If you’ve been waiting for a reason to buy a Wii U, your wait will soon be over.
Super Mario 3D World brings together many of the best aspects of the 2D and 3D Mario franchises and adds a much-needed 4-player multiplayer feature to create the plump plumber’s most solid platforming experience to date.
Players can control one of four characters in Super Mario 3D World- Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or a blue Toad. Similar to 1988’s Super Mario Bros. 2, each character plays slightly different for a subtle gameplay change depending on your choice. Mario moves at an average speed and jumps at an average height, Luigi’s lanky frame jumps a bit higher but falls slower, Peach runs a bit slower but floats mid-air, and Toad scurries around the fastest but can barely jump off the ground.
Unlike the other multi-hour long waits at PAX Prime, the queue for Super Mario 3D World (thankfully) moved at a quick pace. Also unlike many of the booths at the convention, the crowd anticipating a go at Mario’s latest outing was varied. Everyone from Nintendo’s target family demographic to nostalgic adults fighting their mid-life crisis was eager to play, and everyone seemed to be smiling after their turn was up.
Aside from returning power-ups like Mario’s iconic Fire Flower and Tanooki Suit (which made its last platforming appearance in 2011’s Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS), the latest item added to the mix is the new Cat Suit. The perfect costume for redditors on the go, the Cat Suit allows characters to run faster, furiously claw at enemies, and climb up various surfaces after touching a Golden Bell powerup. Even playing as Princess Peach, the Cat Suit made my gaming session a rather fun and frantic experience with fellow gamers.
Once the ever-cheerful Nintendo representative instructed my party on the characters’ basic running, jumping, and ground-pounding move set, we began making our way towards a menacing boss battle. Every character moved and responded as smooth as ever in the game’s vibrantly colored environments, and those that straggled behind were automatically teleported to warp pipes to catch up with more experienced players- a great feature for those who will be playing alongside younger gamers. Even with four players running about the screen all at once, the game never felt too busy nor were there not enough enemies or powerups for everyone to get a piece of. Like practically every first-party Nintendo game, Super Mario 3D World played just right.
After cutely clawing at enemies in a few areas, my group made its way to battle a boss resembling a giant prehistoric burrowing worm. Still in my pink Cat Suit as Princess Peach I ran around the arena dodging falling boulders as enemy add-ons popped up from underground to try and eat everyone. Some of the worms popped out of the ground with plates on their head, serving as platforms that we would hop across until we were able to pound on the head of the main baddie. In a Cat Suit I was also able to climb up the side of the tallest worm rather than jump from head to head, granting me the opportunity to perform a few quick head stomps while the others were still jumping about. It was fun, fast-paced, and ultimately satisfying.
Even with the rosy goggles of nostalgia tinting my opinion of the Mario franchise, I have played enough incredible platformers (Rayman Origins, BattleBlock Theater) and not so hot titles (Flashback, Shadow the Hedgehog) to know the difference. Many gamers, including myself, have been waiting for a REAL reason to buy a Wii U aside from being an early adopter. Seeing as Mario Kart 8 and the latest Super Smash Bros. release won’t be out until 2014, and no word on a new Star Fox title has surfaced yet, Super Mario 3D World is quite possibly the best reason to buy a Wii U this holiday season.
Super Mario 3D World will be released on November 22, 2013 for the Wii U.