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Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World

Nintendo Wii U
Genre: Action
Developer: Nintendo Official Site:
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date:
30th November 2013
Super Mario 3D World Review
Review By @ 12:20pm 03/12/13
The defining characteristic of the Mario games has, in recent times, become their willingness to bring exciting new ideas into a level, push them, and then immediately abandon them in favour of something new. The best recent Mario games have been the ones in which every level seems to be auditioning for the chance to be turned into a separate game of its own. The Galaxy games nailed this – they were inventive, challenging, exciting and vast, worthy of their grand names. They were Mario at his peak, and consequently some of the best games ever made.

3D World’s ambitions veer off in a different direction. This is very much a sequel to the similarly named 2011 3DS game, only longer and in glorious high definition. In each self-contained level you want to find the three hidden stars and reach the flagpole, just like the old NES games. Mario has been trading on nostalgia for a long time now, and for many players hitting that flagpole at the level’s end is still going to be an enormous thrill. At the same time, hitting the top of the flagpole and seeing the attached point boom is emblematic of some of the game’s staler elements.

Even though 3D World taps into the same manic energy and inventiveness I mentioned earlier, it feels less new than most of the plumber’s outings. There are some very cool new elements – the much-vaunted cat suit that lets you climb up walls is a solid addition, and every now and then a level will offer up an idea or a set-piece so cool that you can’t help but smile. The game has been designed with four players in mind, and while it’s still probably best played alone, the chaos of having multiple players at once actually works here. It helps too that the various characters actually play differently – Luigi and Peach, in particular, are floaty and fun.

The levels themselves are generally excellent. While the game takes a while to truly ramp up, there are gems throughout the entire experience (there’s a Mario Kart themed level in World 3 that blew my mind). Quite a few levels will feel a bit familiar if you’re a series veteran though, and there’s a sense that they were designed with the 3DS in mind too – it’s surprisingly hard in some instances to gain a proper perspective on your place within the world, which led to quite a few aggravating falls off of levels. Many levels end before you feel like you’ve properly come to grips with what they’re trying to achieve, and as much as we all enjoy the classics it would be nice to see Nintendo playing with these familiar lava/ice/water/sand dynamics a bit more than they are now.

While the levels are packed with hidden content, a lot of it feels superfluous – I’m starting to wonder why, exactly, I need to keep collecting 100 coins for extra lives. Why do these games still have lives? What purpose are they actually serving? Worse still: in a game with such a heavy focus on exploration, why on earth do the levels still have timers? It makes sense when a level explicitly demands a speed-run, but there’s a general sense that you’re not allowed to be too methodical. Hunting through levels often requires certain power suits, but since getting hit means losing whatever powers you have, level-design occasionally feels a bit stymied – there’s a sense that levels where certain powers were maintained throughout would have led to more consistent design.

If Super Mario 3D World proves one thing that I’ve long suspected, it’s that it’s more or less impossible to make a bad game with the core Mario fundamentals in place. The only genuinely lousy bits of this game are the boss fights, which often feel sluggish and pointless, too focused on the nostalgia of bringing back old enemies and not committed to actually proving enjoyable combat experiences for the player. But even with its missteps, Super Mario 3D World is still an extremely good game, in the same way that almost every Mario platformer is extremely good.

It's in the sentiment above that it's easy to understand that Super Mario 3D World's biggest hurdle is franchise heritage. The game is at odds with itself for not being as inventive as it should be, but being so good because of all invention that's come before it. Mario, in this sense, is his own worst enemy.
What we liked
  • Mario looks fantastic in HD
  • The multiplayer actually works
  • Getting to play as Luigi in this, the Year of Luigi
  • Some fantastic pieces of level design
What we didn't like
  • It’s no Super Mario Galaxy 3
  • Levels often end before they’ve gotten going
  • Boring boss fights
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 01:50pm 03/12/13
I think you need to find a reviewer who actually likes Mario games. This seems a pretty common trend with Ausgamers, finding huge fault and not exactly enjoying the game like almost every other media outlet does.
Posted 01:57pm 03/12/13
I'm enjoying it Raven :) Great addition to the 3D Mario's, playing it with my girlfriend and finding it hilariously awesome, beautiful and difficult at times which is great. Definitely a must for any Wii U owner.
Posted 02:05pm 03/12/13
Picked it up a couple hours ago. Looking forward to giving it a whirl but might not be until the weekend.
Posted 02:23pm 03/12/13
This deserved higher than an 8.0 IMO. I played it with a friend on the weekend for about an hour and it was amazing. We were ultra competitive running around to collect all the coins and to see who would get the highest score because I wanted the freakin' crown damnit!

