Mario is back and for his HD 3D debut on the Wii U. For this outing Mario teams up with Luigi, Peach, Toad and another “secret” character to save the Sprixies Princesses from Bowser. The story is your standard Mario affair and for better or worse Nintendo have stuck tight to the established Mario formula that they have been riding on the back of for years.
Mario and his crew have never looked or sounded better. SM3DW quickly establishes itself as one of the better looking games on the Wii U and seems to do so effortlessly. Colours pop, the framerate is silky smooth
and the cat fur is well, fury. Each of the 8 worlds (and 4 bonus worlds) has a distinct feel that oozes the unique Nintendo charm at every turn. Nintendo’s obsession for detail in the individual levels and the over-worlds means that you will constantly have the pants charmed off you, no matter how hard you try to resist.
The sounds design doesn’t stray very far from any other
instantly recognisable. Individual levels never feel huge and all have a timer that is pushing you along. Although the levels are not huge, the level design is top notch. You always know where you need to go and the levels try and challenge you in a real way rather than being cheap. The lack of challenge for SMB3DW is an issue. Although the levels are enjoyable, for the most part they are incredibly easy. The real challenge doesn’t come until the 4 bonus worlds, unfortunately though most hardcore gamers or anyone wanting a challenge might just not bother going the distance.
Each of the playable characters have their own strengths and weaknesses which means that each level needs to be approached differently depending on who you chose to play. This is much like how Super Mario Brothers 2 was presented and it works well. I imagine that people will gravitate toward one play style and stick with it and the game rewards you for it. The aim of the game is still to collect
green stars which unlock different paths, worlds and other goodies. SM3DW also adds stamps to collect. Stamps can be used in Miiverse posts. Each level has a hidden stamp and you can also collect stamps for completing various tasks throughout the game.
This review would not be complete without mentioning the multiplayer. Nintendo has put a great deal of time into the multiplayer mode and it shows. What starts off with a friendly co-op game ends with a mad dash to the finish line, doing whatever you can to make the other players perish. This mode is frantic and almost feels that Nintendo built the entire game around the co-op as it works that well. Unfortunately there is no online play. For a game that works so well with other people, the omission of online multiplayer really shows how out of touch (or maybe time rushed?) Nintendo can sometimes be.