Thoughts On: Super Mario 3D World

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If you had to ask me about my favorite franchise of all time, I would have to say it is the Mario franchise. Super Mario, Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario Tennis, and you get the idea. I just feel like there is something so uplifting and satisfying about playing a Mario game. I don’t like every single Mario game and I might like other games in the franchise more than others, but I just think it is a great franchise. Heck, my favorite game of all time is Super Mario Galaxy 2. I think of it as the ultimate Super Mario experience and a game any fans of platformers should try. I know some people have been more pessimistic about the franchise, like the New Super Mario Brothers series of platformers, but even then, I can think of much MUCH worse platforming franchises that should have stopped at the first game. Not counting the games made by third parties like the educational entertainment games and Hotel Mario, the franchise really doesn’t have a game that utterly flopped. It isn’t like Sonic, where after the Dreamcast era, Sega was trying to remake Sonic into something else, and it led to bad game after bad game and then finally, ultimate waste of space, Sonic 06. Sure, some of the recent Mario entries might not be better than past games, but they aren’t terrible games. As long as you have fun with them and the level design is still topnotch, I am going to support it. Now then, since E3 has been over for a few days, one of the biggest announcements and games to come from Nintendo at E3 was the new upcoming 3D platforming Mario title for the Wii U, Super Mario 3D World. The response of the public has been kind of mixed. Some are really excited about this game and I am in that category, but some were expecting something other than a sequel to 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS. I can see where they are coming from, but since I actually got to play the E3 demo, my opinion hasn’t changed. I am still excited about this game, but I am not saying I don’t have my concerns or my thoughts about the title. I wouldn’t be making a “Thoughts On” about it if I didn’t feel like talking about it and giving my thoughts and concerns for the plumber’s upcoming adventure. Before I start, I just wanted to say I got to play a tiny bit of the demo at one of the Nintendo Best Buy E3 Experiences, and while it was a bummer that I had to wait in line for three, almost four hours to be able to play just a little of the demo, I have a bit more experience with the game than just watching trailers and footage of the demo shown during E3.

The story, from what we have seen, is nonexistent. I know the story in a Mario game really isn’t that important unless it is one of his many RPG adventures, but to put my two cents in on the matter, something is up here. I say this because PEACH IS PLAYABLE! So, maybe Bowser isn’t the bad guy? I mean, he could be, but if Peach is not the one captured, then what is Bowser up to? I can see the idea for the plot being Wart from the second “Mario” game on the NES coming back and wanting to show how awesome he is and throw the Mushroom Kingdom into chaos. This means it would be up to Mario, Luigi, Peach, and for some reason, Toad to go save the day. Again, I know the plot won’t mean much in the end, but I’m still interested to see what is going on since Peach isn’t being kidnapped by Bowser.

The gameplay that has been shown is of, what else, a 3D platformer. Obviously, the game is designed more around Super Mario 3D Land’s level design and not around Super Mario Galaxy’s level design, though from what I have seen and played, there is a mix of both. It does lean more toward 3D Land, but from the level that I played, I got a Mario Galaxy vibe. You travel around large levels as Mario, but this time, he isn’t alone. Along with him in his platforming travels, the player will be able to choose to either play as Luigi, Peach, or Toad. This makes the game more like Super Mario Brothers 2 3D Land, due to the playable characters and the different ways they control. Luigi, of course, can jump higher, Peach can float, and Toad can run faster. We have seen the return of old power-ups, but we also have a new power-up that sounds stupid, but is in my opinion, very fun to use, known as Cat Mario. You get to swipe at enemies, lunge, and climb up walls. It made me want to think how I can traverse the levels and find secrets, and it was just fun to see Mario in a cat suit. From the E3 demo, it looks like Nintendo is putting a variety of levels into the mix, like the swimming on the back of a giant aquatic version of Yoshi, and more variety in the bosses with that giant worm thing. I like that, since my biggest criticism towards Super Mario 3D Land was the look and variety in levels. It was a blast to play through and is a game I highly recommend to new 3DS owners, but it got slightly repetitious with how the levels looked. Overall, I enjoyed the level design shown in the E3 demo of Super Mario 3D World. Hopefully, the entire game is filled with the huge amount of variety shown in past 3D Mario adventures.

I'm basically River Yoshi.

Graphically, it is Super Mario. It has incredibly colorful graphics and it just looks good even if some people call it an HD 3D Land. I also like the little details attached to the game, like the fur on the cat suits, and from what I saw, the grass moving in the breeze. It makes the levels and the world livelier when they put the little touches here and there. The music sounded good. It was energetic, and that is what it should be in a Mario game. I just hope the music is varied among the levels. It’s almost pointless to talk about the voice work since, well, when has voice acting been a huge thing in a Mario game? I mean, besides in Super Mario Sunshine. It’s just another solid presentation package from Nintendo. Who knows how it will look in the end, but from what I have seen, it’s pretty good.

So, any concerns before release? Yes, actually, I have a few concerns. I know I am going to keep hammering this in, but I really do hope there is a huge amount of variety in the levels offered to you when the final product is released. I also hope they don’t take 3D Land’s route of a linear road, and instead have a huge overworld hub like in the Nintendo 64 game or the first Galaxy game. We really don’t know how this game is going to look in the end product, but until they show more footage of the game, we can only hope. I also hope the 4-player co-op isn’t too chaotic, like in the New Super Mario Brothers. From what I have seen and played, it isn’t too chaotic and unforgiving, like in the New Super Mario Brothers game. The levels seem to be more designed around the situation where you might be playing with more than one person, and I hope all the levels are designed like this.

All in all, I am excited about this game, but I do hope Nintendo is taking this new Mario game in the right direction and making it as grand and epic as my favorite game of all time, Super Mario Galaxy 2. I am going to get it, since a Mario game really hasn’t disappointed me, unlike other game series I have played, like Sonic or Fable. Who knows? This might be like Wind Waker HD, a game that Nintendo is making to test out how to really work with the Wii U and then get to work on something like Super Mario Galaxy 3 or Universe or whatever. Let’s see if the plumber is up to task in his first 3D Wii U debut.