Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury Preview: The Fast And The Furious

I was one of many people who let out a slight sigh at the prospect of returning to Super Mario 3D World when a Nintendo Switch port of the Wii U “classic” was announced. To be perfectly clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Super Mario 3D World on Wii U, but as far as 3D Mario platformers go, this is easily the most forgettable of the bunch. I didn’t think anything could really get me excited about returning to the game and playing it again, but I was wrong. Super Mario 3D World is faster, more engaging, and gives you more to play with than ever before.

I had no idea how much of that plodding pace I experienced in the Wii U version of the game was down to Mario’s movement. I’ve played through the first few levels of the Wii U game with friends dozens of times, and when I played those levels again here on Nintendo Switch, I was blown away. The game speed is markedly more swift, and when you make Mario sprint across a stage it feels as if you’ve collected a power-up to make you faster. But no, it’s simply because Nintendo realised that, while a slower pace makes for more thoughtful multiplayer gameplay, it doesn’t make for an engaging Mario platformer. With this single, small change, the game instantly feels snappier to handle and play than ever before. Though it also comes with the caveat of sometimes feeling a little too fast for the world you’re navigating – it was very clearly built with the slower pace of the original version in mind.

But this faster click gives old levels a new lease on life, and now, when unshackled from the previous slow crawl, it’s so much easier to appreciate Nintendo’s design skills at work. This is the same team that gave us masterpieces like Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey, and while Super Mario 3D World has been the series’ ugly duckling for the longest time, running through these levels has given me a brand new appreciation for everything that the team has managed to achieve here.

But even with that faster pace, it seems inevitable that Super Mario 3D World will be a game that I only return to with a group of friends – which, hey, wouldn’t you know it, is now easier than ever. The Wii U is when Nintendo started taking its online flirtations seriously, thank God, but it didn’t sink in properly with many of their big titles. With Nintendo’s push towards making people pay for Nintendo Switch Online, it only makes sense that it would also make it easier for you to play online with your friends. I was invited to a preview event hosted by Nintendo staff and attended by others in games media, and I am happy to report that, even when connecting with players from a different country, online games between four people worked flawlessly, as if they were playing in the same room with me. If only Super Smash Bros. Ultimate had netcode as reliable as that.

Even with online play, Super Mario 3D World is old news. What is certainly not old news is Bowser’s Fury, the brand new mode you can play in this bundle. It’s almost odd, as Bowser’s Fury doesn’t feel like a new Super Mario 3D World, um, world. This new environment uses all of the abilities that you find within Super Mario 3D World, but instead of running through a platforming gauntlet and climbing a flag at the end, you’ll be wandering across beaches collecting Cat Shines, all in the hope of “helping” the giant Fury Bowser creature that rears his head occasionally to fling fireballs across the world as you attempt to unlock the Giga Bell and do battle with him.

It’s so strange. For one, this area uses the cat aesthetic far more than Super Mario 3D World ever did, despite Cat Mario being on the box, with even the birds and Goombas coming equipped with cat ears. Another thing is that this portion of the game does not feel like Super Mario 3D World at all. It’s the same control scheme and the same visual style, sure, but this is a single-player-focused environment, with challenges built for Mario to take on alone. It’s much closer to Super Mario Odyssey DLC, with its wide-open areas and tokens to find in every corner than the more linear Super Mario 3D World – and that is no bad thing.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is giving those who love multiplayer Mario another excellent reason to return to it, while also giving fans of Mario’s more open, explorative adventures a brand new experience to dive into. Both crowds are going to be pleased with what they find here.

Next: Mario And Bowser Collide Godzilla Vs. King Kong Style In New Bowser’s Fury Trailer

  • Game Previews
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • Bowser's Fury

TheGamer Guides Editor. Opinionated about Nintendo.

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