News Article

Feature: 12 Days of Christmas - Super Mario 3D World Captures Hearts

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A perfect Christmas Day game

Over the past two weeks we've covered eleven games, trends or events from the year that we feel represent some of the best of Nintendo in 2013; we'll have a lot more 2013 reminiscences and Game of The Year awards in the coming week, too. Yet it seemed appropriate to end this series on potentially the biggest high for many Nintendo fans this year: Super Mario 3D World.

Although we strived to debunk the impression in our own review, in which we awarded 10/10, there's still the impression for some that this is simply a HD expansion of what was seen in Super Mario 3D Land, which is like saying that Super Mario World: Yoshi's Island is simply a lazy retread of Super Mario World; in both cases each title is fantastic, but also unique and fresh. Super Mario 3D World has topped a number of Game of the Year charts around the web — perhaps it will here on Nintendo Life too, we'll find out soon — and was critically acclaimed. We're confident in saying that the vast majority of gamers — as there are always exceptions, which is valuable and important — will have fallen in love with this game, or will once they try it.

As a 3D Mario début in HD, it'll likely stand the test of time as one of the series greats. It bursts at the seams with creativity, with each level having little to do with the overworld map as it dives off to try a new idea or play with a particular theme. With crisp, bright visuals and a 60 frames-per-second performance accompanying perfected physics around breathlessly imaginative courses, not a great deal can go wrong.

Some of our highlights of the game, among the Nintendo Life team, are the new ideas that are so cleverly implemented throughout. A star mention should go to the Cat Suit, as whether a cat lover or not it's once of the most charming power-ups Nintendo's devised for its mascot; it prompts thoughts of "why wasn't that done before now?" The animations of the characters in these suits are impressive, whether dashing, clambering up walls, pouncing or slowly creeping up on unsuspecting foes. These are little touches that aren't all necessary, but at the same time become indispensable.

Then we have the Cherry power-up, with its duplicated character chaos. In multiplayer this leads to absolute madness, without a doubt, with so many characters on screen that keeping track is a fiendish challenge, while in single player it's a strategic, clever mechanic that necessitates precise running and jumping.

That power up represents a key strength of the title, and something we hope Nintendo will continue to strive to emulate in 2014 and beyond. Super Mario 3D World can feel like a different experience in single and multiplayer — an accolade also due to Rayman Legends. It's a fun, polished and outstanding platformer in single player, while multiplayer — perhaps unlike in Mario's 2D titles — is both manageable and anarchic at once; it can be hilarious fun. If any game highlights the benefits of local on-the-couch multiplayer, it's this one.

It's also a title that finally utilises the Mushroom Kingdom cast in meaningful ways, with each character having unique abilities and Peach being a team member rather than a damsel in distress. Mario is the all-rounder, Luigi is the tricky athlete with a great jump, Toad is the quickest, Peach is slower but with a useful floating jump, and there's the fifth character — you probably know who she is but let's avoid the spoiler — that has some useful moves. It caters to different play styles when gaming with others, and each can be invaluable at different points when pursuing the unlockables and goodies in the toughest levels. It adds an extra layer to the formula.

If Super Mario 3D World struggles for commercial success due to its platform issues it'd certainly be a pity, as it deserves to be played by millions of gamers. Its sales and long-term prospects are yet to be made clear, yet its status as a top-notch Mario platforming experience is assured. It seems like an excellent Christmas Day game to us.

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User Comments (56)



MJKOP said:

Me and my two children are absolutely loving it. My son is two, daughter is five and I'm 32 and we are having a blast, thank you Nintendo



Seren77 said:

I only got this a couple days a go, I'd been waiting so long to play it and knew it had got a lot of 10/10 so I had very high expectations. Only took 30 seconds for me to realise this was truly something special, I havn't felt this blown away by a game since mario64. Worth buying a wii u for.



Ichiban said:

I havent actually played this one yet (yes i know!) But will he once xmas is done ill have the time. Looking forward to it, playing through Luigi's Mansion on Gamecube recently reminded me how creative and fun Nintendo's games can be.



