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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury Review


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1048335302_3DWorldBowsersFuryboxart.jpg.32d4ce0840919e3d09782254b2aa491e.jpgEven as someone that owns a Wii U and played all of these games on it, it's nice to see so many of the Wii U's gems get a second chance in the spotlight with Switch ports. The hardware may have failed to find broad reach, but the games themselves provided fantastic experiences, and in the case of this game, a chaotic and wonderful multiplayer experience. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury offers Switch owners a chance at playing possibly the best multiplayer Mario platformer out there, as well as a sizable bonus mode that provides a more sandbox Mario experience that is no less compelling.
 
Starting off with the new content, Bowser's Fury is available to play at any time as a separate mode, i.e. you don't have to play through the main game first. In this mode Bowser Jr. comes to Mario for help after Bowser has grown gargantuan and furious—moreso than usual, at any rate. Mario needs to collect Cat Shines to activate the Giga Bell and calm down Bowser once and for all. Unlike the stage-based design of 3D World, Bowser's Fury is open-world, taking place on Lake Lapcat with numerous islands for Mario to explore. Each island has five Cat Shines to collect, plus you can find tons more scattered around Lake Lapcat, though you'll also have to contend with Fury Bowser's rage which boils up every few minutes, akin to the Blood Moon in Zelda: Breath of the Wild. When Fury Bowser is awake he'll rain down fireballs or breathe fire at Mario, and even create new hazards around Lake Lapcat.
 
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It's easy to assume that Bowser's Fury would just be a simple side mode addition to the re-release, but it truly boasts a fantastic level of care and attention to game design. The challenges here are fantastic and make great use of the kinds of gameplay principles that 3D World establishes. Mario doesn't have quite the same moveset as his other 3D adventures, but even with that limitation there are clever challenges that put your speed and precision to the test, and all of the power-ups from 3D World are included here as well—including the all important cat bell. It feels like a natural extension of Mario's open exploration-focused adventures like Odyssey: a huge environment that is essentially a big playground with the freedom to wander, though still has some checkpoints that you'll need to get through to open up new areas of the lake. Bowser's Fury satisfyingly scratches that collect-a-thon itch while still feeling pretty unique with the array of challenges and island designs on display. Also, every creature in the environment has cat ears, so it's got that going for it too.
 
Bowser's Fury isn't too long though, and experienced players can end up zipping through and clearing it 100% in just five or six hours. You can bring a buddy along for the ride who gets to play as Bowser Jr., though Junior's skillset is pretty limited. Rather than a full co-op experience it's more like riding shotgun, similar to the two-player experience in Galaxy. Still, it'd be a good way for a more experienced player to help usher a new player through this brief Mario adventure.
 
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For the true co-op experience (or perhaps the true competitive experience), you have to switch over to 3D World, with its four-player multiplayer, now both local and online. For anyone that didn't play 3D World on the Wii U, this game follows in the footsteps of 3D Land on the 3DS, which is a combination of classic side-scrolling Mario design with 3D depth. Instead of being a completely flat 2D plane there's a degree of depth, which ends up offering the best of both 2D and 3D Mario design.
 
3D World was met with some skepticism when it was originally announced back in 2013 but this game features some brilliantly inventive and entertaining platformer design—none of which should be a surprise for a Mario game, but truly 3D World has some fantastic levels. Mario games have always excelled at coming up with clever gameplay challenges and then putting some kind of twist on them to further up the ante in a later stage, and 3D World might be the best example of that design philosophy. The best part is that you can play through them as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad, each of whom has slightly different properties that can make them better (or sometimes worse) for a given stage. 3D World also boasts some amazing visual and audio design, with insane neon colors for Bowser's carnival of chaos and an almost ridiculously catchy jazzy soundtrack.
 
