The first thing to do: You may have to reconfigure what you think of this next Mario game bundle on Switch. When it was first announced, it looked like the archetypal reissue – a brilliant port of an under-played Wii U game to attract those who first missed it, with an additional expansion to tempt those who did. made play 3D World. It’s not that, really.
Yes, Super Mario 3D World is a virtually unchanged game, but Bowser’s Fury is not an expansion – it’s a fundamentally separate game, picked from a title screen and started without ever having to touch 3D World. It’s built from the same foundation, yes, but in a very different form. With that in mind, it’s not so much a ‘glimpse’ but ‘glimpses’, in the plural – so let’s start with the more familiar of the two halves.
Super Mario 3D World
Like many re-releases of Wii U for Switch, Super Mario 3D World feels less like a triumphant encore and more like a needed reintroduction. After the failure of its last console, Nintendo knows how few people will have played this installment of its most famous franchise. As such, we seem to have a version built more to provide a smoother ramp for new players than to offer new ideas within the original formula.
For those who don’t know, 3D World is a classic, course-based Mario game, extruded from 2D to 3D and offering the flexibility to play with up to 4 people at a time. It is a riot of colors, of mechanical ideas and, especially with others, of sweet chaos, when characters, enemies, obstacles and physical objects collide. we adored in 2013, and time hasn’t diminished its charms – Nintendo’s mastery of artistic design means that even its visuals haven’t suffered too much in the years since.
For the Switch port, Nintendo explains that the movement is slightly faster and that the abilities of each of its four playable characters have been changed slightly, but the effects are barely noticeable without a direct comparison. Online multiplayer is a nice addition, and fits in nicely, with players simply choosing to create or join a room from the world map (although it’s necessary to point out that unfortunately only the host will do this. progress the game in a multiplayer session). And Captain Toad’s levels – which were invented for this game before becoming their own excellent spin-off – now host multiplayer matches, rather than forcing three people to watch the host have a little fun.
But, in my time with the game’s first four worlds, those are the only key changes – and with little new to focus on, it’s more interesting to realize what 3D World has done than other Mario games have. not.
After playing Super Mario Odyssey so much, it’s fascinating to relive how different a 3D World game is by comparison. 3D World is a more engineered experience, with its mostly one-way courses forcing players to take on increasing challenges, rather than the more free-spirited improvisation of Odyssey. Its fixed camera allows it to play more regularly with perspective, point of view, and good old secrets hidden right next to the screen, with only an unusually placed block to point the way.
Where Odyssey was a riff on Mario 64 freedom, 3D World is a modern take on the thoughtful design of the original Mario Bros. games, gently elevating you from nervous Goomba-stomper to a blur of jumps, pounds on the ground, and sprints on the course. of its constantly changing levels.
If you’ve never played 3D World before, this new version is a slightly better version of an already fantastic game – but even if you to have, the short time I spent with him suggests that a new game might be as punchy as the first time around, simply because we haven’t had anything like it since. And even if that doesn’t appeal to you, there’s always the brand new part of the package for you to try.
Nintendo only offered one piece of Bowser’s Fury for a preview – which, if I’m cynical, might indicate how small a game could be (even Nintendo publicly called it “ short, ” after all). But even with the fear that it might be over too soon, Bowser Fury already looks like a fascinating new experience from Team Mario, always inventive.
It’s apparently built in the same engine as 3D World and uses its version of Mario (including his abilities and bonuses), but the structure is very different, relying on several games for reference. Rather than individual courses, the standalone adventure location, Lake Lapkat, is built as one of the realms of Super Mario Odyssey. It’s a scenic location, although it must be said that Bowser Fury’s more “ open-world ” approach shows the limitations of the old engine – from a distance, areas become smeared and irregular (it s turns out that the extreme depth of field of 3D World was hiding some flaws). Lapkat is divided into separate sections, which can be explored from multiple angles, each offering 5 Cat Shines to collect – earned by completing platform challenges, defeating enemies, or uncovering secrets.
If “ Cat Shines ” sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a reference to the collectibles in GameCube’s Super Mario Sunshine – and it’s not Sunshine’s only point of contact. Along with his sparkling seaside aesthetic, you’ll also meet and work alongside Bowser Jr., who squeezes his magic Sunshine brush. Bowser Jr. can be controlled by a second player or work as an AI companion who unlocks secrets painted on walls, picks up items, and battles enemies (and comes with an options menu that lets you choose which measure it helps). Together, you’re tasked with cleaning up a Sunshine-esque black silt infestation from the shores and waters of Lapkat – although this time only with the power of the headlights – no FLUDD, I’m afraid. And why you’re doing it all reveals Bowser Fury’s strangest benchmark.
Periodically, Lapkat’s weather will change for the worse, signaling the appearance of Fury Bowser, a new version of Mario’s old foe stretched to kaiju proportions by the silt effect. It must either be avoided until it is gone, or forcibly diverted. He’s basically a version of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Blood Moon – and marks Bowser Fury’s freshest idea.
When Fury Bowser appears, some friendly NPCs get mean, new platforms fall from the sky, and your giant enemy will send attacks to you from multiple angles. However, these attacks can be beneficial; a new type of block can only be destroyed by Fury Bowser’s attacks, turning his appearance into a moment of risk and reward. Collecting a Cat Shine during an attack will cause it to roll back – and collecting enough Shines will unlock the Giga Bell, a giant Cat Mario power-up that lets you fight Fury Bowser.
My insight didn’t extend to the battle itself, so time will tell how many additional new ideas Lapkat holds under its waters, but my limited impressions have been very positive. It’s a much more singular game than I expected – I just didn’t expect to be so surprised at what promised to be just an addition to a much larger existing game.
Mario 3D World: Bowser Fury Screenshots
But then maybe it’s my own myopia. After all, Super Mario 3D World is a game based so much on that classic Mario ideal of germinating a new idea, letting it flourish, and then moving on to a new one in no time – it’s a game built on fun. constant new things. make. Bowser Fury feels like it could be an extension of that philosophy, a game-sized offshoot of 3D World, taking his old ideas in an entirely new direction. It’s the start, but it strangely feels like an even more natural move for Team Mario than an expansion of the game they’re attached to – it’s a new idea.