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Review

Super Mario 3D World Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • WIIU

Purrfect platforming.

Super Mario 3D World is a game of exceptional craft, of painstaking focus on the minute details that are integral to making it feel special. The pace at which you're thrown from one ingenious concept to the next as perspectives, tempos, and mechanics change would choke a lesser game, but here it's done with a seamlessness that makes such rapid inventiveness look easy. This is a game where every level is a golden nugget of heavenly platforming joy, where ideas are rarely repeated--and if they are, they're given such a twist as to make them feel new again.

Those ideas start with the cat suit. Once you're over the outrageous cutesy appeal of seeing Mario paw around on all fours, the new abilities it offers are intriguing. You can slash at nearby enemies instead of stomping on them, leap through the air with a swift dash attack, and scramble up walls. It's the latter that pushes you to think about new ways of solving puzzles, and to explore the extremities of a level. Bare walls that stretch up into the vertical distance are no longer the barriers they once were, with curious climbs revealing hidden pipes, paths, and glowing green stars at their peak.

Elsewhere, you're asked to paw at cogs, revealing tall towers for you to climb that lead to special precision platforming sections atop puffy clouds. Purple boxes transport you to timed zones, where brisk climbing and coin collecting reward you with more green stars, while flagpoles that once required a well-timed jump to earn a gold flag can be scaled with Mario's grippy paws. Some games would build an entire experience out of the cat suit alone, clever as it is, but 3D World steadfastly refuses to dwell on one idea for long.

Some games would build an entire experience out of the cat suit alone, clever as it is, but 3D World steadfastly refuses to dwell on one idea for long.

One moment you're riding on the back of an aquatic dinosaur, skimming it over the surface of a waterfall to collect coins and bouncing it off the backs of squishy puffer fish to reach stars, and the next you're using cleverly angled shadows and silhouettes to spot hidden power-ups, and blowing on the gamepad's microphone to move platforms. Another new power-up, the double cherry, creates a clone of Mario, with multiple pickups creating up to four of the portly plumbers. Puzzles start simply, requiring you to push two switches at once, but the challenge is in keeping the group alive long enough to activate platforms that need multiple characters, and to do so in the right order to reach the exit.

The game flows effortlessly from one ingenious idea to the next, the levels intelligently designed to gently guide you toward their concepts without the need for a heavy-handed tutorial or swathes of help boxes. More importantly, 3D World's levels are some of the most fun a Mario game has dished out in years. No, they don't quite reach the lofty heights of the sublime Super Mario Galaxy games, but the sheer joy of exploring the sharp, vibrant levels, solving puzzles, and simply leaping from one platform to the next, backed by the game's surgical precision, is exuberant.

A top-down world map, similar to that of the classic Super Mario Bros. 3, guides you from one level to the next, ensuring that you're never left wondering where to get your next dose of platforming action. The twist is that you can deviate from the set path and explore the wide-open space of the overworld. Bonus slot machines spit out coins, Toadstool huts bombard you with power-ups, and challenging secret levels with yet more green stars to earn are all ripe for discovery.

There are some unique and wonderfully designed puzzles in the form of Captain Toad levels too, which challenge you to guide the funny fungus around a rotatable 3D maze, all without the power to jump or stomp on enemies.

The fact that these lovely little asides are optional has always been a strength of the Mario series. Defeating Bowser and rescuing the adorable Sprixie fairies is an attainable goal for all but the most ham-fisted of players, and even then, the golden tanooki suit always ensures there's a path forward if you get stuck. But if you want to push the limits of your skills, to explore levels that drop you onto fierce rotating platforms, and in front of fiery, cog-filled paths, the option to try to attain all the stars and collectible stamps and gold flags on every level is there.

The most challenging levels in 3D World prove to be some of the most creative and off the wall, effortlessly balancing intricacy and design elegance. The imagination that's on show across the game's level design, its gorgeous visuals, and its wonderful soundtrack is intoxicating, constantly pushing you to discover new ways of playing. Even the boss battles, while adhering to many of the series' tropes, are fresh and exciting as a result of some clever mechanics and some wonderful visual trickery. You can also share the experience with four-player co-op, which is a more compelling proposition than before thanks to individual high scores and the brag-worthy addition of a shiny gold crown for the leader.

