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When Super Mario 3D World was announced at E3 this year, I was thrilled. After all, my Wii U, which I purchased on launch day, was begging for something new to play. Since I felt that Super Mario Galaxy was the greatest Mario game on the Wii, I had high hopes for 3D World on the Wii U, considering the Galaxy team was behind it.
Super Mario 3D World is a breath of fresh air from the New Super Mario Bros. series that we all know and love (and frankly are getting tired of). I really enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. U (and especially the New Super Luigi U DLC), but I was left wanting something more. I wanted a great 3D platformer. Super Mario 3D World delivered. This is exactly what the Wii U needed right now.
I was never a big fan of Super Mario Bros. 2, but the one thing I did like about it was the ability to choose your character. I don’t like when they force me to be Mario when I’m player 1, Luigi when I’m player 2, etc. I like to be able to choose my character, and Super Mario 3D World lets any player choose to be Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad.
The all new cat suit power-up is a lot of fun. Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad can transform into a cute little cat and scratch enemies and climb up walls (and the flagpole at the end of a level). My favorite new power-up, however, is the Boomerang Flower, which was introduced in the 3DS title Super Mario 3D Land. Anyone who has played a Mario game knows just how annoying those Boomerang Bros. are, and we can finally use their awesomely annoying power to destroy enemies.
What I love about this game is that it combines elements from so many different Mario games and blends them seamlessly. Some of the levels are very similar to levels I remember playing in Super Mario Galaxy, and other levels remind me of Super Mario 64. I had a strange moment while playing, déjà vu of sorts, where I felt like I was playing Super Mario 64. Obviously, the character selection mirrors that of Super Mario Bros. 2. The little tune that plays when you die is from Super Mario Bros. 3, as are the toad houses. The music is the same as well, and Toad even says the same thing to you when you walk into his house.
I was relieved when I saw that the game automatically saves after each level is completed. One of the most frustrating things about the NSMB series was that you had to reach- and complete- a castle before you could save. If you lost all your lives before beating the castle, you would have to go all the way back to the last castle and redo all the levels you already completed. It made the games very frustrating and it was just unnecessary.
All in all, SM3DW is a charming, beautiful experience that I’ve been waiting my whole life to play. Like most gamers, I grew up loving Mario. He was the first video game character I ever saw, and I’m delighted that he’s still around and doing better than ever.
Gameplay: I don’t think there was one moment when I wasn’t smiling while platforming about in SM3DW. It’s simple fun for casual and hardcore gamers alike.
Appearance: This game is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so refreshing to see Mario and company is stunning high definition. The environments are beautiful as well; I was very impressed with the quality of the water. It’s the best looking Mario game to date, but it’s not quite up to par with other true next-gen games such as Knack.
Sound: The soundtrack is perfect. I don’t know how else to describe it. The music just puts a big smile on your face and really adds a lot to the feel of the game.
Bottom line: This is a system seller for the Wii U. People who already own the console should not hesitate to pick this up, and those who don’t should really consider it. SM3DW proves that Nintendo still knows how to make games, and great ones at that.