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As for what's actually changed, well, not that much really. The characters do move slightly faster though you're not likely to notice it much unless you play the two versions side by side—although Toad now feels extremely fast in this Switch edition. The stamps that you could collect and use on Miiverse can now be used in Photo Mode instead. The parts of the game that once required the Wii U Gamepad's touchscreen can now be activated by holding the R button and moving a cursor around the screen. It doesn't feel like a particularly smooth system but it's a decent enough workaround. You can also now play multiplayer online though it's limited to your friends list—for the best, probably, as playing a game that requires such timing and cooperation with random players could easily be a recipe for disaster. The smoothness of the online system is always going to depend at least in part on your own internet connection but in my experience it felt pretty good, even considering the need for timing and precision. The one small downside is that only the host player actually gains progress in their game, but then again that's no different from going to a friend's house and playing on their save file in person, is it?
 
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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury as a whole package is just about everything you could want from a re-release. The original adventure is perfectly preserved, aside from minor necessary controller changes, and the addition of online multiplayer makes the chaotic co-op action easier to access. The new side content, meanwhile, feels like a fully fleshed out Mario adventure, albeit a bit short, but still with a wonderful sense of exploration and fun challenges throughout. If you never played 3D World on the Wii U you absolutely need to give this game a try, and even if you've already seen everything 3D World has to offer the addition of Bowser's Fury is reason enough to dive back into this cat filled Mario adventure.
 
Rating: 9 out of 10 Cat Shines
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*Of note the Super Luigi Bros bonus game update is on this as well.  You HAVE TO HAVE TWO controllers to actually play it.

 

*****************

 

I know I got that other thread but I wanted to put some comments in with this review of the game:

 

The game speed does feel faster than the WiiU version but unless you play them real close to each other you probably won't really notice it.

 

The game does have great level design and lots of cool ideas in 3DW mode.

 

However, and this was a problem I had with the original too, that the "3D perspectives, forced perspectives, and linear with depth perspectives" do cause some depth perception and camera angle issues that make some levels way more annoying/hard than they truly are.

 

The Cat power up is a good power up in the Mario universe.  The climbing and diving/dive bombing abilities are great and they use them a lot in the levels.  It still seems odd they gave him gold color instead of red.

 

As far as BF goes, I like it....  I like the more free flowing collect a thon set up than breaking the flow up every time you get a shine.  The graphics are very good.  I'm probably only 1/3 the way through the mode.

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I had my share of deaths due to misleading camera perspectives as well, but overall I think the game makes its depth perspectives work. It'd obviously be better not to have any cheap deaths due to this issue, but I don't think it really weighs down the experience too much.

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19 hours ago, purple_beard said:

*Of note the Super Luigi Bros bonus game update is on this as well.  You HAVE TO HAVE TWO controllers to actually play it.

 

*****************

 

I know I got that other thread but I wanted to put some comments in with this review of the game:

 

The game speed does feel faster than the WiiU version but unless you play them real close to each other you probably won't really notice it.

 

The game does have great level design and lots of cool ideas in 3DW mode.

 

However, and this was a problem I had with the original too, that the "3D perspectives, forced perspectives, and linear with depth perspectives" do cause some depth perception and camera angle issues that make some levels way more annoying/hard than they truly are.

 

The Cat power up is a good power up in the Mario universe.  The climbing and diving/dive bombing abilities are great and they use them a lot in the levels.  It still seems odd they gave him gold color instead of red.

 

As far as BF goes, I like it....  I like the more free flowing collect a thon set up than breaking the flow up every time you get a shine.  The graphics are very good.  I'm probably only 1/3 the way through the mode.

Seriously? About Super Luigi Bros... that sucks. Would two joycons fit the bill? To be honest though, I played that single player, as I had no one else to play it with, via the Wii U version. 

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1 hour ago, Doc Brown said:

Seriously? About Super Luigi Bros... that sucks. Would two joycons fit the bill? To be honest though, I played that single player, as I had no one else to play it with, via the Wii U version. 

Well, when I boot it it makes me sync up two controllers to continue so...

 

I assume two separate jcs would work... Or jc pair + procc

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