Super Mario 3D World

During the Christmas of 1991 I was given a wonderful gift by my parents, I was given the answer to a question that would be asked of me many, many times in my life. That question is “What is the best video game of all time?”, the answer is Super Mario Bros 3. I’ve adored many different video games in my life but all things considered I’ve never found a game that has been such a joy to play and despite being over 20 years old the game still manages to shine when played now.

A great deal of praise has been lauded upon games such as Mario 64, Sunshine & Galaxy and while I enjoyed them all I’ve never really felt at home with Mario in 3D. Super Mario 3D Land showed great promise on the 3DS but suffered a little for its portability. So now we have Super Mario 3D World, a naming throwback to the Super Nintendo, an understandable but slightly confusing choice that is begging to be confused with the aforementioned 3DS release. I can best describe Super Mario 3D World as feeling like a classic 2D Mario game but in a 3D world, something I didn’t know I wanted but really did.

Put simply Nintendo have created a masterpiece, a varied world full of unique ideas that feels entirely new but also comforting and familiar. The game revisits several familiar environments but each manages to offer something different, be it how you interact with enemies or reveal and collect the illusive green stars that serve to unlock later levels. The option to select a different character as you start each stage also offers the adventurous player a degree of versatility. While Mario remains our middle of the road kinda guy, Luigi, Peach & Toad each offer slightly different play styles based on their Super Mario Bros 2 incarnations. That said, the real reason to choose a different character is to discover what they look and sound like when equipped with the new cat suit power up. The suit itself offers numerous new abilities and tactics to the player but more importantly it is just about the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen. Seriously, I would normally avoid playing as Princess Kidnapped-a-Lot like the plague but her jumping animation while in cat form is so amazingly cute that I almost wept.

The multiplayer offering is taken straight from the New Super Mario Bros titles allowing four players to play simultaneously while getting in each others’ way and arguing. While the third dimension means the issue of accidental jump sabotage is far less prevalent it doesn’t remove it altogether, mostly because it was never really accidental.

Strangely enough the overwhelming feeling I got from playing Super Mario 3D World was freedom, in reality the game is only slightly more open than any other in the series but there is something about exploring the world and traversing the levels that left me feeling very much in control of my experience. It could be as simple as not needing to follow the paths on the world map or how there are small side puzzle elements you can take on between stages. It could be as simple as occasionally being able to bypass large sections of a stage simply by using the cat suit to climb up a wall. Regardless of how it’s achieved it’s a welcome change and while the seven worlds might seem a little easy to breeze through there are many more challenges to overcome following that, in fact it just gets better and better!

I want to let the game settle in before I start rashly handing out accolades but I’m pretty sure this is could be a better game than Super Mario Bros 3 but that’s not something I say lightly. I’m sorry mum, for 22 years you held the honour of having given me the greatest video game of all time, now I’m not so sure.


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