Well, look what’s coming on the horizon: the Wii U classic Super Mario 3D World is about to land on the Switch, and it will no doubt be a tempting prospect for those that have played it before. For anyone that has not experienced the game on the Switch’s predecessor — which could potentially be a lot of Mario fans, judging by the difference in sales figures between the Wii U and Switch — it is even more of an enticing release. Super Mario 3D World is filled with iconic moments that we have come to expect from Mario: the familiar enemies, power-ups and locations that have moulded us into the Nintendo addicts that we are.
When it was released on the Wii U, the game also introduced a few tricks of its own. Those new features return on the Switch, including items and power-ups such as the Cannon Box, the Ice Skate, and the Double Cherry. Of course, there’s also the Super Bell that transforms Mario into Cat Mario, giving him the ability to climb walls and pounce at enemies with his claws. This transformation is distinctive enough that Nintendo has immortalised it in Amiibo form to celebrate the game’s release.
The Switch update comes with tweaks to the gameplay, including an increased running speed for all characters, and the ability to climb higher when using the Super Bell power-up. A new photo mode — similar in scope to the one found in Odyssey — allows you to explore your creative flair, with the option of adding stamps, which are collectible bonuses to find within 3D World’s environments. Everything is looking gorgeous and the Wii U version has been given a significant polish for this Switch release.
A playable demonstration of 3D World’s online multiplayer action proves a riotous blast: there’s more than enough Mushroom Kingdom fun to share between four players. The process of hosting a game room or joining one hosted by a friend is extremely easy: a few menu clicks and you’re in. The host chooses which World to play, and a scoring system encourages some competitive number-crunching. Anyone familiar with the game will remember that there is a diverse mix of Worlds to explore, some requiring co-operation, others a frantic race to the finish. The Captain Toad levels are also now playable for up to four players, for the first time. Aside from the occasional wrestling of camera controls between players, adventuring together is successfully reimagined for online play.
Besides the upgraded joy of Super Mario 3D World, you may be aware that there is another treat included in this package. Bowser’s Fury is a completely new standalone bonus adventure, accessible via the main menu from the beginning. Unlike 3D World, Bowser’s Fury is an open-world environment. The cat-themed Lake Lapcat consists of multiple islands to freely explore, and instantly brings to mind Super Mario Odyssey, offering a playground rich with activities to discover.
In a collaboration that nobody saw coming, Bowser Jr. accompanies Mario while he investigates Lake Lapcat. A second player can take control of Bowser Jr. for local co-op. He has a limited set of moves, including his own version of a Ground Pound, and a swipe attack with his paintbrush. When playing in single-player, a tap of the screen can send your accomplice to take out enemies, a satisfyingly efficient means of back-up. Bowser Jr. can also use his paintbrush to reveal hidden power-ups.
Both Mario and Jr. are keen to put a stop to Bowser’s antics, whose temper is on another scale — literally. Mario’s arch nemesis has grown to deadly proportions, and it’s almost survival horror (albeit the Mushroom Kingdom version) when Bowser awakes and launches a tirade of fiery attacks towards a defenceless Mario. All you can do is scramble for cover, until you have obtained enough Cat Shines — the equivalent of Power Moons — to activate the Giga Bell, and harness the form of Giga Cat Mario. Only with this ability does Mario have a chance to battle on an equal scale.
At this preview stage, Bowser’s Fury is an enticing addition. The cat-themed environment in which the game is set is a delight to explore, and with Super Mario Odyssey over three years old, Bowser’s Fury might scratch that itch for more free-roaming exploration until we get a proper sequel. We’ll know the full size of the game once it’s released but, from what we’ve seen, the initial play area is as generous in scope for entertainment value as you would expect from Nintendo.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury looks to provide a much-needed trip to the Mushroom Kingdom, either alone or with company. Old territory has been refreshed and given a new lease of life, and the new content that is Bowser’s Fury is a thrill, with an oversized Bowser acting as a ticking time bomb while you explore.
Nintendo has devised a double whammy of Mario fun, and we’ll have the full review here at Switch Player soon. From what we’ve seen so far, this is a release that you’ll relish digging your paws into.