Then I played another game with my partner and it was totally different, we took our time to get all the stars and it was more cooperative then competitive. Both were really different ways to play what was essentially the same game.

It's not perfect, but for this style of game I think it's better than an 8.0. Multiplayer works soo much better than in the New Super Mario Bros games which were just a bit too frustrating.
Posted 02:26pm 03/12/13
Why do these games still have lives?

I want to poke you in the eye, sir!
Posted 02:37pm 03/12/13
I don't think they could have taken Galaxy any further to be honest and I don't understand why one of the negatives is "It's not Galaxy 3". Different strokes, different folks I guess.

Big mention to the Miiverse implementation. It's brilliant. Stamps are going to give this game a lot of replayability. Also loving the toad mini-games with the 5 stars. One of the few sequels that out does the first game in EVERY way. I'm hoping the "extra worlds" are like 3D Land. I rage quit on those levels a few times haha.
Posted 03:00pm 03/12/13
I'm hoping the "extra worlds" are like 3D Land.

There are, and they're amazing. Simultaneously incredibly fun and difficult.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 03:15pm 03/12/13
For the record guys, Jickle was an avid reader/collector of Nintendo Gamer when I was editor of that, and he's a huge Super Mario fan. I agree with most of what he's said here though -- this is a res'd up expanded version of a handheld outing that is fun because it's Mario, but it's not doing anything new and just because it's Mario doesn't mean it should get a free pass to a high score.
Posted 05:14pm 03/12/13
I think you need to find a reviewer who actually likes Mario games. This seems a pretty common trend with Ausgamers, finding huge fault and not exactly enjoying the game like almost every other media outlet does.

when you give a game an 8 and you still get comments like this it's probably time to realise your scoring system is retarded.
Posted 06:42pm 03/12/13
when you give a game an 8 and you still get comments like this it's probably time to realise your scoring system is retarded.

I have to agree, it feels like score compression - where the used rating range is 7 to 10 instead of 0 to 10 - is in full effect for AusGamers reviews recently
Posted 07:01pm 03/12/13
It got an 8 because it's a really good game! I just think that these flaws are worth noting and discussing, because they hold it back from being the masterpiece it seems on the verge of becoming at times. Like I said, even slightly disappointing Mario is still better than the majority of games out there.
Posted 07:45pm 03/12/13
It got an 8 because it's a really good game!

yes but on this website a 7.9 means you can play it all the way through without some glaring issues that could be sorted out in alpha and 9.9 is call of duty
Posted 08:26pm 03/12/13
Then what does a 2.5 represent? :P
Posted 09:15pm 03/12/13
God, why do people think 8 is a bad review? It's a good damn score.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 10:08pm 03/12/13
Also, Call of Duty: Ghosts got less than 7 on this site.

The point here is, you guys love the game enough to not be happy with our score, if you hated the game and it scored the same, we'd be in the same boat. Review scores are for those seeking them, but if you already have the game and don't need the score, it shouldn't be a personal issue. An 8, to me, is a game I should definitely play. I just scored Dead Rising 3 7.9 but couldn't stop talking about how great it is, because 7.9 is still playable. This isn't the IGN review score realm of 8-10. (And yes, I know you're all going to go through our reviews and cherrypick the games you think are too high or too low, but that will just solidify my point.)
Posted 10:10pm 03/12/13
Posted 10:48pm 03/12/13


*Wipes away tears*

Some people absolutely love a game, while others hate it. A review is from one persons view point. I like to read reviews to see pros and cons and try to ignore the score.

A lot of movies I've thoroughly enjoyed have been blasted by critics as bad. The same thing will happen with games. Use reviews as a guide, not as a "THIS GAME IS BAD FOR ME, SO IS BAD FOR EVERYONE" Type thing.

Posted 01:25am 04/12/13
Did you do reviews for Nintendo Power Steve?

When is the first time you remember people complaining about review scores?

Loving me some Mario 3D world, feels like the game NSMB WiiU shouldve been.

Good review too, nice to hear a different perspective.
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