Preview: Super Mario 3D World brings back old friends

June 26, 2013


The addition of a new title to the 3D, “core” Mario series wasn’t a surprise going into E3, but what it ended up being sure was. Most folks were expecting something more grandiose, along the lines of Super Mario Galaxy. Instead, we got something a little more unconventional in comparison. Don’t worry; it’s a blast.

What it is: Super Mario 3D World is a console follow-up to 2011’s Super Mario 3D Land. 3D Land was a clever blend of the design ideologies of the 2D and 3D Mario schools of thought, and 3D World is more of the same on a much larger scale. Not only that, but it has an obligatory host of fun new gimmicks. Also, multiplayer!

Why we’re excited: Did I mention multiplayer? 3D World marks the first occurrence of New Super Mario Bros.-style multiplayer in a core 3D title, and it is something to behold. In true ambitious 3D Mario form, the multiplayer is fully formed, with each character feeling distinct and reminiscent of their Super Mario Bros. 2 counterparts. Mario is Mario, Luigi sloppily jumps higher, Toad is super-fast and Peach (playable for the first time in multiple decades in a core title) can glide for short distances.

The big new power this time is a cat suit, which is not only comically adorable, but also presents a lot of great new utility for the saviors of the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario and company gain acrobatic new combat abilities, but they can also cling to and crawl up almost any surface, including the flagpoles at the end of stages. It’s a great new power-up, and very refreshing after the boring coin-based powers in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and overbearing emphasis on the tanooki suit in Super Mario 3D Land.


What we’re wondering: 3D World has had its fair share of negative reactions since its announcement. Is a follow up to a series originating on a handheld system a worthy successor to the Galaxy series? I had fun with the couple of levels I played, but I can’t help but wonder if the full game will be able to hold my attention, especially playing solo. Multiplayer is understandably local-only, and getting a full group of four together can be tricky, especially to run through the whole game. I’m also worried about the cat power-up being run into the ground while the other powers are left behind, something that happened in the previous game.

Super Mario 3D World comes to the Wii U sometime this December.