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Parent Trap: Super Mario 3D World Is Another Family Classic From Nintendo

Posted by Andy Robertson

Family Gamer's Andy Robertson is feline groovy

It’s been a while since I first stepped into the world of 3D with Mario. Super Mario 64 seems like an age ago, and my whole family of five has been created in the meantime. However, like any worthwhile creation, a multiplayer version of this three dimensional play-space was important to get right.

With more recent memories of Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land on 3DS sparking in my head I sat my family down to try out the new four-player Wii U game for the first time. As anyone who has played video games with a range of siblings knows this is not without its tensions, and before long my oldest was frustrated at being held back while my youngest kept complaining of getting left behind.

This is the real test for a family game — can it really accommodate these different abilities and ages? Although at first it seemed that Super Mario 3D World may be too frustrating for my children to play together, as time went by the complaining and squabbling subsided. They realised that working as a team was not only more effective, but also more fun.

This is not happy coincidence but part of the clever way the game handles its multiplayer feature. First of all, it allows slower players to catch up by placing them in a bubble and floating them to the front – something my son really appreciated as this really takes the pressure off. Then there is the shared life system where players all draw on the same pool of lives – a great incentive for the party to look after novice members. Finally there is the collaborative physics of carrying, jumping on and bumping each other to hard-to-reach places.

Add all this up and there is a steady trend towards collaboration rather than competition in the game — at least until you get to the flagpole and race to the top.

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The children enjoyed seeing the return of the Tanooki and Boomerang suits, but king of the upgrades this time is the cat suit, or "cat transformation" to give it the proper name. Our own family feline was called upon more than once for tips on "being a cat” as my youngest put it – although without a huge amount of response.

Again, this seemed to be a game full of giggles when the various power-ups were collected. The Double Cherry ability that duplicates the main character caused both confusion and laughter as the family tried to figure out how to progress. The kids also liked the "Minecraft" blocks you could wear on your head. Like the coin box from New Super Mario Bros. 2 but here Goomba masks let you sneak past Goombas and Cannon blocks fire explosive rounds.

As great as these innovations are, it's the small design decisions that make a difference here. Being able to choose which of the Mario team you wanted to be (like in the classic Super Mario Bros. 2) led to great deliberations on the sofa. But it was the balancing of these different characters that kept the children experimenting with Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad for the duration. They even came up with their own nicknames for them: “All round” Mario (which I thought just meant he was plump but in fact was about his balanced abilities), “Sky” Luigi (because of his jumping apparently), “Floaty” Peach (for her ability to hang in the air) and “Tode-bot” Toad (for being fastest on the ground).

Another little touch that we appreciated was collecting the different stamps hidden around the levels and then being able to use these in our Miiverse messages from the game. It was a subtle way of communicating how good you were and ticked the sticker collection side of my offspring’s psyche.

Along with all the competition for power-ups, coins and getting to that flag first, it was the collaboration of Super Mario 3D World that has cemented it as a family favourite. At first I thought they would simply end up killing each other, but on returning half an hour later an effective harmony had settled on the lounge (with just the odd bound of elbowing now and again).

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User Comments (27)



MkTony7 said:

I can't wait for this game anymore. Wii U you will be #1 for this gen



Magiick said:

I can't wait to get this game, I've been waiting for a full 3D 4-player Mario game and Nintendo has made it a reality.



Emblem said:

This game is going to be a hit at xmas when i'm over at the family house with my extended family. I'm sure the little ones will go home asking for Wii U's after a few rounds of this and Pikmin 3 .



rjejr said:

"feline groovy"

Nice. Way back in the 90's when email sigs were all the rage mine was:

Slow down, you move to fast, got to make the morning last.
Just kickin' down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feeling groovy.

Old classics never die.

Glad to hear the game was a big hit w/ the Robertson clan. We're holding out for Santa. As much as I want to play this - yesterday - nothing else would be as great under the tree Christmas morning. I live for Christmas morning. This will be to all of us from Santa. My kids are also getting Lego Marvel and Skylanders Swap force but I'm pretty sure this will dominate the day. I mean, its 4 player, even my wife can play. She's all abut Princess Peach in a cat suit.



