Round Up Lifestyle: Why you should play Super Mario 3D World with friends, but then tell them to go away when you play Bowser’s Fury 


Image Courtesy of Nintendo

When thinking of Nintendo, there is no other figure that represents the company like Mario. After years of jumping on Goombas, warping in pipes and rescuing princesses, the franchise has aged like fine wine. With each release presented, it expands on its familiar formula with new creative concepts and gameplay mechanics. Thus, making each main Super Mario game its own distinguished experience from its predecessors while being nostalgic for long time fans.   

As a Wii U video game being ported to the Nintendo SwitchSuper Mario 3D World is tasked with selling to people at a full 60-dollar priceThis is even more daunting since the port is after the new classic that is Super Mario Odyssey. In order to make up for the price, the re-release is accompanied with Bowser’s Fury, an all-new Mario experienceBoth games pay off in the fun factor while elevating the Mario format. Especially Bowser’s Fury, as it’s the most ambitious Nintendo has been to date.  

Super Mario 3D World 

Super Mario 3D World is a complete jam when playing solo or with friends. The game uses multiple assets from previous classic Mario titles, having a nostalgic feel while still being different enough to be its own adventure. While side levels studders in being properly polished, the main levels somersault their way in overall design 

The story in 3D World is a pretty standard Mario narrative, saving a new area called the Sprixie Kingdom from his long-time nemesis Bowser. Along with Mario, he’s accompanied by his younger brother Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad.  

What makes this more distinct than any other Mario game is each character in the game has their strengths and weaknesses. Mario, being the Jumpman he is, is the most balanced. While he doesn’t stand out among the others, he offers consistency in his jumping, speed and overall movement. His brother Luigi, as the lovable klutz he is, has the highest jumps in the game but is very slippery, making his movement not always precise. 

Toad is the fastest runner in the game, but what little guy has in speed, he lacks in hops. With being the fastest, Toad jumps the shortest among the four. Princess Peach of the Mushroom Kingdom is the slowest in speed, but she is arguably the most unique among the four. She is the only character that can float for a short amount of time after jumping. Choosing who to play is entirely up to the player, but each character provides a different experience when going through a level.  

With such a diverse roster, 3D World succeeds in creative co-op play while promoting fun and competition. After each level when playing with someone, the game has a ranking system of who did best in terms of scoring. For the first-place winner, they get a crown to wear throughout the game. Allowing them to wear it in the overworld and even in the next level. 

Getting first place can be enticing for the other players to do better. Thus, creating this playfullchaotic mindset of whether to work together in finishing a level or compete for the crown and stopping each other from getting a better score. Finishing level in 3D World while playing with others is no cake walk either, each death a player has affects the whole team since they all share the same amount of lives.  

In order for the player to get accustomed, the first level of 3D World, Super Bell Hill, has the player in an open field. There, the player can move around in while upbeat music plays gleefully in the background. Once the player starts moving forward, they are given options of climbing stairs to reach a hill or jump over it to get where they need to go.  

Pointing this out is crucial in the player’s experience as it signifies to them that they have the freedom to get where they need to go their own way, they just need to start moving if they want to beat the level.  

Game design like this is what Mario games are most known for, providing player freedom in accomplishing objectivesLeading to the player to get creative in how they want to maneuver with what’s in the level and in what their given. Once the player goes farther in the first levelthey are introduced to the Super Bell, which has the player put on the Cat Suit  

The Cat Suit is one of the quirkier, yet useful, new power-ups to get in the game. With it, the player can melee (or claw) nearly any obstacles in the way and guarantees a top score on the goal pole in the end of a level 

Along with the Super Bell3D World has an array of familiar and new abilities to pick up. Such as the always present Fire Flower, Super Star and even the return of the Tanooki Suit from Super Mario Bros. 3allowing the player to hover for a longer period of time. This adds more dynamic gameplay styles to a simple running and jumping formula that Mario games have always used.  

Level design in 3D World is nothing short of top quality in creativity as each level manages to provide a different gimmick or obstacle. From one point the player would be needing to keeping their footing in an ice level, to another point where they need to have perfect timing in order to not fall from disappearing platforms. Other mechanics in the game include utilizing motion controls to open platforms to reach certain heights or by using the Switch’s touchpad in Handheld Mode. 

The game also has little side levels called Captain Toad’s Adventures. Where the player plays as Captain Toad and has to collect all five Green Power Stars. The difference in gameplay here is in the character, as Captain Toad can’t move very fast and can’t jump either.   

While the levels are niche and adorable, especially with Captain Toad’s animations, it lacks the same quality in the main levels. Playing co-op in these levels are allowed as well, but there isn’t that dynamic premise of competition either. Making the multiplayer aspect in these levels more like a tacked-on gimmick than a fun addition that elevates its gameplay.  

3D World as has its fair share of collectables, like the Green Stars. Getting these stars is crucial as they open the gates to all of the areas’ final levels. There are Stamps, acquiring them is optional but they give the player stickers that can be used in the game’s Snapshot Mode when taking screenshotsThe game has a total of 380 green stars to collect as each main game level has three hidden. While there are 85 stamps to collect in the game.  

