Review: Super Mario World (New 3DS / SNES)

Same great adventure, smaller screen

As everyone knows, the best use of your latest piece of gaming machinery is to play games from yesteryear. Should a Nintendo Direct mention a 'new old' system is joining the Virtual Console line-up there is much excitement, and so it was when it was revealed that SNES titles were going portable. Though limited to the New Nintendo 3DS models because of reasons, there is now the potential to play 16-bit Nintendo classics on the go. Appropriately one of the first titles on the eShop was a launch game on the original hardware: the platforming classic Super Mario World.

Visually the game stands out from the other retro 2D Super Mario platformers, using the extra graphical oomph of the SNES to add more colours, details and effects to the onscreen action. These colourful cartoony graphics are available in the standard view or you can dive into the Virtual Console settings menu to switch to a squarer original resolution mode, resulting in larger side borders but a sharper image. Whichever option you go with the action is easy to follow (despite the move to the small screen) as you run, jump and fly through the stages.

As well as looking pretty (and featuring brilliant music), the game is a joy to play: lots of well-designed levels across different areas with different themes. Traditional-looking overworld levels sit alongside forest, underground and underwater equivalents. A range of enemies (including the usual Koopas, Goombas and Bullet Bills) hope to impede your progress and each area ends with the expected castle, where Thromps, Dry Bones and lava are amongst the perils faced before a showdown with one of the Koopalings. There are a few routes to the end of the game (due to multiple exits on some courses) and trying to find all 96 exits will keep you busy – or you can find them in your sleep if you've purchased the game many times already. As an alternative you can try and finish the game by clearing as few of the levels as possible, but whatever approach you take the game is a lot of fun to replay.

The controls work brilliantly: responsive and feeling natural whether gobbling up enemies with Yoshi, hoping across a series of gaps or collecting coins as you fly through the skies. Unlike on Wii U there is no option to re-map the controls, however - this isn't really a problem as they worked fine on the SNES (which has the same button placement as the New 3DS), but if you liked the Game Boy Advance approach of sticking the spin jump on the R button, you'll just have to get used to pressing A instead.

Portability is what sets this apart from the previous Virtual Console releases of the title and it is suited to short bursts of play as you tackle a level or two during breaks in a hectic day. The game only lets you save after certain levels (such as castles or ghost houses) but the standard suspension and restore point functions are present to ensure that this is a non-issue. If you have a friend waiting for that train with you, you can also partake in the game's multiplayer. It's alternating play so you could just takes turns with the single-player mode, but the option is there if one of you really wants to play as Luigi; just remember to change the "controller" by holding the Z buttons and tapping Y inbetween turns.


It was brilliant on the SNES and it's still brilliant on the New Nintendo 3DS. The colourful visuals work well on the small screen, whilst numerous enemies and high quality level design help make the game fun to play and then play again. Aside from portability and the "original resolution" mode this is much the same as previous re-releases, but if you're yet to pick up Super Mario World this is a New 3DS download that comes highly recommended.

Sponsored links by Taboola

From the web