NintyMan said:

The story behind this game is pretty inspirational. At first it received a hefty "meh" response from many at E3 when it was first shown through a rather safe trailer. It further languished in peoples' minds in the following months. However, the beginning of October was when this game just did a 180 on popular opinion with a trailer that was more accurate to the sheer amount of creativity this game has, and further trickling of information just got more pumped. Even then, it was still pretty unexpected by myself and others when the game got excellent reviews and even plenty of 10 scores. And when I got to play it, I truly understood why, and this is now one of my favorite Mario games ever and an extremely strong contender for my GOTY!



Dark-Luigi said:

Not only is this the gift for Christmas, but it's also a gift from nintendo and the heavens!



sinalefa said:

When my brother (who is older than me and typically dislikes Mario games) asked me for a controller to play some levels with me, I knew it was a special game.

I also love the random select feature, there is always a surprise. I used it when a friend came home to play so he could try someone besides Luigi.



A1234 said:

I asked for it for Christmas. in fact, my #1 gift. we will see what Santa delivers.



DreamyViridi said:

This game is fantastic. 3D Land was great but THIS game just leaves that one in the dust. I rate it as high as the Galaxy games. Me and my friend (and on occasion, his bro) played through the whole game and had a blast doing so. We collected everything barring the last five stamps but I'll leave him to it.

I'm sure to have a great time again when I eventually play Single-Player by myself but until then... [sigh] If only Christmas didn't have a money budget.



triforcepower73 said:

I asked for it for Christmas and as soon as my parents were out of view, I measured the box up against my copy of WWHD and it matched perfectly, although it was in a box that was a few inches taller. I rattled it around and I could tell they put some rocks in the box. I'm pretty sure it's Super Mario 3D World! Hopefully this game's multiplayer will change my brother's opinion that Mario is overrated and generic!



GraveLordXD said:

@triforcepower73 lol you should be ashamed of yourself actually my brother is 24 and still does that shakes everything and tries to figure out what he has
My mom put a ps4 in an old ps3 box can't wait to see his face when he opens that he even told me make sure mom gets me a ps4 you know how she is might get me the wrong one lol



triforcepower73 said:

@LDXD Hey, it's Christmas and I've done that for 14 years now! And that's pretty clever of your mom! My mom's doing something similar with these trick gift boxes. My dad is going to think he got slippers with speakers on the outside when he unwraps his present...



GraveLordXD said:

@triforcepower73 lol its all in good fun, this might actually change your brothers mind like I said I think this might be the best local co-op game ever made I haven't played single player yet. My brother isn't much of a Mario fan but has been over to my house every other day to play this game he said man I wish more games were like this! so that must mean something



rjejr said:

20 mours - give or take - so I'm going to have to hold of reading all this for awhile. Been waiting this long, no point in ruining any potential surprises now.

I think Santa is bringing us 4 games tomorrow but I suspect this will be played all day long. Possibly knocked off by Skylanders while the adults are cooking Christmas dinner. Gotta eat.

Merry Christmas TW, Nintendo Life, and all the fine folk on these here boards.



Gamercake said:

Can't wait to play this tomorrow!!!




Mahe said:

It's an under-performer compared to both past 3D Marios as well as relative to the Wii U userbase. It's definitely not "capturing hearts" despite all the advertisements and media blitz that are trying to convince most of the disinterested Wii U userbase to buy this ho-hum adventure.



GraveLordXD said:

@Mahe how so? Imo its better than galaxy the co-op alone makes it better and personally I find it more challenging and the controls feel better to me with the pro controller or tablet I don't see how this is an under-performer and I have to ask did you even play the game? Ho-hum adventure you must be kidding



WinterIceFox said:

I'm getting this game, lego city undercover, and ps3's little big planet
And some good ol' scott pilgrim books!



FLipSide5254 said:

First of all Merry Xmas everyone. I had this game day one came out and I really really like everything, music levels and how the HD looks awesome but there's only one thing that I don't like. White Tanooki suit is there which makes you invincible. You have a choice to get it or try beat it legit as a challenging more. Overalls this game is best just ignore the white tanooki suit.



sinalefa said:


Same to you. I hope your patience is rewarded with such a gem of a game.

I also wanted to give my best wishes to Thomas and the NL crew and community. I enjoyed these features and this is my favorite Nintendo related news website.



