Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Genre: 3D Platformer, Multiplayer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 12/02/2021
A code was provided for review purposes.
Breathing new life into yet another Wii U game
The Wii U might have a bad rap, but anyone who owned one knew how good the Wii U game library was. Hence Nintendo keeps porting Wii U games to the infinitely more popular Nintendo Switch. As someone who owned and played the heck outta the criminally underrated Wii U, this isn’t my first time playing Super Mario 3D World. That was back in 2013, however, this Switch port breathes new life into it and is also bolstered by new addition, Bowser’s Fury. It couldn’t have come at a better time, either, with plenty of people like yours truly needing an injection of joy into their life.
“It’s-A Me, Mario”
What else can be said about Nintendo’s, nay, gaming’s most famous character that hasn’t already been said? No matter how many years go by, Mario keeps entertaining gamers young and old. Super Mario 3D World takes a lot from the older 2D Mario games than it does the newer ones. There’s a flagpole at the end and levels are far more linear, sometimes only lasting a mere few minutes. This is classic Mario but spruced up with colourful, 3D stages.
There’s a simplicity to this more traditional style that allows for some very creative level design within the constraints. Some of the more recent Mario titles are fairly exploration-heavy, so it feels refreshing to go back to simpler times. Power-ups such as the cat suit allow Mario and team to pounce and climb most surfaces. As well as being cute, it also adds interesting ways to traverse levels. Super Mario 3D World continually throws fresh ideas into its levels.
“Here we go!” (Again but not on my own)
Even a decade on, Super Mario 3D World is still an absolute joy. Better yet, Nintendo replaced the now virtually defunct offline multiplayer with up to 4 player online multiplayer. Get a few friends or family members into the mix and the game truly comes alive – creating fun, chaotic moments akin to the co-operative 2D Mario games. This is my second playthrough of Super Mario 3D World, and it’s lost none of its magic. Character movement is increased across the board – a most welcome change. Moreover, online support makes a fantastic Mario adventure even better.
Technologically, this Switch port is virtually identical to the Wii U version. There is, however, a resolution bump in docked mode. When docked, Super Mario 3D World runs at a dynamic resolution; all the way up to 1080p. In portable mode, it runs at a locked 720p resolution.
On the face of it, that doesn’t exactly sound like an impressive remaster. Nonetheless, visual fidelity is not something the Mario games have ever pursued. It’s their art style that stands the test of time. The wonderful soundtrack is also full of upbeat tunes that’ll generate good vibes as you play.
Obviously, players have the choice of playing as the titular Mario. There’s also Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad. As always, Mario is the all-rounder with an even spread of attributes; Princess Peach can float slightly after her jump, Luigi has the highest leap, and Toad moves fastest. Each character feels distinct, and they combine well when you have all 4 on screen in online multiplayer.
And I’m Feline Good
Bowser’s Fury is the all-new expansion and one of Mario’s most experimental outings to date. Mario strikes up an unlikely partnership with Bowser Jr and is tasked with collecting cat-shaped shines and restoring colour and light to the land. In some ways, it reminds me of Mario Sunshine mixed with Super Mario Galaxy. The perspective shifts to a behind-the-player one, just like in the aforementioned games. It’s an interesting switch from Super Mario 3D World, and the juxtaposition makes Bowser’s Fury feel even fresher.
Bowser’s Fury takes the cat suit from Super Mario 3D World and takes it to a whole new, weirder level. After collecting enough shines, you’ll unlock the Giga cat bell. The Giga cat bell turns Mario into Giga Cat Mario; a much larger version of the cat suit in Super Mario 3D World, with spikey hair and tail, similar to a lion. You’ll need it too when Mario faces Fury Bowser – Mario’s now-giant archnemesis. Doing battle with Fury Bowser as a giant feline Mario is as brilliant as it is downright bizarre.
What impresses most about Bowser’s Fury is the fact it feels more than just a standalone. It’s only a few hours long, yes, but it’s fresh and brings enough to the table to feel like it could be turned into a full game. Standalones often feel tacked on or regurgitate content and assets from the main game. Bowser’s Fury, however, more than justifies its existence with a unique identity.
Super Mario 3D World is a game many might’ve missed out on when it originally released in 2013 on the Wii U. For anyone that missed out originally, the updated Switch version, bundled with the new Bowser’s Fury standalone, makes purchasing this game a no-brainer. For anyone who did play the Wii U version, thanks to the Switch-exclusive features such as online play, it’s well worth re-purchasing. It couldn’t have been released at a better time, either. This writer (and I’m sure many others) could use a little bit of giant feline Mario joy right around now.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury from the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.