Sure, co-op play is hardly a game changer, but when so much of 3D World is so successfully built upon a bevy of brilliant ideas, this can be forgiven. Everything that you can see and do within its enchanting levels is so bright, colourful, and full of wonder that it's impossible not to be taken in by its charms. Mario has always had that uncanny ability to cross the boundaries of age and gender, to bring a smile to the face of every player who crosses his path. Super Mario 3D World is no different. This is a dazzlingly inventive game that brings the fun in spades, and will leave you grinning like a loon from start to finish.

The Good
Wildly imaginative level design
Effortless controls
Loads of challenging extra content to discover
Gorgeous, colourful visuals and a catchy soundtrack
It's Mario in a cat suit!
The Bad
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mark spent many a week planning out the perfect route through the Grandmaster Galaxy in Mario Galaxy 2, and still regards it as one of his greatest achievements. He played Super Mario 3D World through to completion, and fiercely fought the urge to try to collect all the green stars on his way there.

Discussion

902 comments
hermitkiller
hermitkiller

I can't wait to play this candy on my pc with 4K resolution!!!!!


Infinite_713
Infinite_713

I just sold my Mario Kart 8 on ebay just to get this. I cannot wait!!!

gordanchoong
gordanchoong

Wow, this is a game that Mark actually approves of *cough* Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze *cough*.

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

I just finished it. I thought it was good, a solid 7 out of 10. It isn't anywhere near as good as Galaxy. It makes me laugh when I hear games journalists say that 3D World is reason enough to buy a Wii U. That's ridiculous.

Lilianetty
Lilianetty

Loved it to the max. It may look too easy to adults who play this but I think kids will frustrate a bit LOL Anyway, the music score is WAY to epic and marvelous compared to the past games, and thank God Peach is not the stolen one here (I think Link's fairies must be in shock somehow). Still loved it and would like to keep playing it ;)

xolivierx
xolivierx

cool game, but very childish...I mean, Mario in a cat suit making little cat noises.....difficulty wise, it's  a bit easy. So far this is the closest thing to Mario 64, but it does not even compare to it. It's a mix of Mario 64 and Super Mario Bros with a very bad story.

ericdegr8
ericdegr8

Does gamespot have a 30 fps limit on their videos like youtube? Because after watching tons of 3d world gameplay on different sites, i've just realized how GREAT it looks in 60 fps... HD helps too!

matthova
matthova

Tomb Raider was dope but this might be a little better

Monsterkillah
Monsterkillah

This game is must play for all kind of gamers

ps3gamer1234
ps3gamer1234

I dont understand the smoke when they run,walk, jump, dance, anything else. What the point.

mrjohnnykid
mrjohnnykid

This is a fun game, and really does look nice.

14monkey
14monkey

hey what is the nintendo network used for in this game?

RAMUHAS
RAMUHAS

"Once you're over the outrageous cutesy appeal of seeing overweight Italian plumber paw around on all fours...". Stuff like this makes me question if I am really a member of human species.


How exciting another Mario game. Can't wait for Super Mario 3D World Land 2 Luigi Edition 3.

the_necronomico
the_necronomico

The bad is empty and it has 9? BTW, I didn't read the entire review :3

mirage_so3
mirage_so3

For as much as I do like Mario and Zelda games, they really should try something new.....

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

I just got mine this week for 292$ with 2 games and a 40$ gift card at wal mart that I used to buy my Pro controller and this marvelous game that Im currently enjoying. I just love nintendo.  My PC, Wii U and Dark Souls 2 is all Ill need for years to come. That is my next-gen.

Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

Just got this today. So many imaginative ideas packed into every level. It doesn't disappoint. It's a clear step above Mario 3d Land (Good game that 3d land was). 3D World has so much of attention to detail and things to discover in every level so far. Just hope it at least matches 3d lands length.

Hopefully I'll get to check out the multiplayer later today but right now I'm really pleased that a game with so much hype was able to deliver.

donmega1
donmega1

looks like the same ol mario crap to me.

jonbaker82
jonbaker82

1.) Does this game single-handedly make it worth getting a Wii U console ? Your Damn right.

2.) Is this the game of the year in my opinion? Your Damn right.

3.) Is this the most pure joy I have had playing any video game since Super Mario N64? Why yes it truly is.

If you are undecided you will not regret it this is a must play game for any true gamers out there just when you think the fun is over it keeps going and you never want it to stop.

I am 31 years old and grew up with original NES etc... My console of choice is ps3 but Nintendo still puts out these games every once in awhile that make owning that Nintendo console worth it well here it is!

