I know I’m late to the party, but I had to throw in my two cents on Mario’s latest outing with the “3D” franchise. I had gotten 3D Land on my 3DS the day it was released, and was pleasantly surprised by the game. But, would 3D World expound on that very impressive start to a new Mario franchise, or would it fall short of my expectations?
Visuals (10/10) –
To make things short: this game is beautiful. Each world, character, and level was lovingly crafted and given a visual overhaul. It’s great to not only see Mario and company HD, but in such a way that really brings out the artwork of the series and captures the imagination. On top of stellar visuals (which, honestly, shows that the Wii U can, in fact, support amazing graphics), the GamePad screen also looks brilliant; obviously there is a loss in quality compared to the TV play, but it holds it’s own. Every level offers something fresh and new visually, from levels consisting of endless waterfalls and beautifully rendered water, to rain-battered castle tops in the dark, with glimmering lights showing your destination in the distance and rain pelting the TV screen. One of my favorite levels actually comes closer to the end; it’s a Bowser-centric level that you’ll know when you get there. I don’t want to ruin the surprise and gaming joy of that level. All in all, this is how a Wii U game should look.
Though not as impressive as the visuals, the audio and soundtrack hold their own. Audio is up to par, with “meows” from the group after finishing a level, or the random noises made while jumping. SM3DW really shines, however, in its soundtrack. Many songs are memorable, and fit within each level. This music adds to the atmosphere and general themes to the game in much the same way as the visuals do. I often found myself humming whatever song had played during the last level I finished before turning the game off. And speaking of turning the game off…
Gameplay (9.5/10) –
…I never wanted to shut it off. I would usually start playing at night, just when my wife would be falling asleep; hours later realizing I had just played for 3 or 4 hours, and that I needed to force myself to bed to get up for work the next day. The gameplay is top notch – tight controls, fresh level design, and impressive multiplayer round out the gameplay. I had incredible fun playing by myself, with the challenge consistently going up as I progressed through the game at just the right amount of difficulty added. When I played with others, the game became much harder simply due to the chaos of multiple players running around the screen, nabbing green stars, stamps, coins, and whatever else the game threw at us. The sheer chaos made the game one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in the past few years; the trash talking to my friends while stealing points to gain the crown at the end of the level (in a Mario game!), was fulfilling. In addition to amazing gameplay, what the game lacks with online multiplayer (a HUGE miss for a game like this), it makes up for with content and re-playability. You can easily put in a solid 11-13 hours if you are trying to get all the collectibles. My only problem with the gameplay (I had to really use a fine tooth comb to find something), would be that the camera angles within a few levels are a little wonky. But they are so few and far between that it won’t take away from your experience. This is a game for everyone, advanced or beginner – it is not just a “kiddie” game. Sadly, most people have the completely wrong view of Nintendo products, and this could easily be thrown into that category by those who don’t actually even play the game or give it a chance.
Entertainment Factor (9/10) –
This game is sheer fun. Whether you play by yourself, or with a group, the game is beautifully crafted and solidly made. Multiplayer shines through and reminds us that local multiplayer isn’t dead: it just needs to be done right. Though the game uses Miiverse well enough, the lack of online gameplay cannot be overlooked. I can only imagine the fun times to be had playing with random people online, trying to be top dog within each level. This is a sorely missed aspect to the game. The story is typical Mario lore – Bowser does a thing, which causes problems, so Mario has to do a thing to stop him. Nobody plays these games for story, but the story does a well enough job to move the game along.
Overall, this is a must have for any Wii U owner, and this game is worth getting a Wii U console for. If you aren’t completely entertained and impressed with this game, I would be shocked. It is that good. Go grab this game and enjoy the multiplayer mayhem that ensues!
Overall Score – 9.5/10