Video Game Thoughts: Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World was a 2013 platformer game for the Wii U by Nintendo. As the name implies, this was a 3D Mario game, but it really was sort of a hybrid of 3D Mario and 2D Mario. Like the 2D Mario games, the primary objective in each level was to reach the goal flag. Levels were mostly linear from beginning to end, with the occasional little bonus offshoot area. Like the 3D Mario games, the levels were 3D, so Mario could run in front of, behind, around, or through various objects. However, the levels were not the open arenas to explore like Nintendo’s previous 3D Mario games (Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario 64).

After mostly finishing with Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U, I was excited to play the next generation of all Nintendo’s popular games. Unfortunately, I pretty much had to wait a year until one of these big games came along. There were some other games that I had a mild interest in, but not enough that I was willing to buy them. Super Mario 3D World was everything I hoped a modern Nintendo game would be though.

Like most Mario games, the levels were split up into worlds. Each world had a certain theme to them like grassland or desert. Most worlds had a sub-boss and a main boss that had to be defeated to continue. The final boss in each level also required a certain number of green stars. These were special collectibles, three per level. They were pretty easy to get early on but could become pretty hard to get later on. This added a lot of replay value to the game.

I had a blast with all the levels. I liked some more than others, but they were all great. They had some cool bonus levels too. Each world had either a battle gauntlet or a Captain Toad puzzle game. The battle gauntlet required Mario to defeat successive groups of enemies without dying to collect green stars. The Captain Toad puzzles were little dioramas. The player could rotate the screen with one of the control sticks to get a better view. The other control stick was used to move Captain Toad. Unlike Mario, he couldn’t jump. He was virtually helpless against enemies, so clever playing had to be used to avoid all the enemies while navigating all the paths.

The main story of the game was actually different than saving the princess again. This time Bowser had somehow entered another dimension and kidnapped the Sprixies. It was up to Mario to rescue them from Bowser’s clutches. In a further advancement, Nintendo even added Luigi, Toad, and Peach to the roster. Some of the other Mario games allowed these characters to be played, but usually only in multiplayer. In Super Mario 3D World, the four characters could be switched to at will from the start. There was even a secret character that could be unlocked later.

Nintendo made the game work for any kind of player. The main story was pretty easy for me, but this was good for casual players. They could see the ending of the game without too much green star hunting. To satisfy the completionists, Nintendo added several bonus worlds. I think there were four bonus worlds, each one harder than the last. Collecting all the green stars from the earlier levels became a requirement.

I really loved how much content was in this game. It was longer than any other Mario game I’ve played. After unlocking all the worlds, completing all the levels, and collecting all the green stars, there was one last thing to do: complete all levels with all characters. This took me forever. It basically took me a week per character to finish all the levels again (playing during evenings). Super Mario 3D World was worth the money.

The graphics were really good in Super Mario 3D World too. They weren’t technically amazing with millions of polygons and particle effects on screen, but they had the perfect style. Everything was bright and colorful in the signature Nintendo style, but now all crisp and clean. The graphics in this game were like a work of art. Sometimes I replayed levels just to admire the graphics again.

The music was also top notch. The music had a catchy, laid-back Jazz style to it. Every background track was recorded with real instruments and musicians in the studio. Just like with the graphics, I sometimes went back to levels just to hear the music again. After playing the game, I continued to listen to the music on YouTube here and there. It wasn’t the best game music I’ve heard, but it was very good.

The only bad thing was the final level. It was way too hard for me. I did eventually beat it, but I think I spent two weeks with attempt after attempt to beat it. I finally did, but that was harder than I like in my games. When I was younger I loved hard difficulty but not at this age. Aside from that one thing, Super Mario 3D World was pretty much the perfect Mario game. I wish every Wii U game was this good. The console might be selling better if that were the case.


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