Published on March 10th, 2021 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD/BOWSER’S FURY
Super Mario 3D world was one of the best titles the Wii U had to offer in its short lifespan and one that i was worried would be lost to time. Fortunately Nintendo has decided to bring it over to the switch in all it’s glory but with the addition of a new mini campaign entitled ‘Bowser’s Fury’ How do both games stack up and is it worth your hard earned money?
Concept/Story: This is always a tricky thing to tackle with Mario platformers as there’s never really a big story. This one Bowser has kidnapped these little fairy creatures and you go through each world rescuing them. The game is a throwback to both Super Mario 1 and also Super Mario 3 with the character selection introduced in Mario Bros. 2. It has the flag pole finishes for each level reminiscent of the first Mario and the over world of the third.
Bowser’s Fury is very different to the style of Super Mario 3D world as this is more akin to say Mario Odyssey, although this is one big open world as opposed to travelling to different places like all the other 3D Mario entries. There’s actually a bit more of a story here too. Bowser Junior seeks out Mario’s aid to help him rescue his dad who has gone into a blind rage due to being engulfed in a black goo like substance.
Essentially it’s still basic as you have to rescue someone or something but it’s interesting that you’re actually saving Bowser this time around.
Now Story is not something Mario games are really about but the concepts used in each level of Mario 3D world vary with a lot of different mechanics to the courses and Bowser’s Fury feels like an entirely different style of game, so you’re getting the best of both worlds.
Graphics: Visually Super Mario 3D World was one of the most stunning titles on the Wii U and it looks like their has been a bit of a bump up in resolution on Switch although you do notice the resolution scale between 720p – 1080p. This just doesn’t quite cut it on a 4K display, I mean it looks fantastic but you’ll notice those jagged edges, so if you have a 1080p display then this will look absolutely flawless. The level designs are all fantastic with beautiful vibrant colour used throughout, character models that look smooth as butter and outstanding animation. The visuals are everything you could want for a 3D Mario game and I much prefer these cartoony worlds as opposed to Mario Odyssey trying to go the realistic route. This still looks fantastic as well in portable mode.
Bowser’s Fury takes a bit of a hit it seems in resolution, i’m not sure if it uses a dynamic resolution or not because at times it can look fantastic, especially all the water effects but then other times it can look a bit rough around the edges, but to be honest that’s expected when you move to a more open world environment as the game is rendering a lot more at once. This one definitely takes a hit on performance and visuals in portable mode but it’s still great fun and is how I played the majority of it. I really love the weather effects used when Bowser awakens and starts causing havoc. Bowser himself just looks absolutely menacing and it reminds me of facing him in the original Yoshi’s island on the Snes where he was just massive and imposing. All in all the visuals are everything I could want them to be, but here’s hoping for a Switch Pro with at least a 1440p image output for those of you with 4K displays.
Gameplay: 3D World surprised me when first booting it up as it’s been years since I last played it on the Wii-U, I forgot how incredibly fast paced it is. Mario is so agile in this game that you really have to keep your focus rock solid when platforming and this extends to all the characters to choose from that all have their own unique abilities much like they did in Mario bros. 2. Mario is the all-rounder, Luigi can jump really high, Toad is the fastest and Peach has her floating jump which honestly can be a life saver. I would suggest picking her for first timers as that floating jump will get you out of a lot of tight spots.
Now add in the fact you can play this game up to 4 people both couch co-op and online, you’re in for multiplayer madness as you’ll constantly get in each others way, accidentally jumping on each other, picking each other up, knocking people off screen because you’ve wandered off too far from them…Pure Insanity. It’s fun though having a laugh through all the chaos ensuing and there’s a bunch of little tricks to access hidden areas by bouncing off one of your friends to reach greater heights etc.
The levels themselves have so many power ups with the main focus being Cat Mario (or Cat whoever you choose) gaining the ability to climb up walls, dive attack and scratch at enemies. It’s by far the most useful ability to have when going after collectible Green stars hidden in each level. Also returning is the Tanooki suit, fire flower, mushrooms, giant mushrooms, a boomerang wielding powerup, as well as the new multi cherries which when grabbed will pop out an additional clone of yourself. I’ve managed to have 5 Mario’s on screen at once which are all controlled by you at the same time, it really makes for some interesting puzzles.
