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The Wii U is a great system, but it hasn’t had many games released for it within the first year of launch. Nintendo Land and NSMB U were both great, but other than that, Nintendo has not released much for the Wii U until now. Sure, Wii U owners had to wait a year for Super Mario 3D World, but if this was not worth waiting for, I don’t know what is.
Super Mario 3D World is the sequel to Super Mario 3D Land, which was a very good game. As Super Mario 3D World is for the Wii U instead of the 3DS, there is not a lot of 3D in the game. Of course, as with any Mario game, Super Mario 3D World has many new innovations of its own, including what I feel is the greatest addition to any Mario game: other playable characters. Super Mario 3D World is the first game since Super Mario Bros. 2 to have characters that have different abilities. Mario is average all around, Luigi can jump high but is hard to control, Peach can float but is slow, and Toad is very fast but has a terrible jump. There is also an unlockable fifth character, who is a welcome addition and adds a fresh change to the game after you play through the first eight worlds. Each character is very fun to play as, and it is great to experiment and see which character suits you the best. You can play with up to three other friends, and you can each play as a different character. It is great to play with others, but it can be frustrating when you need to share a screen, because the screen may shift and get you killed as your friend advances in the stage. However, this is a minor problem, and can easily be fixed with good communication between players.
The stages themselves are very fun. They combine the linearity of 2D Mario games with the 3D exploration of Galaxy to form an entirely new game that looks and plays perfectly. There are many new stage mechanics that add diversity to the gameplay so that every stage is different. For example, the flipping platform from Galaxy are back, but now they flip every time you jump. There are also 3 new power ups, and they are all fun to use. The Double Cherry makes a clone of your character for each one you grab, allowing you to mow done armies of enemies in seconds. The Super Bell gives you a cat suit, which lets you use a variety of moves. You can scratch enemies, pounce on them, and dive at them with your claws. You can also climb up walls and cling to them to stay safe from enemies below. Finally, there is an ice skate power up that resembles Kuribo’s Shoe. This power up allows you to move quickly along ice and land, but is lost if you crash into a wall. All of these power ups and stage hazards are fun, but they show one of the only flaws in Mario games, which is that there are so many fun mechanics that none of them are used enough. The ice skate and Double Cherry are both only used in three stages. It’s disappointing that these power ups were never used more, because I would have loved to experiment with them in different situations.
The graphics are absolutely stunning. I have never seen such beautiful graphics on the Wii U before. The grass looks incredibly soft, and the water flows and splashes just like it should. When it rains in a level, the rain flows down the screen as if it was a windshield, and the characters are all visibly wet. The environments are so wonderfully made that sometimes I couldn’t help but stop playing at stare at landscape in front of my character. The music also added a lot to the experience. As I have come to expect from a Nintendo game, Super Mario 3D World’s music is catchy and never detracts from the experience. Even as I restarted the final level for what was over the 100th time, I couldn’t help but smile as I hummed along to the fully orchestrated music. I hope that someday Nintendo will a concert tour for the Mario games similar to the Symphony of the Goddesses.
Even after you finish the story, you still are not done with the game. You have four more worlds to play through, 380 Green Stars to find, many Stamps to find, every Flagpole top to reach, and you need to replay every level with all five characters. Here is a tip if you don’t mind cheating: when you reach the end of a level, register three other Wii Remotes or Pro Controllers. Jump onto the flagpole with all four characters, and you will never have to replay that level again; the game will count it as completing the level with four characters, even if you only replayed it once. The bonus worlds are an absolute delight to play through. The first bonus world has some seriously hard levels to play through with new mechanics that are guaranteed to break a few controllers. The second and third bonus worlds remix previous levels into incredibly hard death traps that will force you to experiment with different strategies than the ones you used for the original levels. There is also a special new power up for you to use. Although you can only obtain in in a select few levels, you will certainly want to save it for later; it’s very useful in many situations. I’m not going to say what awaits you in the fourth and final bonus world, but just know that it is absolutely incredible, and it is worth the effort it takes to unlock it.
Super Mario 3D World is worth getting a Wii U for. Even if no other game for the Wii U interests you, Super Mario 3D World will last you a very long time with its extensive amount of content, and should be played by anyone that enjoys Mario games or Nintendo games in general. Super Mario 3D World is one of the greatest games released in 2013, and even though it was overshadowed by the simultaneous release of two other consoles, Nintendo had its own big release during the holiday season that should certainly not be ignored.
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