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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury Switch Review

Super Mario 3D World has finally been ported to the Switch and includes a brand new mode to give fans of the original release some new content as well as to entice new players into checking it out. It remains one of the last Mario games to be ported to the Switch and one that has something for everyone.

Despite being originally released on the Wii U many years ago, the gameplay never seems to falter and, at its core, remains a strong 3D platformer. It feels exciting, dynamic and fully displays the charm that the Super Mario series is known for. The game gives you the option to play by yourself or with up to three other players. Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad are all available to play as and they can be switched out at the beginning of each level. Each character is slightly varied in their jump height and air time. Players are able to try out each character to see which one is best suited to their play style. If you’ve played a Mario game before, you’ll know what to expect from each level. There’re plenty of enemies to jump on, pipes to slide through and coins to collect. It never changes from those cores concepts but the various power-ups you receive keeps the energy up and the gameplay fresh.

The game’s graphics are top notch and encapsulate Nintendo’s ongoing commitment to getting the most out of the Switch’s power through their choice in art style and clever level design. The game appears as vibrant and colourful as any other Mario game ever made. Though, the sheer variety in aesthetic heightens the game’s look and perhaps places it slightly above other modern Mario games. The art style looks like a perfect combination of minimalistic and detailed. For example, glass pipes will offer a satisfying sheen and while many of the surfaces may seem simple, they can reflect light in subtly different ways as they’re given different textures.

The soundtrack in Super Mario 3D World is astounding. Every track matches the theme and stakes of each level. The music will set the mood for a boss battle while also keeping you relaxed as you ease into the first level of a new world. There also seems to be a tune for every feeling. Happy, relaxed, excited and scared feelings are depicted brilliantly in each level. I found myself standing still a few times just to take in the atmosphere brought about by this soundtrack.

Included as part of this release is a new story campaign called Bowser’s Fury. This mode has Mario teaming up with Bowser. Jr, who requests Mario’s help in saving his father from an all-consuming darkness. To achieve this feat, you must collect as many Cat Shines as needed to activate various lighthouses across the levels. Doing this will summon Bowser in his gigantic form for you to fight in a short battle. Defeating him eliminates some of the darkness, allowing you to continue on to the next world. While this process can grow a little repetitive, the way the levels are themed and differentiated keeps the overall experience enjoyable.

The gameplay structure is a refreshing change up from the main game. There aren’t any time constraints so you’re free to explore each world at as leisurely of a pace as you like. Each world essentially operates as one big level that is split off into separately named sections that are identified as you enter the area. The Cat Shines work in the same way as the Green Stars in 3D World. There are a few in each level and require you to defeat enemies or simply find them somewhere in the map. On top of all of this, the camera is freely moveable, cementing the feel of a more open-world and distinct experience. Additionally, Bowser. Jr is a playable character that can be used in co-op or as a partner in single player. The attacks are pretty standard and don’t offer any more of an advantage over Mario but I found Bowser. Jr to be a great help when I played on my own.

The quality of the music in Bowser’s Fury continues the excellence heard in 3D World. Again, there’s really only calm music and boss music and not really anything in between. While this isn’t ever a bad thing, having the musical variety of 3D World certainly wouldn’t have gone astray.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a wonderful experience that builds on the 2013 release while still retaining the established charm and polish. It serves as a reminder of how good 3D Mario games can be. If you’re looking to boost your Switch library a little, look no further than this title.

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