Why Super Mario 3D World Looks Like the Best Mario Game in Years

When Super Mario 3D World got its new trailer at Nintendo Direct a few days ago, many people suddenly found themselves a lot more enthusiastic for it already.

But for those who aren’t, and for those who are still a bit skeptical of the whole title, here’s why I think Super Mario 3D World looks to be the best Mario game in many years.

1. It Introduces a New Setting/Enemies/Characters to the Mario Series

Which is actually pretty important, given the ridiculous amount of time since we actually went outside the Mushroom Kingdom in a recent Mario title.

Think about it; when was the last time we had a Mario game set outside the known Mushroom Kingdom?

For the main Mario series, that must be all the way back in the SNES era with the likes of Dinosaur Land, Jewelry Land and Mario Land.  Isle Delfino is a debatable case (because it’s most likely now considered to be in the main Mushroom Kingdom/Mario World setting given its repeated presence in spinoffs) and Galaxy… well it didn’t take place in much of a coherent setting, just a bunch of planets seperated from each other by lightyears worth of absolutely nothing in particular.  3D World’s is the first real ‘new kingdom’ style setting we’ve had in years.

It’s even more impressive when you realise that most Mario RPGs don’t do this and introduce a brand new setting.  Really, in the entire series of Mario RPG games, only Super Paper Mario, Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga and Mario & Luigi Dream Team have EVER had the party travel outside the Mushroom Kingdom.  To the point that even Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door still takes place in the kingdom, just in the far west side of it.  So right off the bat, Super Mario 3D World is part of that maybe 5% of Mario games that takes place in an interesting new location.

Additionally, the game is the first in many years to actually introduce some new princess style characters (in the form of the Sprixies) to the main franchise, something people thought was impossible after the flood of New Super Mario Bros style games and cookie cutter settings.  Add a bunch of new enemies (or in this case, what seems like a swarm of new monsters and obstacles) and you’ve got a game that the Mario fanbase should be hyped to hell over, because it’s the first one in years which actually expands the franchise and adds the new content people want in sequels.

2. Four Player Co-op Actually becomes a Reality!

But it’s not just new characters and content that makes this game interesting.  No, the fact there’s now a four player co-op mode in a 3D Mario platformer is the type of thing that people have wanted for years.  You know when this idea was first suggested?

1999.  When Super Mario 64 2 was first proposed and Miyamoto considered making Luigi a playable character in a co-op style 3D Mario game.

Yeah, us Mario fans have been waiting FOURTEEN YEARS for this dream to become a reality.

We imagined a Super Mario 64 2 would come out with it.  Like this (picture is a mock up from an April Fool’s Day joke):

sm64 luigi

But we were wrong.  Thank you Super Mario 128 Central and your cursed jokes!

We thought we were going to get it in Mario 64 DS…

Mario 64 DS

But we were wrong.  The co-op multiplayer never materialised and all we hence got was a crappy vs mode based around collecting stars in four boring areas.

Heck, some fans likely even imagined it would become true in Super Mario Galaxy.  Or its sequel.  Or Super Mario 3D Land.  Nope, Nintendo didn’t include co-op in any of them (at least in a real form).

But now it’s all come true!  We’re finally getting a 3D Mario game with co-op multiplayer and four different characters to choose from!  It’s the game our 10 year old selves all those years ago would basically have died for!

Yet people on the internet continue to whine and complain like spoiled brats.  People, this is something the Mario fanbase have wanted for years now, so let’s just enjoy it, okay?  Enjoy the fact we’re finally getting what we were ‘promised’ over 10 years ago.

3. Bosses are better and more original than ever before

Another thing that looks great about 3D World is the boss originality.  It’s better than that of pretty much any Mario game in history.

Seriously.  Look at all the bosses in Mario games over time.  For most of them, they’re bland ‘jump on enemy’s head three times’ battles like in Super Mario Bros 3, World, Super Mario Land 2 or the New Super Mario Bros series.

Or they’re the plain embarassing… things you have to do in Super Mario 64, where knocking an oversized Bully into a lava pit was somehow considered the apex of boss design by Nintendo’s brilliant designers.

