When Super Mario 3D World launched on the Wii U back in 2013, I wasn’t lucky enough to get my hands on this game. However, I always heard good things about it and was ecstatic when it was announced that it would be remastered for the Nintendo Switch. Not only that, but it would be packaged with a new Mario game called Bowser’s Fury. I was quite excited heading into both games and I’m happy to say that I had a really great time!
Super Mario 3D World starts off in a somewhat familiar fashion. While watching the fireworks in the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad stumble across a lopsided glass pipe. After fixing it, a fairy suddenly flies out and asks them for their help in liberating six other fairies, who have all been captured by Bowser. He then shows up, captures the last fairy, and escapes down the pipe. The group chases Bowser and sets off to rescue all the fairies across a number of worlds.
The story is quite a typical affair for a Mario game and really just acts as a reason to make your way through the many levels as you attempt to save the fairies.
Where the game really shines is with its gameplay. Super Mario 3D World is a combination of old-school 2D Mario games and the more open-world 3D ones. It works quite well too, sporting some responsive controls and awesome level design. The levels do start out a little simple at first, but once you’re a few worlds deep, it starts to really ramp up the difficulty. It’s incredibly easy to pick and play though, providing a decent enough challenge so that it doesn’t feel too easy while still keeping you on your toes. Plus, the levels are pretty short making for enjoyable bursts of action.
Being a Mario game, there are bound to be some power-ups and this one is no different. There are some familiar favourites such as Fire Flower and Super Star but the newest addition is that of the Super Bell. This changes your character into their Cat Suit, unlocking some new moves for both combat and traversal. The Cat Suit enables you to climb up high walls and also pull off some new attacks. Wall climbing is especially great since it encourages exploration in the various levels, which adds to the existing verticality of the game. It’s such a great design choice, allowing you to explore every corner of a level in an incredibly enjoyable way.
While Super Mario 3D World can be played solo, you’re also able to play it cooperatively with up to 3 other friends. Fair warning; it can get a little chaotic as you progress through the game, but I think that this also adds to the overall fun factor.
Visually, the game makes use of themes and colours seen before in the series. It was actually such a pleasure to look at because it had the old school style and themes mixed with some fresh visuals. Not only that, but the game runs very well in both handheld and docked mode, making for a great experience no matter how you decide to play.
The other part of this package is Bowser’s Fury, a standalone experience that can be played right away; there’s no need to finish Super Mario 3D World first.
Bowser’s Fury takes place in the cat-themed Lake Lapcat; Mario ends up here after being swallowed up by what seems to be a giant blot of an inky substance. Shortly after arriving here, he teams up with Bowser Jr. in an attempt to stop Bowser, who has grown to a gargantuan size and transformed into Fury Bowser.
The game is quite different from 3D World in that it feels more like an open-world experience as opposed to visiting various levels throughout your playthrough. You start off in a single area and can venture between islands by riding on the back of a dino-like creature called Plessie. While you’re exploring though, the dormant Bowser will awaken to rain carnage wherever you are. In order to actually fight him though, you’ll need to collect Cat Shines. Collect enough of these and you’ll be able to make use of a Giga Bell, which turns Mario into his Giga Cat form to even the odds a little when fighting Fury Bowser.
It’s actually so cool to have this massive battle between these Godzilla-esque characters. Also, the way the tone shifts when it happens makes everything about it epic, from the darkened sky to the electric guitar riff that starts playing. It just delivers this sense of foreboding and does so to tremendous effect. Admittedly, it’s also pretty exciting.
Beating Bowser during this encounter opens up the next area to be explored. It honestly flows much better than having a series of levels that have no relation to each other. However, each little collection of islands seems to sport a theme, making each new area feel new in more ways than one.
There are a number of returning power-ups present in the game, one of the most important ones being the Cat Suit. Just like in 3D World, the Cat Suit complements the level design nicely thanks to how great it is for exploration. You’re also able to store multiple power-ups at a time, making it feel more as if you have an inventory of sorts, allowing you to equip what you need at any given time. I liked this flexibility quite a bit; not being confined to a certain power-up was quite nice.
The gameplay loop is also quite enjoyable, focusing on thoroughly exploring each island to locate all the Cat Shines while also throwing some puzzle-solving elements to unlock even more. Despite it being a shorter experience compared to 3D World, it feels like a more sizeable expansion than what it lets on.
Additionally, Bowser’s Fury also features some co-operative play for up to 2 players. The second player will take control of Bowser Jr. and is able to use their brush to attack enemies or reveal secrets in certain areas. If playing solo, Bowser Jr.’s behaviour can be customised to dictate just how much they should help you during play.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a great little package. If you’ve never played 3D World back on the Wii U, then this is the perfect time to pick it up since the Switch version has improved performance, in addition to online multiplayer. Bowser’s Fury is also an unexpected but exciting experience that really mixes up the formula of the open-world Mario games to create something quite unique. This is the best way to experience Super Mario 3D World and I can truly say that it was worth the wait. This, combined with Bowser’s Fury, the collectibles in both games and the multiplayer component make for an excellent bundle that should please both fans and newcomers alike.
Grab your Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury copy of here for 49.99
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