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PN Review: Super Mario 3D World - Pure Nintendo

PN Review: Super Mario 3D World
Justin 'J Money' Hinton

Review Overview

Sound Design
Fun Factor


One of the best looking Mario games on the Wii U and a ton of fun to play single player or with a group of friends. Quite easily makes the best use of the Wii U GamePad yet. Very few issues or flaws besides being a little easy on difficulty and Off TV Play isn't the best.

Super Mario 3D World is the newest entry in the long running Mario franchise and the first 3D Mario game to grace the Wii U.  Nintendo has stuffed 3D World full of features from past games and more to push the series to its limits.  In return, Super Mario 3D World feels like one of the most solid Mario games in recent history.  With many recognizable bits and pieces mixed with a ton of new surprises to discover, 3D World is a blast to play all around.

One of the first surprises players are sure to notice is that Princess Peach is not the damsel in distress this time around.  In fact, Princess Peach is getting in on the action along with Mario, Luigi, Toad, and a fifth unlockable character, Rosalina.  Sprixies, small fairy-like characters, are the ones in need of rescue in Super Mario 3D World.  Even though Nintendo has strayed from the Mario saves Peach formula that is commonplace in many Mario titles, 3D World benefits from the change.

Super Mario 3D World supports up to 4 players simultaneously.  What makes the multiplayer experience different this time around is rather than all of the characters playing exactly the same; each character has various abilities that other characters don’t have.  For instance, Luigi can jump higher than the other playable characters, Peach can float for a short period of time after a jump, and Toad can run faster.  So not only can players choose to play as an iconic character from the Mario franchise, but they also get a special ability specific to that character.


There are also a ton of items and power ups used throughout Super Mario 3D World.  Many of the items or power ups will be instantly recognizable by Mario fans, new and old.  There are way too many power ups and items in 3D World to be discussed here but it would be shocking if players couldn’t find a favorite amongst the entire mass of abilities in the game. The one power up that players will not be familiar with is the Super Bell.  The Super Bell transforms characters into their cat forms and allows them to climb up walls or other objects within the game and perform various cat-like attacks.  The cat versions of the characters take a little bit of time to get used to but, after some trial and error, the new Super Bell power up is a lot of fun and provides many opportunities to explore the levels throughout 3D World.

There are many new additions to not only the level design but to the over world design itself.  Players are now allowed to roam the over world map rather than be forced to follow a pathway which is a very pleasant surprise.  Exploring the over world map reveals many little surprises but there are also some very obvious add-ons.  Players will now run into the occasional ‘blockade’ featuring a specific type of enemy to progress further in 3D World.  They will also have the opportunity to play a new puzzle minigame featuring Toad, which are found in various locations throughout.  In several levels, other minigames can be found and typically end up yielding one of the three stars for that level.  In addition to the three stars for each level, there are stamps that can be collected.  These stamps are used to customize posts on Miiverse.  For those completionists out there, 3D world offers a listing of all levels within the worlds that they have visited and provides information on what collectable items, such as stamps and stars, are missing from each level.  This comes in handy if players want to revisit particular levels to pick up any missing items.


Small changes such as these are found all around Super Mario 3D World.  There are times while playing 3D World where various GamePad features are used in interesting ways that some may not have thought of initially, but then it seems to make perfect sense.  These are some of the most remarkable moments in Super Mario 3D World and makes the experience much more immersive than prior Mario games.  This type of game design is heaped on top of great visuals and sound design that the series is known for.

The HD visuals in Super Mario 3D World are phenomenal.  The cut scenes and even the gameplay are all very crisp and colorful.  The only issue encountered visually is in Off-TV Play, which occurs entirely on the GamePad screen.  It seems a little more difficult to master a character’s location in 3D space on the GamePad screen because it lacks the depth that the visuals have on a larger television screen.  Sound design in 3D World is also very well done and every musical track and sound effect elevate the game experience to a whole new level of quality.  There is only one small moment in 3D World when the music for the level cut out entirely but aside from that one isolated incident the sound design is impeccable.

Super Mario 3D World started off as a slow burn and an easy romp through a typical 3D Mario game but as progress was made into later levels, the effort put into this Mario installment really shows.  Players are bound to be impressed with all of the little details and small additions in Super Mario 3D World.  It is a little on the short side and the difficulty level really doesn’t pick up too much through the game but it is a spectacular game nonetheless.  It would be very impressive if Nintendo could top the variety and caliber that Super Mario 3D World provides in a future Mario game on the Wii U.

  • TrevG1

    Wow! I’m surprised, but thrilled, to hear the Wii Gamepad’s put to such good use. One more reason I’m looking forward to the game (as if I really needed another reason). If anyone was holding off buying a Wii U, games like this should push them to take the plunge!

    • Ningeek185

      Look, I understand that games like these are obviously super popular, but let’s face it. Nintendo is desperate to revive the Wii U, and they think that SM3DW, along with others, is going to do so. That’s only a FEW games. Not like a billion, like the Wii, N64, SNES, and more. Nintendo needs to up their game, or it’s going to be a tough holiday season.

      • SuperGanondorf

        Well, you can’t exactly release hundreds of good games overnight. They already have a solid handful of games- not huge numbers but not as extremely small as you’re implying- and there are some more great releases on the way. Wii U isn’t Nintendo’s greatest success in terms of amounts of games, but they’re rectifying that as fast as can be reasonably expected.

        • Ningeek185

          Believe what you want to, but I still think Nintendo is extremely desperate with the Wii U currently. More than a year later, we have a few goodies, such as Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, etc. But really, do we have Mario Kart? Super Smash Bros.? Mario Party? Mario Golf? Paper Mario? Zelda (besides the remake)? I know that this won’t happen with a snap of the fingers, but what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think the Wii U will survive long enough to provide us with those great games.

          • SuperGanondorf

            Mario Kart and Smash Bros are coming next year. Zelda is in production. Donkey Kong Country is coming early next year. And there’s probably some surprises in store. I’m not disagreeing that Nintendo isn’t in a very good spot right now, but consoles have come back from worse before. Also the way things are going now Nintendo has enough in the bank to last for quite some time even with bad sales. Once the heavy hitters start coming out next year (and they start actually advertising- no denying they’ve been AWFUL at that) I predict that the Wii U will start faring better. Not one of their more successful consoles, but looking at how the industry works the Wii U is far from dead.

          • Ningeek185

            Very well said. Nintendo should look at your comment for some actual advice, especially about that advertising part. : )

      • TrevG1

        I’m just happy to share in the excitement of a such a great release! It’ll sell systems during this shopping season. I’ll leave my concerns for another discussion, and just enjoy the moment.

  • Thomas Jones

    great review J-Money. I’ve heard the difficult is extremely harder later on and when trying to collect all the stage coins/stamps for full completion. Kinda like Mario Galaxy.

  • Scissorpaws

    I am so excited about playing this title. I have been watching it and reading about it for months.