PLATFORM: SWITCH | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Originally released for the Wii U in 2013, Super Mario 3D World – AKA “the one where Mario turns into a cat” – now gets a second lease of life with this Switch reissue. It sticks with the traditional Mario formula of getting through each level, collecting hidden stars and reaching the flag pole at the end, and throws in a ton of crazy power-ups and abilities, exquisitely-designed platforming and inventive mechanics that each level is quite simply a delight to play through. Single players will find the experience to be relatively stress-free, but be prepared for rage-inducing friendship-shattering chaos if you decide to tackle the game in multiplayer, with multiple characters fighting over who gets to collect which items!
As an added bonus, this version of 3D World comes bundled with an all-new standalone adventure, Bowser's Fury. Here, Mario finds himself at Lake Lapcat, an open world littered with islands which are covered in a mysterious black goo. Sticking with 3D World's cat motif, Mario must explore the islands and find “cat shines” (the equivalent of, say, Super Mario Odyssey's moons or Mario 64's stars) to activate the islands' lighthouses and burn away the gloopy mass that covers the land. But it's not quite that simple. Now and again, Bowser goes on the attack, launching fireballs and other hazards in Mario's general direction. This can happen at the most inopportune times, which can lead to some very tense moments where you'll be trying to navigate a tricky platforming section while now also having to deal with Bowser's... well... fury. Luckily, Mario is able to ring a bell and transform into a gigantic version of himself, allowing him to fend off Bowser's attacks in grand kaiju-style boss battles which, assuming you win, will settle the grumpy old bugger down for a little while. It's a fairly short adventure – maybe 6-8 hours at most – but it's as finely-crafted and full of joy as you'd expect.
3D World is one of the more inventive Mario games of the modern era, and its power ups are as fun to use – and its controls are just as tight and responsive – as they ever were. It might not be the longest or most challenging game, but the final few worlds that unlock after the main game is over are enough to give even the most experienced platforming aficionado a run for their money. The open-world playground of Bowser's Fury adds a couple of twists to what made 2017's Mario Odyssey so successful, resulting in an extremely enjoyable addition to the overall package. If you've never played 3D World before, this is definitely the best way to do it, and Bowser's Fury just adds that little extra incentive for returning players to revisit an old favourite. Either way, more Mario is never a bad thing!