Acampbell128 said:

I have this and Zelda on preorder, both come out the same day. Which do i play first? Im thinking Zelda, it was the only reason I bought a 3ds.



sinalefa said:


I wont google it, but is that Simon and Garfunkel?

I even got Friday off at my job, so I can download this one in the wee small hours



Mk_II said:

NOBODY does this kind of multi-player fun better than Nintendo. This game is going to be a huge hit this season.



unrandomsam said:

No secret exits. Not that many levels although none of the reviewers are honest about how many. (Going through the same levels again doesn't do anything for me. I want secret exits leading to loads more levels).

10/10 should mean perfect. (There should be absolutely nothing that anybody could come up with that is a negative whatsoever. If that means giving the vast majority of games 4/10 so be it).

If anybody manages to find a review with the number of levels and a fair estimate of length I would be highly interested to read it. (Would show a significant amount of integrity from the reviewer).



unrandomsam said:

@Mk_II At least a few of the reviews I have read think the multiplayer is still far from perfect and consists of one person playing the game and others tagging along (Like a child pretending to help cooking when the adult is actually doing it).



WanderingPB said:

"Odd bound of elbowing now and again"…LOL sounds like my house when we all get together and play co-op games! My son and I are so excited to play this game thank u for all ur family gamer vids.

@unrandomsam perfection is subjective hence all the variety in reviews but one message that comes across in all the reviews is that this game is fun to play…remember when people played games just for fun and not complain regardless of the console or developer…but u have youtube so make a vblog and express ur opinion to ur hearts content…good luck



Pinecallado said:

I really want to play this game, I enjoyed 3d land, but I don't feel I can justify spending $300 on a wii u just to get this game right now



WanderingPB said:

@Pinecallado yup it hard to justify a $300 WiiU purchase for just SM3DW……so how about SM3DW, Wonderful 101, Pikmin 3, Windwaker HD, ZombiU, MH3U, LegoCity Undercover, Sonic Lost World, Nintendoland, NSMBU, NSLU and though these next ones are multiplats its a great WiiU experience Rayman Legends, DeusEx, NFS most wanted u, Batman armored edition(the only way to play as Batman), Skylanders Giants or Swapforce…

Oh and lets not forget sum games coming in 2014 SSB4, MK8, DKTF, Bayonetta 2, and X……yup very hard to justify a WiiU purchase…hmmmm



IxnayontheCK said:

Can't wait for this one tho prob after xmas. Money is tight Skylanders was my son's game of choice from the fat man this year. He and my wife weren't keen on NSMBU probably because it was so close to the previous Wii iteration which we played to death. Glad to hear a good time was had playing this with the family.



Stubborn_Monkey said:

@rjejr #6

I'd say a lot of people are all about Princess Peach in a cat suit. (Sitcom audience obnoxiuously hooting and hollering in the background.)



Neogaard said:

Maybe it's just having the flu badly, maybe it's my poor understanding of this English you speak so much of and it being my third language at best that makes me ask this: Parent Trap? Yepp check know that one. Parent trap appearing in this article in any way? Must be far beyond hidden from my grasp of things. Anyone else ?



WanderingPB said:

@Ganonline parent trap is just a fun play on words my friend. A trap for parents in terms of video games and their children and how it has the potential of creating a trap for parents. Hope u feel better



rjejr said:

@IxnayontheCK - I think I have a solution to your problem - have another son

1 son is getting Lego Marvel, the other Skylanders Swap force, and the family is getting Mario. Strangely I got the Wii U for my birthday but no games for me this year. Would have got X or Bayonneta 2. W101 is on its way in the mail.



IxnayontheCK said:

@rjejr HA! I've actually got a lil girl on the way. Her soon to be bedroom already has a few Zelda pics hung up so I'm gonna start her off right.
When the kids want games for xmas, I benefit as well! Haha =P



rjejr said:

@IxnayontheCK - Big time congrats on the future lil gamer girl. I never thought to ask Santa to bring me a daughter, I always ask for games and toys and stuff.



jordanmarsden said:

I'm saving this one for when I have some time off over Christmas; I find games are always more fun when associated with a particular time of the year.

Can't wait to dive into this one.

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