Heck, even Sunshine and Galaxy didn’t improve much here, with most bosses being just simple ‘do this one bland action three times’ and a few others being nothing more than glorified chase scenes.  Kamella?  Throw a shell at her.  Gooper Blooper?  Pull its tentacles off and tug on its face.  Topmaniac?  Let’s not even bring that pathetic attempt for a boss up…

But this game is different.  We’ve seen four bosses so far, and you know what?  They almost all have different weaknesses and strategies.  You have to jump on the snake like boss…

Throw bombs at Bowser’s escaping car in world 1…

And then knock a robot into pipes to shrink it and then somehow attack in this battle…

robotboss

Three battles (not including Boom Boom), and all seem to use a different method as far as defeating the enemies goes.  It’s not much, but hey, it’s at least better than everything dying in three hits to the head like this:

So give the game some due so far, the bosses actually have more varieties in weaknesses and attack patterns, unlike those in pretty much every other Mario platformer released in the last 20 years or so.  And they’ve all got unique designs, so that’s a nice step above three or four straight games of these guys…

Koopalings

Or a whole game of this guy and his twin sister:

Boom Boom SM3DL

Heck, it might even be argued that the boss battles are better than those in quite a few non Mario games Nintendo has published recently too.  I mean, even all the bosses in Donkey Kong Country Returns bar maybe one were weak to a couple of bounces to the head.

Either way, this is a serious upgrade to the boss formula in the series, and one that I’d definitely argue has been long overdue.

4. The overworld/map is finally done right

There’s also the map, which I’d say is a serious improvement to both the overworlds of some Mario games and the hubs of some others.  Look at it:

Moreoverworld

overworldhub overworldhub2

It’s a full blown 3D ‘world’ (based on each area’s theme) which you can freely run around to select levels and that’s littered with secrets and hidden areas!  And enemies wandering around that you can seemingly beat up directly on the map screen!

That in my opinion is better than the alternatives ever were.  Okay, a world map is nice, but technology has moved on since the SNES, so one of those nowadays is kind of cliched and trite.  And while a hub world can be done well in some cases (Mario Sunshine and the Banjo Kazooie series being prime examples), they all often have the side effect of making the world much smaller and less interesting than it should be.  Look at Donkey Kong 64 for example.  By trying to turn its island map screen into a Princess Peach’s Castle style hub, it made the whole place look like a literal theme park recreation of the original, something that you could fit into a medium sized duck pond.  Sunshine had a nice town as a hub, but ended up making it ridiculously tiny compared to most real world resorts as a result, and as for the others… well exploring Peach’s Castle or the Comet Observatory was nowhere near as fun as exploring an actual world with different areas because you were limited to a single building and a tiny patch of land around it.  Mario 3D World’s map looks like the best of both worlds, and a direction I’d hope the series continues with long afterwards.

Mario Pinball Land Fair

Above: It also reminds me a lot of Mario Pinball Land’s ‘overworld’

5. We finally got a gimmickless, 3D Mario game!

Finally, Super Mario 3D World has one more thing that I think makes it super appealing compared to the rest of the series.

It’s a fully gimmick free, 3D Mario game!  No FLUDD, no outer space, no painting portals, no tropical island theme, no gravity effects, no stereoscopic 3D… it’s just a nice simple 3D Mario title with an interesting setting to explore and lots of fun looking levels.

That’s not to say those other games were bad; far from it.  But when you think about it, Nintendo went a little too far with the gimmicks and ‘random settings’ in the last few games, and we never really got to explore a nice, ‘grounded’  location with interesting people and settings as a result.

3D World gives us that.  The 3D Mario game that many people have wanted ever since Mario 64.

All in all, Super Mario 3D World looks like a great game for me, because it’s both fresh and new in content and nice and simple in terms of core gameplay. It’s the type of game me and other Mario fans have wanted for years, and I couldn’t be happier that it’s not just Galaxy 3 or something else of that sort.

Agree?  Disagree?  Post your opinion as a comment or at Nintendo 3DS Community.com today!

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