(Available for Nintendo Switch only)
As part of the Mario 35th Anniversary Nintendo announced that they wold be bringing the Wii U game Super Mario 3D World to the Switch making it one of the last major titles from the Wii U to receive a Switch Port. Though to justify the game being full priced the game would also receive a new mode called Bowsers Fury which would be more open world experience with a day and night cycle and fight with new enemy Fury Bowser. The question then becomes is Bowsers Fury enough for people who owned 3D World on the Wii U to double dip and buy the Switch version. However I also have to acknowledge that considerably more people have bought a Switch compared to how many people bought a Wii U so for many people it’ll be their first experience with the game. 3D world maintains it’s gameplay of being a more linear Mario game of going from 1 end of the level to the other and can be played with up to 4 players. Your choice of character are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad and eventually you can eventually unlock Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy (not a spoiler she was in the trailer for the switch version) and each character has slightly different strengths and weakness making you think about different ways on how to approach a level
- Improved Gameplay in 3D World: the game has seen some real improvement from the Wii U. small changes like a quicker move speed and the cat suit allowing you to stay on wall longer (thanks to my colleague Reece for pointing that one out to me) have really made tackling some of the harder levels way more manageable and have really made some of the faults of the Wii U game like making mistakes during precise platforming way less frequent. It also is going to make the game way more interesting for speed runners.
- Offline multiplayer: Mario 3D world’s best quality was it’s co-op multiplayer and that’s no different here it is most certainly the strongest quality of the game. The levels are designed around the up to 4 player multiplayer and it can work out well provided you’re all good at communicating with one another and picking which of the 5 characters suits you best. In fact the multiplayer is so good it kind of makes the single player experience feel much more lonely and challenging. Bowser’s fury does have co-op for 2 players but it’s not quite as good since player 2 takes control of Bowser JR and his move set isn’t as fun or as helpful since Bowser’s Fury was aimed more at being a single player experience but I’m glad it’s at least there
- Bowers Fury Gameplay: Bowser’s Fury is a small bonus game which puts a 3D Mario platformer in an open world environment. The game puts you on travelling between several islands in a large lake with a large Fury Bowser appearing at night to battle against you to make platforming challenges your involved in harder. You’ll be collecting Cat Shines to power up a super bell to make Mario giant cat Mario to fight Fury Bowser. Honestly the experience is really interesting and it really feels like the most freedom we’ve had since Mario Odessey in a Mario game with tons of challenges and some interesting exploration. Fury Bowser isn’t too difficult to deal with but does provide some adversity at times that are inconvenient but it’s not until later portions of the game when he stays out longer and therefore gets tougher. The map isn’t massive but there are a few secrets to find with 100 Cat Shines in total to collect with a lot of different platforming challenges and few that require Fury Bowser to be active. If this is the testing grounds for a future open world 3D Mario I’m on board for it
- Controls: all the character control really well and with the gameplay improvements it does feel like controls has been something that’s improved from the Wii U version with some slight hiccups which I’ll go into more detail later about. they also surprisingly transfer well to Bowser’s Fury which I was not expecting given the change in perspective but it surprisingly tranfers well,
- Amiibo support: if you’re a massive Amiibo collector like me you won’t get the most out of your entire collection but there’s some good uses for the Amiibo in both games. The new Cat Mario and Cat Peach Amiibo give you some bonuses which can help tackle harder levels but the best use is using any Bowser Amiibo in Bowser’s fury which summons Fury Bowser automatically so you don’t have to wait around for him which I exploited a lot. You have to have your character static to use and amiibo so there’s a risk to it but it’s worth it and is some of the best use of Amiibo in recent memory.
- Online multiplayer: when testing out the game I did a few Online Multiplayer games with my colleagues Reece and Ellliot and our experience was mixed. The game ran fine unless one of us ran into a connection issue which really caused the game to lag and made playing impossible. Once again Nintendo has launched a game with not great online functionality though this will likely improve through updates. When it worked it was great though I would say make sure you have some way to talk to your mates when playing given how much communication is necessary
- Gyro controls: to get around the issue of the lack of a Wii U gamepad, for the segments of the game that require the gamepad the game lets you use the touchscreen in handheld mode and gyro controls when docked to a tv. The touchscreen controls function fine and replicate the gamepad but in 3D World they really feel cumbersome and don’t function as naturally as the gamepad though are not total disasters. In Bowsers fury however they function a lot better since they’re more of a bonus than a main function.
- Bowsers Fury game length and world design: the length of Bowsers Fury will not occupy too much of your time since it comes in at 3 hours for the bare minimum and only 6 hours for competionists. Now that’s fine because it’s a bonus but I’d be lying if I said it felt like a bit too short of an experience. As for the world design my issue is mainly that there needs to be bit more variety in the locations though I accept that once again this is a smaller environment because it’s more of a test run than a full game though if they are going to do this in the future the developers need a bigger world with more varied environments.
- Bowers Fury performance in handheld mode: now both 3D world and Bowers Fury run a 60 Frames a second and run pretty well in docked mode and when playing handheld 3D World still maintains a 60 FPS speed. However Bowsers Fury only manages 30 Frames a Second in Handheld Mode which in itself isn’t too bad if noticeable but what is both bad and noticeable is some performance issues when in handheld mode which did sour the experience
- Touchscreen controls really suck for multiplayer: in the original game the touchscreen controls were only available to the player with the gamepad but now they’re available to all players which especially if you have bad communication can lead to disasters and messes with the level design. I think the game could’ve been improved by restricting the touch and gyro controls to 1 player.
- Miiverse functionality not being here makes parts of the game feel weird: I know Miiverse was not a great feature of the Wii U but 3D world was one of the better games to manage it and a lot of the menus and functions that use it feel empty without it. I would’ve appreciated some return to other players using the stamps to drop hints to other players like the Wii U game since the collectable now has no use outside of the new photo mode, though collecting them all is still required to reach the final bonus world.
The Mario 3D world + Bowsers Fury is a really nice package for both newcomers and return players. Scott the Woz said in his video that in his opinion what held 3D World back was the fact that it was the only 3D Mario game on the Wii U and felt more like a supplementary title to ease people into a more traditional 3D Mario and I would agree with that opinion which is why I think the game works better on the Switch given that it now stands alongside not only Odyssey but also Super Mario 3D All Stars (provided you bought it before March 31st) which means it become the more fun party Mario platformer to play with your friends and if the online multiplayer is improved I think it can serve that purpose well during lockdown and it’s offline multiplayer will be even better post lockdown. The improvements to the gameplay also make it a much smoother experience to play each level and I really found myself having more fun revisiting it than I expected. As for Bowsers Fury while it has a few technical issues and I’m not the first reviewer to say the cat shines could have a bit more variety in how they are obtained, if this is Nintendo’s test run for a full open world 3D Mario Game they absolutely should go for it since it was good fun exploring the various islands and to obtain the cat shines and the gameplay has real room for expansion.
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