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

GOTY. And this is coming from someone who was almost positive nothing would dethrone TLOU. Well I was completely wrong. This is a masterclass in game design. I didn't even comment here on the review because I've been playing it religiously since release. Great job Nintendo!!!! XD

demitryvh
demitryvh

Does anyone know if co-op mode is only playable via Internet connection, or if it can also be played locally? In this case, which controls are to be used? Wii remote and nunchuck? Thanks in advance!

l_skipper
l_skipper

F..k "next gen" . I choose FUN. Just ordered Wii U :)

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

This could be the best game I've ever seen. Looks like pure gaming heaven. You have to watch the video review on this one.

punu40
punu40

Great fun game. Hope it will push Wii U sale and in turn will make more game being developed for this console . On more pesimistic notes, if this game can't push Wii U sale, nothing will ...

B74kD37H
B74kD37H

still wont sell any wii u's

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

This actually looks awesome

New too.... not just the same thing with new levels 

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

Great reason to buy a Wii U. Will be looking out for more reason to get one.

JustBeYourself
JustBeYourself

So there are no negatives but it's a 9 out of 10?  I *REALLY* wish GS would bring back decimals.

ABXInferno
ABXInferno

@xolivierx at least they tried, should've seen 3d land - a picture! A f***ing picture!

Mac8457
Mac8457

@xolivierxMeowwwww.... LOL you have to admit it is pretty funny to hear that on the title screen though...

Mac8457
Mac8457

@ps3gamer1234Thats how fast they are running. Enough speed to cause dirt to fly up in the air...

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@14monkey Every level has a hidden stamp that you can use to draw stuff or leave messages at the end of each levels or in each different worlds. Theres also the ghost mii characters that you see once you replay a level youve already beaten you can see their parkour while you play so they can help you find the stamp or green stars that you missed or you can also  try to beat their best time/score.  They will sometime leave spoilers so thats at your own risks. There is no online co-op outside of verbal co-operation. The game is amazing solo anyway.

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

@gameroutlawzz Can you play this game with the Pro controller without missing out? If so, I'd play with the Pro controller too. CG.

Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

@donmega1 Tell me your favorite genre and I'll tell you how its the same old crap as all the other games in its genre as well.


Go ahead. 

Mac8457
Mac8457

@jonbaker82Turning 30 this May and held out on getting a WiiU til this Christmas when the wife surprised me with the Zelda HD version and a copy of Mario. Worth it alone for Mario. Right now it is better than any Xbone or PS4 exclusives so I'm happy.

konradkaczor
konradkaczor

@jonbaker82 I couldn't say it better, I am over 30 myself too, and buying Wii U over a year ago was a great decision. It may not be 1st and main gaming platform choice for any hardcore gamer, but I think it should be still owned by any serious gaming fan for all those exclusive Nintendo gems that pop-up now and then. Another platformer that blew me away in SNES age was Donkey Kong Country, then I played on Wii, now Tropical Freeze is coming soon to WiiU. I bet it will be another gem in its category. Then Mario Kart 8, maybe new Zelda... Nintendo is awesome no matter what :)   

Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

@demitryvh Local only. Can use all controller options: a gamepad, pro controller, wii mote, or wii mote with nunchuck.

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

@demitryvh I either read the review or comments but someone said no internet co-op but can be local. 


EXxile
EXxile

@l_skipper Super Mario 3D World is such a beautiful game, that it looks next gen. Easily, and by far, the best game on the Wii U

Croaxleigh
Croaxleigh

@B74kD37H Yeah, I mean, it's not like Wii U sales have been growing significantly since the price drop or anything.

Zevvion
Zevvion

@JustBeYourself No negatives =/= everything is as good as it can be. Not sure why people can't seem to understand that. 

nami_the_mage
nami_the_mage

I feel that the whole Miiverse integration into this game was done wrong. I love collecting the stamps, but now the SM3DW Miiverse is packed with stamp comments that don't add anything to the game in any way. At least in LOZ:WWHD you can get figurine photos from Tingle bottles that helped with your game completion in a way. At least we can turn it off.

EXxile
EXxile

@ScreamDream Correct. The co-op is only local. A bummer, yes, but it's awesome nonetheless. 

Super Mario 3D World More Info

  • First Released
    • Wii U
    Super Mario 3D World is the first multiplayer 3D Mario game for the Wii U where players can choose to play as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Toad.
    9.2
    Average User RatingOut of 117 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Super Mario 3D World
    Developed by:
    Nintendo
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    3D, Action, Platformer
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    Mild Cartoon Violence