Avaialable on Wii U – 1-4 Players – Out Now
Over the years, following the transition to 3D, the Mario games have always been critically acclaimed, but have yet to recapture the sparkle of the jewel in Nintendo’s platforming crown, Super Mario World. Super Mario 3D World is the latest title to feature the dumpy Italian, released on Nintendo’s bafflingly unpopular Wii U, and almost single-handedly justifies investing in one. In a change from kidnapping Princess Peach, Bowser has captured seven fairies. The plot remains the same basically, but it’s all we need to get things going, and things start brilliantly. In the first level we are introduced to the new power-up, cat Mario! With the ability to claw the bad guys, pounce and climb walls, it’s an entertaining addition to an already fun filled list of power ups, which includes the always popular tanooki suit, flame flower and giant mushroom. The levels in the first world seem straight forward and are just a way of introducing you to the layout of the game and what sort of enemies you can expect. It’s not long before things get shaken up. After the run of the mill first two worlds, Super Mario 3D World changes. The levels add new features, one that springs to mind is the silhouette level, which had me grinning throughout, and even more enemies are introduced, with nods to all previous Mario games, even the karting ones. Throw in to the mix, an absolutely chaotic, yet ridiculously fun multiplayer co-op, one which puts the immensely fun recent Rayman games to shame, and this really is a winner.
The design of this game is nothing short of stunning, with nothing feeling like it’s being recycled. Where the previous 3D outings would feel like you’re treading over old ground, 3D World feels like it’s something new, right up to the last boss, and with that, makes it one of those games that you just have to keep playing on to see what happens next. Each level has collectibles, too. There are three green stars, and a stamp to collect. The stars are important as you need to collect certain amounts to progress through particular points throughout the game, mainly the boss levels for each world. The visuals are something else. The bright vivid colours make this game a treat on the eyes, like a visual sugar rush, and are also some of the best graphics seen on a machine of this capability. I struggle to think of anything I’ve seen on the PS3 and 360, that could rival Super Mario 3D World, not just in terms of picture quality, but gameplay in general. Super Mario 3D World is a ray of Sunshine through a gloomy world of gritty realistic shooters that seem to dominate consoles these days.
If you don’t have a Wii U, more fool you. If this is just a taste of things to come from Nintendo, then colour me excited. I’ve always been a fan of Super Mario, but have never been overly impressed with his 3D outings, with Super Mario Sunshine being the pinnacle of these game since Mario 64 changed the game. The Galaxy games were good fun, but felt somewhat lacklustre, in part to the terrible control system of the Wii. Having learnt from their mistakes, Nintendo have used their innovative new console for the better and brought to us not just the greatest 3D incarnation of Super Mario, but quite possibly the greatest Mario game yet. And given the long history of the plumber, is all the more remarkable. This is the sort of game we need more of. The sort which leaves you with a massive smile on your face, that you want to stick with to the end, and beyond. If you’re yet to experience the Wii U, this is the excuse you’ve been looking for.