I was thinking back to the first time I played Super Mario Brothers for the NES. It was over 26 years ago that I played, and ultimately beat, my first Mario game.  It is amazing that I now have a child who is playing Super Mario as I introduced him to the classic titles and as he got his first experiences with Mario through Mario Party and New Super Mario Brothers Wii.  Now we have this latest installment called Super Mario 3D World that my son started playing before I even got a chance.  While I watched him play, I noticed some very cool things about this game and had to give it a try. It blows my mind at how Nintendo can keep this series so much the same, yet build upon it making small changes, small additions, and innovating on what has worked so well in the past, for nearly three decades.  One of the major change-ups that I found awesome was that they took the 2D world that has been customary to most Super Mario titles, but made every level that you play a 3D experience. There are so many secrets lurking behind walls, puzzles to solve by working your way through this 3D world, and not to mention the 3D elements associated with certain enemies. Super Mario 3D Screen (4) Presentation wise, Super Mario 3D World is a classic Mario game through and through with very polished graphics, wonderful music and sound effects; all of the things you would expect from a Super Mario Game.  Look for that polish in certain levels when the music takes on a different sound based on the atmosphere you are in. For example, the music sounds hollow and like you are actually under water during swimming parts of levels.  I could go on for quite awhile at how stunning this game is visually and how nostalgic and new the music is all at the same time. However, what the bread and butter of any Mario title is how good the game play is. I can describe the gameplay in just one phrase – Pure 100% Grade-A Fun! Mario titles have been fun for the most part the past few editions, but I have not had this much fun with Mario since Super Mario 64 released on the Nintendo 64.  That’s saying a lot since Mario 64 is considered one of the best titles in the franchise.  Personally, I love how it looks a bit like Super Mario 3, incorporates the 4 characters from Super Mario 2 and takes all the good aspects of the entire franchise that they could squish in, combines it with some new gameplay elements to create this masterpiece.  For those not too familiar with the four character choices from Super Mario 2 here is a quick re-cap: Mario is your all around average character, Luigi can jump slightly higher than everyone else, Princess Peach uses her dress to glide over gaps and Toad is the speedy one in the bunch. This opens up the co-op gameplay to all kinds of strategy to reach hard to reach places and plenty of hilarious fun. I took some time to play with my son and, let me warn you right now: if you’re playing with someone not adept at Mario yet, you definitely need to come armed with plenty of lives or you can easily run out of them in one level.  Overall, however, the multiplayer was a lot of fun and team-work is definitely key because if one of you gets too far ahead, the game will teleport the lagging players forward, which isn’t a whole lot of fun for that player. Super Mario 3D Screen (9) The major new element in Super Mario 3D World is the Cat Suit which, although I found a nice addition, wasn’t what made the game the fun title that it is.  The cat suit can be used to climb harder to reach places, scale across gaps and allows you to attack enemies with ease.  In some cases it’s almost over powered in my opinion, but, with the difficulty of games in general being a tad easier than in the past, it is not all that surprising.  As I said, the cat suit is a nice addition but what really made this game stand out for me is the amazing level design and how great the controls are. Playing through the first world, I was slowly getting into it but when I got to one of the train levels it was a huge nostalgic factor from Super Mario 3. How they totally re-created that type of level with the 3D elements was simply awesome.  Super Mario fans are well aware of speed runs in which gamers attempt to beat games/levels as fast as possible. Super Mario 3D World takes that to heart and has created some wonderful speed run type levels where Mario is sped up with speed boosts (much like you would see in Mario Kart) to force him to go even faster and test your reflexes.  In my household, we are huge fans of America Ninja Warrior and these speed runs reminded me of some of the obstacle courses those athletes put themselves through. This is by far the best Mario title to date, best Wii U title to come out this year, and is definitely in contention to be in my top three titles of the year. The sweet gameplay, new level design and the introduction of the cat suit change the game up enough to keep it new and fun.  There is no downfall to this title and is a must buy for Wii U owners and if you don’t have a Wii U – this title is the one to get with your new console.

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About the Author

John has been a gamer for years and can often be heard reminiscing of the old days playing the Nintendo family of systems with his buddies growing up. With a bustling family of five, finding time to game is often tricky but luckily his family shares his passion for gaming. John is active in several gaming communities and can be found on Twitter and Xbox Live as JohnnyXeo.