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Super Mario 3D World Hands On Preview

Finally, a game starring Blue Toad

I should start this preview by saying that I was not a fan of Super Mario 3D Land. Upon hearing the news of Super Mario 3D World, I was initially a little disappointed. Now, I've played a little bit of 3D World, and I've got to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

The most notable difference between Land and World? Multiplayer. Like the console NSMB games, 3D World provides simultaneous multiplayer. It works well. One might best describe the addition as “ordered chaos,” since, like the NSMB titles, players are working toward the same goal, but at the same time, players are competing for points and control over the screen. Even in playing just a few simple levels, coordination and cooperation were absolutely necessary to prevent needless death. Like a 2D Mario game, the camera could be pushed forward by the player most in the lead, which led to times where I or other players had to call people to come back so power-ups could be acquired or secrets could be discovered. The dynamic sounds troublesome, and let's be fair, it is, but the added complications made the few stages of the game available feel much more complete than its handheld alternative.

 As I noted above, the multiplayer isn't all destructive. An example I came across demoing the game included taking advantage of the game's shared power-up bank: A player further in the stage was hit, losing his cat suit. My reaction? Upon finding a power-up block, I picked up two bells (The cat suit alternative to the fire flower), and while I geared up a cat suit for Blue Toad, the second bell went into the item bank. I then told the other player to hit the minus button, seeing the prompt on the left side of the screen. He did. Out popped the second bell from his player. Success! Surprisingly, there are four total bank slots, which seem to be used in the order the items were collected, but that's mostly a guess, as no stage had more than one type of power-up.

Let's talk about the cat suit power-up. 3D Land veterans might recall the raccoon suit. Let's be clear: This is not the raccoon suit. While I'm not certain about it, it certainly felt my character ran faster wearing the cat suit. Where the raccoon suit would over-simplify platforming in the 3DS title, the cat suit adds the new dynamic of wall-climbing. The difference? Wall-climbing with the cat suit encouraged trial-and-error risk-and-reward style gameplay in most stages. Do you risk trying to take the quick long-jump to reach the other side and beat the other players to all the coins? Do you take the safe route? With the raccoon suit, players could jump off that ledge without a care. It sounded nice, but in my experience, it led to dull gaming experiences. With the cat suit, I found myself taking risks that more resembled the looser playstyle of previous 3D Mario titles, speeding forward, barely making a jump, and literally only surviving by clawing at the walls. Of course, the cat suit has a limit to how high it can help a character climb, which provides a sense of balance. Oh, the cat also suit allows Mario and company to dive kick.

Of the three stages I managed to play, the first two seemed like standard fare for the Super Mario 3D franchise. Hazards were based more on enemy placement than platforming. A stage I didn't play and unfortunately, didn't get to even see, involves riding some sort of dinosaur as a makeshift ferry, which promises to work a bit more uniquely. I did manage to play the boss stage in the game. Almost surprisingly, the boss was not Bowser or some type of Boom Boom. No, this boss seemed to be a sort of royal snake. To defeat him, one had to climb up snake minions and bounce on his head, a task that was actually more difficult than it sounded, even with the cat suit.

I wasn't looking forward to Super Mario 3D World, but after getting a chance to play it in a lively environment, I can say that I've changed my mind. December release, here we gooo!




06/14/2013 at 03:37 AM

Really? 3D Land is one of the best platformers for 3DS! I had a lot of fun with that game. It's one of the few games that I maxxed out. (And that last hidden level was hell!) Anyway, I'm definitely getting this one whenever I get a Wii U. Hopefully, the goofy looking catsuit doesn't ruin the game. Ugh.

Cary Woodham

06/14/2013 at 05:35 AM

I liked 3D Land quite a bit, and the four player here reminds me of Mario 2 (I like 2 better than 3), so I'm happy for the new game.

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

06/15/2013 at 03:36 AM

I know that between you (Jason) and Nick, 3D Land wasn't well liked but I thought it was pretty damn amazing - especially because of the post game content. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the hands on. Looking forward to this one for sure!


06/16/2013 at 12:48 PM

I'm looking forward to it and I'm glad to hear that the boss battles will be fresh and new like in galaxy. It seems to have some of the best elements of recent mario releases.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

06/18/2013 at 12:45 PM

this seems awesome!

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

06/25/2013 at 01:26 PM

This one gets my vote. This just might be the Super Mario Bros. I never knew I was waiting for. I'm looking to what this game will offer.

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