Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) Preview

By Jorge Ba-oh 29.06.2013 8

Review for Super Mario 3D World on Wii U

Nintendo have had a tricky time driving a big audience to play 3D Super Mario Bros. platformers since the critically acclaimed Super Mario 64 over 15 years ago. Both Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Sunshine found their respective audiences, but these recent 3D Mario platformers have been eclipsed by the sheer commercial prowess that is the New Super Mario Bros. franchise.

Wii U has already had its share of the much loved 2D side-scroller but fans have cried out for a brand new 3D platformer, a spiritual successor to the Galaxy line of games, perhaps. During E3 2013 Nintendo announced a brand new member, Super Mario 3D World to a rather marmite reception. So does the new game live up to the Mario legacy?

Jorge Ba-oh, Editor/Founder

The main issue many players have with Super Mario 3D World is the look, the slightly generic and very Mario artstyle that's resonated through the screenshots and videos released so far. It's very much a block driven, classic affair from the offset, bright, effortlessly vibrant and charming. The shift from more abstract, outer-space worlds back to this traditional Mario design may put off fans at first glance; but it works and still looks visually crisp and smooth in motion.

This time round Mario is joined by up to three additional players, plus an extra on the GamePad, for co-operative multiplatformer - the first in a 3D Mario title - with each having their own very distinct ability. Having tried all four, including the porky plumber himself, Princess Peach was arguably the favourite amongst fellow press members, as she's able to hover slightly. Luigi can go further with his flutter/long jump and slippery toes, whilst the adorable Toad has a slightly different pace compared to the others. Handling the characters was a surprise on the Wii Remote's D-Pad. The game has been confirmed to support Wii U Pro controllers, but for the purpose of the demo Nintendo opted for Wii Remotes instead, and using the D-Pad isn't as cumbersome as first thought - it's fiddly, but works.

Screenshot for Super Mario 3D World on Wii U

The level designs perhaps don't favour any of the characters in any clear-cut way, i.e. shortcuts or character specific routes like the Sonic the Hedgehog series, but do give advantages in certain situations. Peach and Luigi feel more suited to the boss battle sequences, gaining more height to pounce on the weakspot, whilst Toad can get across those nipper platforming sections far quicker than Mario.

Another issue raised by critics though is the very much linear approach, falling more in line with the New Super Mario Bros. and classic 2D Mario games instead of the open world approach in Super Mario 64. Though, yes, the levels shown so far have a defined A to B formula, there is a fair bit of variety throughout these levels to give something new throughout the different worlds. The first played, a level within the opening world, is a standard Mushroom Kingdom setup that introduces the Cat Mario power-up, followed on by a first glimpse at the new transparent pipes mechanics. The later portions dealt with a tricky boss sequence and a castle-esque environment littered with vicious Bullet Bills. The new Cat Mario power-up is an adorable addition, allowing players to cling to walls, climbing up certain areas in the landscape to access shortcuts and hidden routes. It's perhaps one of the most refreshing and game-changing power-ups we've seen in recent Mario instalments, alongside the Bee and Rock Mario abilities.

Screenshot for Super Mario 3D World on Wii U

Theme and characters aside, the only frustration to the design was the issue of special awareness, occasionally proving difficult to judge based on the side on and fixed camera angle. Mario can move into and out of the 3D space, which can prove tricky in certain situations, a design that keeps the upcoming game more in line with the New Super Mario Bros. games. There also aren't objective based star collecting like past 3D Mario titles either, something that could disappoint fans of the older games, instead there are hidden green stars scattered throughout the levels to collect - much like Star Coins in New Super Mario Bros.

Screenshot for Super Mario 3D World on Wii U

Susan Gray, Feature Writer

With its well acclaimed formula, Nintendo are certainly pulling out all the stops with this new venture. With a plethora of features, characters and upgrades, it seems almost too good to be true at first glance. The videos shown at the Nintendo Direct did throw up quite a few cynical questions: how would the D-Pad of the Wii-Remote fit with the sprawling 3D lands? Were the characters just avatars with no special features that set them apart?

And of course, is the cat just a feeble ploy for their fan base?

Having played Super Mario 3D World, I am very pleased to announce that these questions were answered positively. The controls take a little getting used to (and will be compatible with the GamePad) and of course the spatial judging will have an adjustment window a little bigger than the typical side-scroller, but it's such a vibrant colourful environment that it won't be too much of a chore.

The characters all have their plus and minus sides - each handles rather differently - and thankfully, we now have Peach instead of bundling in two extra Toads. Talking of character enhancements, check out that bell! The cat feature is handled amazingly well; the clawing and climbing allows more strategy and more ways of thinking.

The multiplayer has been thought out well too, and the competitive nature of the end scoring adds a little extra dimension to the whole experience. Super Mario 3D World is definitely on our radar this year.


Screenshot for Super Mario 3D World on Wii U

Final Thoughts

Super Mario 3D World is a brave new attempt at introducing what's so appealing about 2D co-operative Mario into the 3D space. There may well be those who aren't impressed by the setup, but having played with other players it has plenty of promise, especially given the individual character abilities and neat HD visuals - certainly one to look out for this fall.






3D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


During E3 2013 Nintendo announced a brand new member, Super Mario 3D World to a rather marmite reception.

Could someone translate that for American audiences? Positive? Mixed? (I'm assuming not negative since a lot of people are excited for it.

Sonic_13 said:
During E3 2013 Nintendo announced a brand new member, Super Mario 3D World to a rather marmite reception.

Could someone translate that for American audiences? Positive? Mixed? (I'm assuming not negative since a lot of people are excited for it.

Mixed really - people have said and I've read a lot of so-so feedback, people were expecting something more in line with Galaxy 3 etc. However really plays great in the flesh, and a great candidate for pwoper multiplayer fun!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
kentray (guest) 29.06.2013#3

This is a great looking game but it should be online so each character can have their own view of the field, iwata needs to make this happen because not everybody is sitting in front of a tv with their friends and family and I know hes trying to appeal to families but why limit other ppl from playing the game together?

g-had (guest) 30.06.2013#4

marmite means you either love ir or hate it.

Online would have been great actually, wonder if they'd consider it at all?

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I am all for more multiplayer mario - my problem is this doesn't look very inventive in terms of gimicks or level themes. Its all samey still. Like all the "new" stuff.

I do very much approve of each character being handled differently though. 

g-had (guest) said:
marmite means you either love ir or hate it.

Always was genius marketing slogan that - as I am pretty sure 95% of people hate it. <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
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Ryo (guest) 01.07.2013#7

Honestly the ones who might hate it are the vocal fans which are a small percentage

This just makes me want a Wii U even more! I need money fast before this comes out. Or all the other games that come out that i want very badly.

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