Super Mario 3D World is simply a fun time. Among its consistent main level design, the game offers a plethora of dynamic gameplay styles through its characters. Allowing the player to replay the level differently and still have fun if they want to find all the collectables to get the game at 100%. Whether players want to compete or cooperate, they will have a great time while playing 

Bowser’s Fury 

While Bowser’s Fury is a relatively smaller than Super Mario 3D World in its game time and overall scope, the game accomplishes in being an ambitious experience that separates itself from single player Mario titles with an open world and the addition of Fury Bowser.  

Mario is taken to an area called Lake Lapcat by Bowser Jr. The aesthetic of the world is themed only cats. Meaning cat shaped landscapes, familiar Mario enemies with cat ears and even having islands populated with real cats  

The game shows immediately what the player is up against. Mario first lands on a stormy island with a demolished ship that belonged to none other than Bowser. Then seeing far off in the distance, dark shadow reveals one of the most sinister and largest iterations of Bowser. Due to his size, the first thing the player thinks is to run away. As Bowser begins breathing fire and reigning meteor showers at Mario.  

They then find the main collectibles in the game, Cat ShinesAcquiring these while Bowser is recking havoc unlocks light in certain lighthouses that harm the giant King Koopa. Mario is then asked by Bowser Jr. to his dad as Bowser has been corrupted to the black paint around the lake.  

When agreeing to help Bowser Jr., he joins Mario as a companion, following him throughout the entire adventure. The game has co-op in the form of having player two play the Koopa prince. Gameplay wise, it’s more of a gimmick as playing Bowser Jr. doesn’t offer any dynamic movement like Mario and they can’t die.  

They are limited in only following player one as Bowser Jr. is automatically brought back to Mario if they are too far apart. While it’s niche for a short amount of time, its mechanics feel like for giving the controlling to that annoying younger sibling that wants to play but has no idea how to. 

Bowser’s Fury is the most ambitious in the Mario series, as there has never an open world concept in any Mario titles on this scale. Instead of entering somewhere or jumping in an icon to enter a level. There is a seamless transition when just walking in a new levelthe music in overworld changes to what accompanies that area and the player just starts without load times.  

Lake Lapcat’s open world in the game is one of the best additions that should be applied more in later Mario games. Iprovides another degree of player freedom that is a regular philosophy to the franchise’s games by allowing them where to go in order to get enough Cat Shines to progress. The player needs to collect 50 of them in order to complete the general game but there are 100 across the map. Finding all of them unlock new costumes for Mario, Bowser Jr. and even Fury Bowser.   

In order to progress in the levels, there are many power-ups from 3D World that Mario can collect. What’s more convenient in collecting these powers is that Bowser Jr. will store five of each power-up picked up. Letting the player choose what abilities fit best for Mario in a certain area.   

The levels in Bowser’s Fury aren’t as creative as the ones in 3D World. They are also some of the easiest levels to get through as they don’t present a huge challenge, especially with the power-up bank the game providesThat simplicity is also to the game’s advantage in being replayable.   

After entering and leaving a level, once the player comes back to that level, they are given different objectives to get Cat Shines. These range from chasing an enemy, finding a key to unlock a cage for the Cat Shine or exploring a new area in that level. Not only that, but the level itself changes in enemies, giving the player a different experience.  

What’s also changes the level’s landscape is when Fury Bowser wakes up. At a certain amount of time, he will appear and start wreaking havoc. While it adds extra tension for the player to find a Cat Shine to make him go back to sleep. Some areas that can’t be reached are accessible through Fury Bowser, whether he needs to breath fire on it or make steps to reach a certain height.   

While the mechanic is fun for when Fury Bowser appears. It can be a detriment to the game and test the player’s patience. If someone wants to fully complete the game, they should expect a lot of waiting since without Fury Bowser, some areas that hold Cat Shines can’t be reached. What’s fun about the mechanic though is when the player gets to boss fights.   

Upon getting a number of Cat Shines, grants a special power-up called the Giga Bell, unleashing Giga Cat Mario. The player then engages in a kaiju-esque battle with Fury Bowser. Winning these boss fights unlocks more areas and more Cat Shines to collect.  

The boss fights are chaotically fun as boss fights like this aren’t common at all in Mario games. Each fight adds a different element that adds more choice to how the player wants to battle.  

Like in Super Mario Odyssey, if a player dies, they lose coins instead of losing lives. While that doesn’t sound as punishing, collecting 100 coins grants a new power-up. Getting a game over leads to Mario losing as much as half the coins. This concept could use a bit more polish if it’s applied in later games. If there was more that could be acquired from coins like the costumes in Odyssey, losing them would feel more punishing.  

All in all, Bowser’s Fury is an ambitious project from Nintendo that succeeds to be enjoyable and worthy of being in the franchise. For its short play time, it provides an amazing gaming experience that should make the player excited for what’s next in Mario. Not only is the scope of this world grand for a Mario titlebut it’s also greatly polished as there were no glitches or frame drops, Docked or Handheld Mode. The soundtrack consistently matches the playful freedom of the game. With the experimental inclusion of Fury Bowser being a reminder that Nintendo aims for consistent creativity even after all these years  

It’s also an intelligent move from Nintendo to release this with Super Mario 3D World in order to test these new mechanics and see what clicks with the player. If more Mario games come out with these mechanics further realized, the franchise will definitely continue its level of quality for the foreseeable future.  

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury should be must pick game for Switch owners. Definitely an adventure something worth playing with friends and soloNot only does will satisfy any Mario fan, but it will also get them excited for what Nintendo has in store for the Super Mario franchise.   

4.5/5 Stars 

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