Pokefanmum82 said:

Getting the Mario Wii U bundle for Christmas and hopefully a game to go with it. If not, I know my mom is giving me gift cards for Christmas so I will get it then.

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you all have a great Christmas.



she_gamer said:

@sinalefa I like the random select featue as well. Totally makes the game when my hubby and I play. I'm always secretly hoping for Toad, while I'm pretty sure his favourite is Peach (he'd never admit that).



GraveLordXD said:

@FLipSide5254 yeah the music is this game is phenomenal and as tempting as it is you should always ignore that white tanooki suit if any of my friends get it either me or my brother would pick them up and throw them in the fire or far off a cliff so now they know better
My only real complaints is that sometimes I can be way ahead of the others and instead of the game teleporting them to me it will bring me back to them that and sometimes I have a habit to accidentally pick up other players because the sprint button is the same



rbmoura85 said:

I love this game, its great , but this is clearly NOT wiiu's great mario game...

The almost complete lack of intro , ending , gamepad function ...the many similarities with the "NEW" series , the graphical quality below what wiiu can make , all show that theres another epic mario in the making , one more in the vein of Mario 64 and galaxy



rbmoura85 said:

Nintendo has made the transition to hd, and u guys think this is all they can make....when the true wiiu mario appears, u will all realize how small this game really is in comparisson to what Nintendo can and will make...they can make a Mario that will look like a pixar telling u, this is nothing yet



Turbo857 said:


I really don't understand how some people say this isn't in the same vein as Mario 64 or the Galaxy games. Mario has the same moves he's always had. The levels in 3D World feature exploration and encourage collecting.

The Galaxy games features much smaller scaled levels than Mario 64 and Sunshine and were very linearly focused on collecting the star at the end of the level (very much like grabbing the end flagpole). So the Galaxy games have a lot in common already to Mario 3D World. Also, many of the powerups in Mario 64/Galaxy games had time limits and those were removed for the better in 3D World.

I hope Nintendo never goes back to Mario 64/sunshine styled level design. I rather have many smaller scaled stages with variety than one huge mountain level to collect 7 stars on.

I personally have no problem if future Mario games were sequels to Mario 3D world.



strongest_link said:

Am I the only person disappointed with this game? Don't get me wrong, it's a good game, but too much of the platforming in this game seems familiar, and uninspired. But my biggest gripe is that the fixed camera without the stereoscopic 3D of 3D Land has made it very hard for me to judge depth. On more than one occasion, I have fallen simply because I wasn't able to judge just how deep into the screen and away from the camera I was.

Again, good game, but to me not the 10/10 it has received in so many reviews. To me, Pikmin 3 has been the Wii U GOTY. Sorry if that rubs anyone the wrong way, it's just my opinion.



JaxonH said:

Well, the camera isn't fixed for one. You can rotate it left, right, up and down with the right analogue. While the game doesn't have 3D to judge depth, the same is true for every other game out there on home consoles, 99% of which are in 3D environments. So this isn't any different from any other 3D environment game (which is pretty much all of them nowadays).

But I do agree that Pikmin 3 was a VERY good game, Idk if I'd put it above Mario 3D Land but it's certainly in the ballpark imo...



JaxonH said:

And Merry Christmas to all my fellow Nintendo fans who make this site what it is, and to all the Nintendolife staff who devote their time and effort on a daily basis for us!



Dominicruz said:

merry cristmass to all nintendo fans

You may only advertise your channel in your sig -Lz



Buduski said:

I know this might be a little off topic but I hate the fact that Nintendo isn't giving any promotion to the pro controller, all I see in adds are game pad and wii mote use like the pro controller doesn't exist



rbmoura85 said:

@Turbo857 i thing 3d world will be a new series but we gonna get "120 stars" type of Mário also..tridimensional mario had always been about the fun of exploring a 3d space, mario galaxy has that in the form of espherical worlds ...3d world is about getting to the end of the stage like any other 2d Mario...its not about collecting stuff, neither Mario 64 was about that

Only time will tell if im right



strongest_link said:

@JaxonH I know about how to move the camera in 3D World, but it is hardly the same as a free moving camera, and doesn't even have that limited freedom when playing co-op. Obviously most games don't have stereoscopic 3D, but most 3D games do have a free moving camera. 3D Land worked with the limited camera angles because of the stereoscopic 3D in my opinion. This is why I think the structure of the game doesn't translate well from the 3DS to the Wii U, though I do think the multiplayer works. I just wish you could choose more challenging difficulty options such as not having a player return once he dies, or failing a stage unless all players make it through without ever dying. It takes a lot of the bite away when players can just take turns dying and coming back until the stage is finished.



