-Aaron "Aeecee" Clark
Super Mario 3D Land was the first 3D game in the series to be originally made for a portable system and was also the first 3D game to adopt a gameplay style in tune with its classic side scrolling counterparts. It was a game that tried and succeeded on really taking many certain elements found within the classic games and transferring them to the 3D games of the more modern day console platformers. Super Mario 3D World is now attempting to following up this unique style of gameplay only this time going back to the home console standard of pervious 3D installments and the result is more than amazing.
Bowser is once again up to his kidnapped ways only this time instead of Peach he has captured the seven princesses of a place called the Sprixie Kingdom and it is up to Mario and Luigi along with Peach to Toad to rescue them. Although it is the same stuff we have seen in every game previously it is kind of nice for someone else to get kidnapped this time around which gives Peach the chance to join the boys on their adventure.
As mentioned before with its portable predecessor the game taking gameplay elements from classic side scrolling in the series and bring them to the 3D formula. Levels are simply linear with the goal of touching the flagpole at the end instead of the concept of completed specific objectives in order to collect stars. A simple world map is used as the means to go between levels and worlds instead of open world hub environments. And instead of a tradition health system where you could take multiple hits making sure not to take damage while small is way to stay alive and also bottomless pits and a time limit which are classic hazards as well.
From the start of the game there are four playable characters each with their own set of stats that makes each character play differently. Mario is the all around standard while Luigi can jump higher but has some slight traction issues then Peach runs faintly slower but can float in the air for a few seconds and Toad can run the fastest but has a lower jump. Players can switch characters between levels at will as certain characters can be better suited for certain levels better than others which gives a you a small but nice fell variety in how you want to play. Of course picking one character to play through the entire game will not cause you many problems too.
The game controls like a dream and even plays really well when using a directional pad over the analog stick on the other hand though aiming projectiles like fireballs or boomerangs will give you some trouble. You are also given different controller options to work with beside the control which include the pro controller or Wii remote and even the classic controller so you can pick what fells the best to you. The only downside when it comes to the controls is there is no option to change any of the button setups which for some who may not like the current layout might find somewhat irritating.
The game has some of most unique and versatile levels found with the series that make it more than just a simple follow up. Many of the platforming structures with in its processors like flipping platforms and moving switchboards return. Although it also has some new platforming elements such as platforms that active when you touch the screen and platforms that move by you blowing into the mic as well. Some of the new interesting level design choices include moving bodies of water or chasing after the flagpole and an entire Mario Kart themed level with the new dash panels. Other forms of returning found in previous level design idea include the platforms that switch between solid and unsolid to the beat of the music and surfing on top of elements like world or sand with the help of your new friend named Plessie.
Just like with its predecessor each stage has collectables this time in the form of three green stars and one stamp for you to find and just like before exploring each level well is the key to finding them all. Although this time in order to beat the game you will need to search for green stars as certain amount are required to access the castle level at the end of each world which could cause discomfort among those who have no interesting in completing the game. Finding green stars also comes in the form of the new special Captain Toad levels found within certain worlds that are a nice mix of both platform and puzzle solving.
Classic power ups such as the Fire Flower and the Tanooki Suit make their return along with some of the more recent power ups such as the Boomerang Flower and the Mega Mushroom. Some of the new power ups include the Cat Suit which lets you climb up wall which is more than useful for certain tricky platform elements and the new Double Cherry which creates clones of your character that you control all at once that makes for some interesting gameplay. And of course if a level gets too hard you can use the White Tanooki to make any level your bitch.
Although levels may seem pretty easy they do get more challenging near the end especially with the special worlds. Not to mention going after the task of collecting all the green stars and stamps will defiantly make your journey more difficult. And even the selection of bosses to fight against in the game can be somewhat overwhelming if do not make sure to bring a reserve power up with you. This game overall while not the most difficult in the series is one of the more difficult over its previous iterations.
My biggest problem with this game is that in order to complete the game just like with its predecessor you do have to beat all the levels with all the characters. And while the previous game only included two playable characters this games has four plus one to unlock. Which means five complete playthroughs are required although you can also use the cooperative mode to lower back down to only two and they is even a little pull it off even with only one player. Of course even if do manager to playthrough the game with all the characters in the end you do not get anything out of it which is kind of disappointing.
The graphics are some of the best ever seen for a Mario game and effects like rain really it make it shine. While the music is well done as it always has been ranging from new stuff to rearrangements of older tunes. And the camera perspective is really good but like with previous games every once in a while it can mess you up a bit of course looking at your shadow is usually the key to landing your jumps properly.
Super Mario 3D World is not just a simple update to its portable predecessor it is a completely new world for you to explore that combines old with new in one of the most exciting ways and is one of the best reason to own a Wii U and if you are a Mario fan chances are you are going to have a blast with it.
Final Rating: 5/5