Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury – Review

Site Score
9.1
Good: Good old classic Mario, Bowser's Fury is more than a tiny expansion
Bad: Camera controls are very wonky
User Score
8.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)

‘Yet another Wii U remake/port to be released on the Switch, rather than Nintendo making a completely new title’, is probably what many were thinking when they saw the initial announcement of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. We cannot disagree with that initial sentiment, as well as agree with you that this is indeed, for the most part, a port of the 2013 game. Nonetheless, in mere minutes we found ourselves playing a superior version of a Mario game that was already considered one of the best in the series. Not only did we enjoy proper online capabilities and some minor enhancements, we also had a blast with the Mario Galaxy-like side-adventure, Bowser’s Fury.

Story

Super Mario 3D World follows the typical kidnapped princess formula, as you discover a broken glass pipe, which, upon fixing, lets through a Sprixie. This fairy-like person tells you that the rest of her kin have been kidnapped by Bowser, and you soon find yourself in the Sprixie Kingdom saving them from Bowser’s claws.

Bowser’s Fury has its story in its name. Bowser is consumed by an oil-like substance, much like the one in Mario Sunshine, and now wants to destroy everything that moves, even his own family. Bowser Jr. asks you for help to return his father to normal.

As always, the stories in the Mario games are often not more than just a bit of a frame to justify murdering loads of woodland creatures that often stick to fixed paths. Even so, the expansion is actually quite nicely handled in terms of story. You have more than the typical kidnapped princess (or Prixie) story and actually work together with Bowser Jr. We enjoyed the original approach.

Graphics

Mario games can get away with more than realistic-looking games. Nonetheless, this Wii U port looks quite spiffy and appealing from start to finish, thanks to its very colorful visuals, its smooth and well-rounded designs and the overall typical themes a Mario game has to have to be considered a classic. The Super Mario 3D World portion of the game does not bring that much new to the table, and just looks like its Wii U counterpart, albeit with some ironed-out crinkles. Bowser’s Fury, however, is more like its 2007 and 2010 brothers from the Super Mario Galaxy series, albeit with enhanced visuals. This portion of the game puts you closer in the action, feels a bit smoother than 3D World and has a few bigger character designs thrown into the mix. While both being quite different in nature, they made a pleasant whole.

Both in docked as well as handheld mode, the game runs very smoothly. This is not surprising, as the Wii U pretty much had the same functions as the Switch, albeit with a very short range when using its respective tablet.

Sound

Mario games are always a delight in terms of music. Many recognizable sound effects already put you in the mood to get that final ‘ding’, which is then ultimately followed by a level-up sound. Nonetheless, in this iteration of Super Mario, the music is once again catchy and delightful, instantly becoming an earworm the moment you turn your Switch off.

Gameplay

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is mainly the Wii U game that has been improved to suit our modern standards. The bulk of this package consists of Super Mario 3D World, with Bowser’s Fury being a nice extra and perhaps an incentive to buy the entire package if you already own the original Wii U title. Both games in the package are traditional platformers, with SM3DW being somewhat closer to a spruced-up 2.5D game, and Bowser’s Fury being a complete 3D experience.

3D World throws you in the classic Mario experience with short levels, collectibles, different power-ups and just reaching that end flagpole within a certain time limit. When trying to explore each level to the fullest during your first attempt, you will find yourself pressed for time, sometimes not even making the finish. This also adds a bit of charm to the overall experience of this fully fleshed-out Wii U title. You’ll also have special stages to play through, such as Treasure Tracker Toad levels, and other cool gimmicky adventurous events. You’ll have to collect green stars to actually make progress, but you’ll find more than enough to keep unlocking levels, as long as you don’t just sprint from start to finish in each level.

While already fun when playing alone, Super Mario 3D World is best enjoyed with friends. Even if you cannot always explore the levels to the fullest, it’s just nice competing (and annoying each other) throughout the entire experience. The multiplayer mode feels nice, and being able to take a second player with you online, when playing with other friends, is a definite plus. You’ll also have an extra ace in the hold (or three extra ones), in case you should meet your untimely demise by one of Bowser’s adorable minions. The only remark is the dodgy camera views, which is also a very big issue when playing Bowser’s Fury in its two-player mode, which we’ll talk about below.

Bowser’s Fury is a proper 3D experience in a small(ish) open-world setting. Going from the small hub to the actual levels will be done seamlessly by just walking through a gate. You can enter and leave said levels at any given time. You have to collect Cat Shines (tokens) to light the lighthouses around the map to suppress the now extremely evil Bowser. Bowser Jr. will aid you in this quest, as he wishes to have his father back the way he was. Bowser Jr. is either controlled by the AI and can be set to hardly being any help, all the way to helping the player heavily. In two-player mode, the camera will always be fixed to the first player, making it easy for player two to go out of bounds and the field of vision a lot. Nonetheless, some proper camera angling can help to collect items very easily, as Bowser Jr. can just fly around as he sees fit. We have to say that the camera controls get particularly awful when doing the boss battles with Bowser. Even though the overall map is quite small, completionists can still spend a few hours playing this ‘expansion’ to collect all Cat Shines.

Conclusion

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a stellar Mario experience and more than just a simple Wii U port. Even though both parts of this bundle are very different in nature and gameplay, they still blend together very nicely, giving you proper value for your money. We truly hope that both the spruced-up Super Mario 3D World will get a proper sequel in the future and that we can also see some more of Bowser’s Fury in a standalone game.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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