and you can now climb walls and grab yourself.

One of the great strengths in 3D World is that you can play it together with your friends. Together at home on the couch, or together online via Online Play. You can play with up to four players at the same time. Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad are playable either alone or with others. They all play slightly different things. So is Mario, Mario. As you know him. Luigi is just a bit faster, but sometimes a bit more difficult to control because he slides a bit further than Mario. Toad is the fastest of all four. He can walk quickly, but jumps less high. Peach is the least fast, but if you're not very strong on platforms, Peach is an ideal choice because she can float in the air. This allows you to make your jumps a bit more pleasant.

As in your traditional Mario titles, you play 3D World in worlds and levels. Every world has its own theme. For example, world 2 is a desert. Each world has a number of levels and they get progressively more difficult. The end of each world sees a Bowser level in the shape of a castle. These levels are the toughest of them all and then you also have to deal with King Bowser! Dealing with Bowser in these levels is really unique and refreshing in Super Mario 3D World. There are plenty of new things being tried to keep you on your toes for what's to come.

Bowser's Fury

Speaking of Bowser. In this game, danger lurks at any moment and the villain doesn't just disturb you when you enter a castle level! Bowser's Fury is not a game with different levels, but the game is one big level. Kind of like Open World Mario. And how good it is!

In Bowser's Fury you take it together with Bowser Jr. up against Fury Bowser. Fury Bowser is a giant Bowser covered in black gunk. This gunk also covers much of the game world when you first start up the game. As you progress through the game, more and more of this gunk is resolved so that you can explore more and more of the game world. Ultimately, the goal is to defeat Fury Bowser and also free him from the gunk.

The Open-World Mario adventure takes place in a large open water field. In this water field are several islands and each island has 5 Catshines. These Catshines are the suns, stars and moons of previous Mario titles. The aim is to collect enough Catshines to take out Fury Bowser. With Catshines you activate the Giga Bell that is in the field. Once you have collected a certain number of Catshines, you can take on Fury Bowser. But how does this work?

Gigantamax Mario

Fury Bowser comes to disrupt your adventure every few minutes. In the middle of the world you see a gunk that contains Fury Bowser. You see him slowly rise out of the gunk and just before he appears and has the world in his grip for a moment, it starts to rain. This is your cue to take cover, or take action.

As soon as Fury Bowser appears it gets dark and all enemies change shape. Bowser spits fire across the levels and it becomes a bit of a mess to pick up where you left off. It's best to take shelter or attack Bowser. You can send him back into the gunk by picking up a Catshine, after which he will be blinded by the light, or by turning into a giant Cat Mario. You can only turn into a giant Cat Mario if you have collected enough Catshines. You need more and more Catshines after each fight with Fury Bowser.

Once transformed into a giant Mario, you can take on Fury Bowser by using his own tricks against him. He uses more and more different attacks where you have to react in different ways to take him out. These are the moments when you really feel like Super Mario.

Short but so powerful

Bowser's Fury is a short game. It will take you about 4 hours pushing back Bowser and about 6 to 8 hours if you also want to collect all the Catshines. You don't need them all to play through the story. Despite its short duration, the game is incredibly entertaining and perhaps one of the most technically perfect 3D Mario games to date. It kind of feels like Nintenado is testing an evolution in the 3D Mario formula, and with this Nintendo: It works!

Bowser's Fury leaves you wanting more. It feels very refreshing not to play in levels, but to have even more freedom than in Super Mario Odyssey. It may be very small scale, but this way of playing on a Super Mario Odyssey scale would be a perfect sequel for the next 3D Mario.

Verdict

Although Bowser's Fury seems like a nice bonus to an already great game, it is undoubtedly the star of the show. It's one of the best Mario adventures I've ever played. It plays wonderfully, looks very slick and technically it is almost perfect. All the elements combined, plus the added elements, provide such a refreshment for Mario that you will no doubt, like us, finish the entire game in one sitting. You just can't stay away from it.

Super Mario 3D World is also just as good as it was years ago, if not better on the Switch. If you've already played the game, you should ask yourself if you want to go through it again. Anyway, Bowser's Fury makes sure there's plenty of extras for anyone who's played the game on Wii U.

 

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