Super Mario 3D World Preview
By Max Roberts
Cat Mario is real and Cat Mario is fun. This power-up is just one of the new features that makes Super Mario 3D World a unique, charming, and colorful game. At the Nintendo Experience I had the fortunate opportunity to play 3D World twice. The demo had four different levels and one boss battle. I played the World 4-2 and World 6-3 portions of the demo. The game supports up to 4 player simultaneous multiplayer, a first for 3D Mario games. Both times I played with four people. After selecting a level we were taken to a player select screen. The characters were Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach. Both times I played as Luigi, since he is my preferred character in these types of Mario games. From there, we immediately jumped into the level.
World 4-2 was set in the clouds and connected sections of the stage through the use of pipes. These pipes featured different routes that anyone could take with a quick tilt of the analog stick. Sometimes the pipes would have spiked bombs inside that could be blown up with either projectiles or our character. The pipe system was fun, added some chaos later on, and occasionally had to be used to solve a puzzle to advance in the stage. This particular level did not involve the use of the new cat themed power up, but instead the classic Fire Flower. The enemies throughout the level were Piranha Plants and Black Fuzzies. We even found a secret cloud area, that lead to a competitive mini game of sorts. A line of clouds was set up with gaps in between them. Each cloud had rows of Piranha Plants and a speed boost like pad. Between the four of us, it quickly turned into “who could be the fastest” and left a few of us in the dust, waiting till that portion ended. At the end of the cloud section there was a green star to collect, just like in Super Mario Galaxy. It seemed that there were three green stars to collect in each level.
World 6-3 was a much different experience than World 4-2. Rather than being in the clouds, this level was grounded, but we were climbing. This is were the Cat Suit power up came into play. Right off the bat, four Cat Bells were discovered and all of us turned into our cat counter parts. Our characters seemed to move faster, since they were running on all fours. Hitting the attack button sent your character into a roll attack with claws out. Rolling allowed us to keep our momentum, which was extremely helpful when trying to climb. If one of us missed a jump it was easy to quickly latch onto the wall and run up to join the others. You cannot run up the wall forever, but for a good while before you start to slow down. It was fun to create our own paths and find hidden green stars by using the Cat Suit.
Graphically, Super Mario 3D World is crisp and colorful. Colors stand out, defining new terrain and paths. It is easy to see who is who since each character is a distinct color. Elements like grass or rock looked great. The grass would come out from under your paws as your ran across it. Backgrounds seemed a bit lacking, but most of your attention is spent in the foreground, trying to navigate to your next goal. There were no jagged or unpleasant looking edges or textures. Everything looked and ran smoothly. The Wii U can clearly handle all the action going on and it looks stellar.
The multiplayer aspect, a first for a 3D Mario game, seems to fit right in to the universe. If you have ever played New Super Mario Bros Wii or Wii U then you know what to expect. Communication is essential, unless you’re out to beat you team members. Bringing the multiplayer into a 3D world though frees up some off the chaos though, since there are more areas to explore and room to breathe.
The jumping mechanics are similar to those of Super Mario 3D Land; they are good, but sometimes not as spot on as other Mario games. There were a few times I thought I would have easily made the jump as Luigi, but was just a tad short. The GamePad mirrors the television screen exactly, with a few special abilities. Just like in the DS Mario entries, the player can hold an extra item. Using the GamePad, players can hold that item then tap the icon whenever they need a boost. Another GamePad feature is an ability to see hidden blocks that aren’t on the television screen. Once or twice I noticed a special block and tapped it to reveal it to my teammates. You can see a lot of potential for hidden paths or green stars through this method.
Super Mario 3D World may not have been what most people were expecting for the next 3D Mario game, but don’t let that discourage you from trying it out. The game is genuinely fun and unique. It is a great looking game and really provides that Nintendo Experience. The multiplayer is a blast and certainly adds new depth to a 3D Mario game. And yes, Cat Mario is super fun.