Levels have traditional staples like ice floors that will make you slide around, sand to slow you down, there’s the water levels, lava to avoid etc. but then you have stuff like boost pads which will make you run fast, platforms you can control based on where you stand, levels that have disappearing platforms to match the beat. A whole wide variety of varied level designs to keep you entertained from start to finish. I never got tired of the amount of levels i played through.
Bowser’s Fury takes the mechanics of 3D world except it all takes place in one large open world with mini challenges to beat to unlock Cat Shines. These Cat shines need to be collected to unlock the Giga Bell which will help Mario grow in size to take on the towering ‘Fury Bowser’.
Collecting these Cat shines is very reminiscent of collecting Moons in Mario Odyssey, so you have a melding of the open style of gameplay from Odyssey with the mechanics and power ups of 3D world.
The biggest mechanic change is every say 7 – 10mins (I never timed it) Bowser will rise up from the black sludge he has been sleeping in causing the sky to turn to night and the weather to turn into a huge thunderstorm. Bowser will try throwing boulders at you that can also create new platforms, he will try spurting out a massive fire stream at you which can also destroy certain blocks that Mario just can’t break on his own and all the while you are just trying to survive as well collect some hidden shines. After a few minutes Bowser will go back into a slumber and the sky will turn back to day and you can continue as normal. Once you have enough shines you will be able to fight Bowser, knocking him into a new area and clearing up the poisonous goo in the world to unlock new area to journey to. Did i mention you can ride the adorable Plessie all around the map to get to where you have to go in a breeze.
Bowser jr. also accompanies you throughout this adventure and you can set him to be aggressive so that he will help you take out enemies or you can simply just have him there for show. Bowser jr. can also be controller by a second player although I wouldn’t say this is true 2 player co-op as he is more of an assist character akin to Tails in the Sonic games. The camera will never focus on him and only on Mario, so the second player can get lost in the shuffle although they do have free movement over him and can attack at will.
This is especially great if you’re playing with kids or something who might be new to Mario games that might need an extra hand tackling enemies.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Super Mario 3D world also has the introduction of Captain Toad levels. The little puzzle box style levels were introduced in this game and were so popular Captain Toad ended up with his own game. Those of you who have never played the Captain Toad game will have the ability to play through some of these levels to get a taste of what it’s all about and let me say I highly recommend picking it up.
Sound: Is there honestly a Mario game that doesn’t have fantastic music?? This is no exception with both games in the package showcasing some great tunes. 3D world has a wide variety of tracks to fit each location you play in where as Bowsers’s Fury has music to suit the overworld with an especially awesome metal track that kicks in when Bowser awakens. Seriously a metal track in Mario, that’s so badass! It’s glorious.
Of course you’re gonna hear all the familiar noises and one liners from Mario and the gang as well as all the enemies. Sound design is always top notch in Mario games and I like that they tried something different in Bowsers’s Fury.
Awesomeness: Replayability is definitely the strongest feature here as you have soooo many levels to play through in Super Mario 3D world with all the green stars to collect to unlock bonus levels. The game doesn’t stop after the credits as there is another world unlocked as well, that is something Mario games have always surprised us with and that’s special worlds in their games. Did I also mention a bonus character to unlock as well 😉 I won’t spoil it if you don’t know already.
The replayability extends over to Bowser’s Fury as well with so many Cat shines to collect and again more to collect even after you finish the main quest.
Also the fact you can play Super Mario 3D world in couch co-op and online 4 player madness extends the fun and makes this a game you can just pop in to on any given day with friends and have some chaotic fun!
Final Word: This has to be one of the absolute best Mario packages available on the switch. You have Super Mario 3D World which provides co-op chaos if you want or even if you just want to play it in single player it’s an amazing traditional style Mario game brought to life in 3D. You also have Bowser’s fury which is a fresh take on Mario platforming, sure the open world level design isn’t necessarily new but having Bowser come up temporarily causing chaos changes and affecting the landscape makes you change up your approach. It’s this innovation that keeps Mario fresh and this package gives you the best of both worlds with something new mixed in with a hit of nostalgia. A must own for all switch owners.
Out of 5 Bugs!