Yoshis_VGM said:

@Mahe Well it has most certainly "captured my heart." And it has most certainly created a lot of buzz, and it rightfully deserves the high scores it received.



GraveLordXD said:

@strongest_link I see what you're saying but how would you have a free moving camera in multiplayer? It can't happen, sure you can play this game single player but there's no doubt this game was pretty much ment to play local co-op



TreesenHauser said:

I can't wait to finally play this tomorrow!

Merry Christmas to the Nintendo Life staff and to my fellow Nintendo gamers worldwide!



thedefalcos said:

I went home last week and spent some time with my family. But, every time I go home, I get together with a group of hardcore gamer friends that literally spend all day playing video games. And even though most of these guys cut their teeth of the N64 and Wii, they spend most of their days on the other two consoles (PS360). I fully expected for my WiiU to be greeted with a bit of sneer. A little bit of turning up of the nose if you will. Surely they would express disappointment with what was supposed to be Nintendo's big year and rub it in how bad the sales have been and how much more powerful the new consoles were. Heck, just to make sure it got some play time, I went out and bought Mario 3D World at full price pretty much on a whim. I honestly didn't think we'd play the WiiU other than trying out that one new game.

But, when everyone got there and settled in, without any hesitation at all, they saw all the games I brought with my WiiU and decided to put it on the big screen downstairs. We took turns playing 3D world and then switched over to Mario Kart Wii for a loooong time (nolstagia was a strong drug that day). After lunch we came back and played several rounds of Smash Bros and Goldeneye. I asked the host, Tim, if he had his Wii U hooked up on the upstairs TV. He did, so I introduced them to the awesomeness of ZombiU's Killbox. Man, they fought over who'd go next for hours. In between Wii U sessions, those who weren't playing, were on their 3DS doing Pokemon battles. So by about 6 PM, we had Goldeneye downstairs and ZombiU upstairs and Pokemon in between. It was so much fun.

Here I was thinking the WiiU would be side-lined and it ended up being the only home console we played that day. It served as a reminder to me that true gamers have mad respect for company that made Mario and that Nintendo IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE THE UNDISPUTED KING OF COUCH CO-OP.

I almost- almost- felt bad for Tim's brand new PS4 that sat untouched in the corner the entire time.

Have a Merry Christmas everybody and play lots of Mario World with your cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and kids tomorrow.



Leu10antFalcon said:

This is the ULTIMATE Christmas present I have ever received for my Wii U. Quality, innovation, and fun are just a few adjectives that best describe Super Mario 3D World. IMHO, it's one of the many reasons to buy Nintendo's high-definition console. This title truly deserves a perfect 10 score.



strongest_link said:

@LDXD I understand what you mean. It would be presumptuous of me to say that they could have figured something out. I do BELIEVE it would be possible but I can't know. All I am saying is that for me, the camera became an issue, and while I appreciate the co-op, this game just doesn't stand up to the standard of Mario 64 and Galaxy 1 and 2 in my opinion for the reasons I described above. I will never say 3D World isn't a good game, I just don't see it as deserving of the universal praise it has received.



tedko said:

Played through this last weekend with a group of friends. Great times. I'll always prefer local multiplayer to online.



AmyHD said:

@MJKOP God bless you child, I cannot believe you are sharing the joy of Nintendo with your children. That is so cute. I hope your children grow up to be very successful monetarily but also in the realm of gaming. Long live Nintendo! (Triforce)



MJKOP said:

Long live Nintendo indeed. And joy is the right word, I have no problem sharing my love of Nintendo magic with my children it's a great thing



DJSmith99 said:

I love this game but I wish Nintendo made a 64 or Galaxy like game. But it is still an awesome game. Well I guess we have three Mario platforming series, Super Mario series, New Super Mario Bros. series, and Super Mario 3D series. Hopefully in a few years Nintendo releases or at least announces a huge open world Mario game.

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