The first game you play on your own new console always has a place in your heart and Super Mario 3D World is no exception. Before I review the game let me share my Wii U story. It all started when I played with the idea of getting one of those modern devices that plays old SNES games. Particularly, I’ve always wanted play Earthbound on a console. Though once I realized it would be difficult to acquire the game for any less than $100 dollars, I looked to the Wii U. Not only did the Wii U release EarthBound on its virtual console this year, it only costs ten bucks. Throw in the fact that I could get a a Wii U bundle (with Wind Waker HD) for under $300 dollars and I was sold. A cheap console with the all the nostalgia of Nintendo and even more nostalgia to come. In fact, the game in question has already left me with some fond memories.
Buying Super Mario 3D World was a no brainer. I was a fan of the manic 4-person multiplayer of the New Super Mario Bros games and here I expected no less. What gives 3D world the edge first and foremost is the visual layout. 3D World isn’t strictly 2D side-scrolling or 3D free-roaming, rather it’s somewhere in between. Setting out with three friends (or just yourself if you have no friends) Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad traverse through colorful worlds ranging from mild platforming fun to infuriating madness. Okay, maybe the challenge isn’t in the levels but try and cram four people hopping around on the same screen and then tell me you don’t want to pull some hairs.
Power ups include some old favorites along with some highly welcomed additions. The Double Cherry allows you to control you and a clone of yourself for added insanity, but there’s one power up in particular that is simply purr-fect. The Cat Suit allows you to run faster, strike with your paws, climb walls and meow. Never have I been so satisfied with both the appearance of a power up and its function. Eventually, it just came down to, “Where’s the cat suit? I got to get another cat suit!” It’s one of my favorite power ups in years and it was a great idea to put it at the forefront of the advertising. The only thing better than the cat suit is four characters with the suit and double cherries. I’m talking eight cat people crawling all over the screen, awesome.
Super Mario 3D World is a great party game that looks stunning but does have some pitfalls. I was a little let down by the lack of originality and variety in the level design. Early on is a fantastic level where four characters simultaneously control a dinosaur. After that I couldn’t wait to see what other levels would throw new and unique challenges at the multiplayer mode. Alas, there never was anything quite as unique as that level, rather that level was simply duplicated several times more. I wanted to see levels that really took advantage of four people trying progress in one space, but no. Most of the game is fairly standard in its layout and although that’s okay, I want to see things I’ve never seen. If you’re not going to take advantage of Mario in this new layout than what was the point of changing the perspective?
At the end of the day, it’s classic Mario platforming and that’s almost always inherently fun. The controls and mechanics feel good, the music feels good, the visuals feel great, and the memories will last. If you have a Wii U and some friends this is a must have for the console. You haven’t experienced Mario in the 3rd dimension until you’ve done it in a cat suit.