Paws on Preview: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
It was a long time between drinks for games on the Wii U, and one of the biggest and best was Super Mario 3D World (our original review). This cat-filled, big band-touting rendition of Super Mario blurred the lines between a 2D and 3D Mario game. There’s also multiplayer included and the ability to play as four different characters. It’s just a well-rounded package.
Now the package is getting a little bigger with the addition of Bowser’s Fury, a completely separate story using 3D World as its base and making it more open — and turning up the cat-factor to eleven.
We’re going with a question and answer format for this preview.
What is Super Mario 3D World?
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury are two different games that you pick from a menu. One is a full robust 3D Mario title that’s playable with up to four players, locally (wirelessly as well) and now online.
Super Mario 3D World is your classic Mario title; although unlike the traditional setup it’s not in the Mushroom Kingdom nor has Peach been kidnapped by Bowser. She’s one of the playable characters alongside Luigi and Toad, all of whom have different abilities. Luigi’s got his flutter jump; Peach can hover jump and Toad is the speediest of them. On the topic of speed, the game is a little bit faster now with all the characters moving more quickly than in the original game; the camera has also changed and just seems to be a bit smarter.
As you travel throughout the Sprixie Kingdom, you’ll notice things are a little different here; there’s a heavy feline theme going on, with the cat-suit powerup being the most obvious one. This powerup allows Mario and co to jump longer distances, climb up walls and take a swipe at enemies. Many of the game’s secrets and levels are designed around exploring things out of the reach of regular Mario.
While the game can support up to four players, only a few puzzles are designed around having more than one player (or there’s a power that fills in for you). You can still enjoy the game no matter how many players you have, and it’s easy for them to drop in and out. When they add multiplayer some games can feel hollow when there’s not everyone along with the ride, but 3D World doesn’t have this problem.
The new online mode works very simply, and you can join or create a room with friends only and you’ll play in the hosts save file. We weren’t able to test with local multiplayer yet, with just one copy of the game.
What is Bowser’s Fury?
Bowser’s Fury feels like your favourite TV show got a spin-off and everything is just a little bit different. While it looks like 3D World, this time it’s a (mostly) single-player adventure in an open-world sandbox. Lake Lapcat has been consumed after Bowser has gone berserk – he’s got so angry that even Bowser Jr. is afraid. He teams up with Mario to restore Lake Lapcat to its pristine purrfection.
At the beginning of Bowser’s Fury, you can’t go everywhere; you need to collect Cat Shines to push Bowser’s evil goop back by uncovering and powering up lighthouses. Fury Bowser will appear every so often in a fit of rage, bringing rain and making the world dark. You’ll need Cat Shines to push him back and eventually become Giga Cat Mario to take him on. Bowser Jr. can help you on your quest as well.
He wants his Dad back, and there are a few different ways he can help. With just one player, Bowser Jr. is driven by the AI and can be toggled to help a little, a lot or not at all. Bowser Jr. will float around you finding secrets and taking on some enemies. You can also tap the touch screen in handheld mode to direct him to things, or if you’re playing on the TV the R button and gyro controls take control of the pointer.
If you’re playing with a second player, Bowser Jr. is controlled by a player and performs pretty much the same. It’s not a full two-player mode but you can control Bowser Jr. at least and help Mario out. It’s still a lot better than the Co-Star Mode from Super Mario Galaxy.
How does it run?
Both Super Mario 3D World and Bowser’s Fury are tremendously good looking games, and 3D World now on hardware with a bit more power flourishes at 1080p and a full 60fps. The larger levels that stuttered on the Wii U no longer do so here.
Bowser’s Fury is a little bit different; a lot is going on in this game, and it’s grander in scale – in more ways that one. While docked, you’ll have the same sort of silky-smooth gameplay as you would expect from any Nintendo game, but in handheld mode, things aren’t running quite as well. Nintendo has aimed for 30fps here.
Who is it for?
When it was released on the Wii U, Super Mario 3D World sold to less than half the install base of the console. While you, a reader of a Nintendo site, might have bought it, there’s a lot of people who have yet to experience the joy of Super Mario 3D World.
Some eight years later, Super Mario 3D World hasn’t aged a day – and even if you played it back then, there’s more than enough reason to return and there’s a whole other game to check out as well. If you’ve never played 3D World, get ready for one of Mario’s most excellent outings.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury launches on the Nintendo Switch eShop and at retail on the 12th of February. Find yourself a bargain at retail by checking out our Aussie Bargain Roundup.