Review: Super Mario 3D World and Bowser’s Fury jumps to new heights

By David Herbold, March 9, 2021

In the world of video games, most genres have multiple games competing to be on top. From its outstanding gameplay to its stellar music, Super Mario 3D World and Bowser’s Fury upholds its legacy without leaving the comfort of Mushroom Kingdom.

While the majority of the game is the original Wii U version of 3D World, the new content called Bowser’s Fury adds a much-needed fresh element. It takes a similar approach to the Super Mario Odyssey gameplay, allowing players to explore the open world on their own terms and tackle obstacles from whatever angle they desire.

By adding Bowser’s Fury, Nintendo managed to allow 3D World to return in a way that is intriguing enough to keep people interested. The excellent level design of 3D World and the open levels of Odyssey make for a fun and fulfilling platforming adventure.

It also features one of the best incarnations of Bowser to date with massively fun boss battles. The length of this add-on is also almost as long as some of the full games, taking about eight hours to beat.

A better description of Bowser’s Fury would be a combination of Odyssey and 3D World in its level design. The game is definitely open world, but it would be more accurate to call it one massive and complex level that just keeps going. And while navigating the platforming challenges, Bowser is constantly pursuing Mario with fireballs, until Mario figures out how to deal with him.

One thing developers keep in mind when it comes to Super Mario and other platformers is innovation, pushing the bar forward to keep things interesting. 3D World does not reinvent the wheel, but it executes the Mario formula to its peak. Running and jumping through each level is just as fun as the classic Super Mario Bros.

In line with the design philosophy of not trying to reinvent itself, 3D World only brings a handful of new ideas but executes them flawlessly. New powerups like the Cat Bell spice up the gameplay and every stage chucks new ideas at the player as fast as you can learn them.

When it comes to Mario, the way Nintendo approaches game design is letting the player learn a new concept, like swinging platforms or blocks that switch on and off with the music. Then, over the course of a level, the difficulty slowly increases and in the next level, a new concept is introduced and the learning process repeats.

3D World also knocks it out of the park with its soundtrack. The game follows a circus theme which is amplified by the music that features a big band with lots of horns and bass. Of course, all the classic tracks are here but they are all remixed with a loud band sound that makes the game feel groovy throughout. The Bowser’s Fury part of the soundtrack has a completely different vibe to it with a focus on hard rock to complement the more serious tone.

When originally released for the Wii U back in 2013, 3D World was way ahead of the gaming world. However, since its release, many other excellent platformers have been released and even another core Mario game, Odyssey. This leaves the main game of 3D World feeling somewhat dated and behind the gameplay of the genre.

By taking what they learned from Odyssey, Nintendo was able to breathe life into an almost decade-old game and put almost an entire extra game into it as well. Super Mario 3D World and Bowser’s Fury calls for an exciting future for the Mario series and makes players anticipate Nintendo’s upcoming projects.

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