Let me get this out the way, if you are familiar with Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS then you will be instantly in tune with its bigger brother on the Wii U. Technically, they’re not linked as such, but you can clearly see the similarities with both titles, especially when it comes to level design.
The demo I played had the option of playing the game with two players using original Wiimotes, but as it was just me I went for the single player option and felt at home almost immediately. The game looks stunning in HD, with environments and characters looking crisp and detailed. Miyamoto’s famous level design stands out too, it’s almost like a prominent feature in Mario games now and Super Mario 3D World is no different.
Although the Wii U can’t do three dimensions like the 3DS, you almost feel like you’re playing in 3D due to the way levels are designed. Imagine that feeling you got when you first played Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 and you’re pretty much there. The camera movement is great too, never becoming intrusive and hindering the overall gameplay experience.
As mentioned before, Super Mario 3D World features four player multiplayer, allowing you to play as Mario, Luigi, Princess and Toad. Each character has their own unique ability too. For example, Luigi has his trademark high jump and Toad can run at high speeds. One of the biggest shocks when Super Mario 3D World was announced is the fact that Mario can now become a cat thanks to a new power-up. Sounds odd, but in reality it works very well. While using the cat power-up, Mario can scratch eyes out (meow!) and, for a limited amount of time, can climb walls as well.
Although I enjoyed my brief time with Super Mario 3D World, part of me was left disappointed. Why? Well, the Super Mario Galaxy games on the Wii were (and still are) amazing, and this just didn’t bring out the same child-like excitement out of me. That’s not to say that Super Mario 3D World isn’t a good game, it’s just a little too similar to its younger brother on the 3D. Playing it, you kind of get that ‘been there, done that’ feeling. Again, that’s no bad thing as Super Mario 3D Land is such a great title, but with the Wii U struggling with software at present I feel Nintendo needed to deliver something a bit more fresh when it came to Mario’s 3D debut on the console.
Super Mario 3D World looks great, plays well and, like all the other Mario titles, features some superb level design standpoint. The one downside is that I expected a brand new world to explore and, like I said above, it partly feels like this is basically a recycled 3DS version . Saying that, if you love Mario, then you’ll love this. There’s no doubt about that. At this early stage, I have some reservations, but I’m still eager to see how the full game turns out when it’s released later this year.