Ninja Reviews: Super Mario 3D World

Originally published on April 25, 2014

This one’s been long overdue. I meant to talk about this game way back in December when I got it, but a whole bunch of other shit came up, and it’s only been recently with dickheads on the Miiverse claiming it’s the greatest Mario ever that I’ve wanted to talk about it.

Let me start by saying that Mario 3D world is by no means a bad game. It’s pretty fun, I mean it’s Mario so you can expect a certain level of enjoyment with it. But that’s really as far as it goes. If you’ve played Mario 3D land on 3DS then you know exactly what to expect because it’s essentially the same game. It looks amazing in HD, and that’s something Nintendo is really rocking. In our gaming world as technology is advancing, everyone is using HD graphics but making very boring, grey/brown games. Nintendo is utilizing HD to its fullest with bright colors and beautiful environments. Music is great too, although kind of similar to Mario 3D land and NSMB. But it’s all live recordings and very jazzy so I can’t complain.

That’s kind of the hard thing about reviewing a game like this. It’s just ok enough that you can’t really say too much about it. However, I have a problem with the massive amounts of praise it received, considering it really isn’t anything special. It’s a fun game, it just has no soul, no identity of its own. It’s just old ideas resold as new. Seriously, what’s its biggest addition? Being able to play as Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad, like in Mario 2? All the same powers from Mario 3 with the exception of the Cat Suit, which is really just a modified Tanooki suit. It doesn’t have a single original idea. And those Bowser fights are a fucking joke. Remember when Boswer used to have some fucking teeth? I sure do.

And that’s really been Mario’s problem with recent games. I like to joke that it was gamer’s negative reaction to Mario Sunshine that did it, but every joke has a kernel of truth. It really does feel like Mario hasn’t been original in a while (Galaxy was on the right track, but still felt pretty safe). Like all gamers want is Mario 3, so Nintendo said “fucking have it!”

That’s my biggest problem with 3D world, and one that every person on the Miiverse is ready to crucify you for. 3D world doesn’t give me that same feeling of excitement or wonder like Mario used too. Rather than capture the feeling of what made Mario 3 or even Super Mario World great, Nintendo is just trying to repackage those games hoping gamers will slap their palms like seals just because… Mario. And the bigger problem: is that pretty much everyone is.

Seriously, go back and remember how cool it was when the raccoon suit first showed up, or when Yoshi first hit the stage, or Mario’s first jump to 3D, or just how beautiful Delfino Island looked (hell, even the concept for the Shadow Mario, though kind of played out was a cool first for the series). Now think of 3D world, or NSMBWiiU. What do they do differently?

NSMB was a fresh idea on the DS, exactly because it had been so long since we had seen a 2-D platformer of Mario and it was a fresh return to its roots. Even NSMBW was the first to offer 4 person on screen multiplayer, another first for the franchise. Hell, I was actually kind of disappointed with 3D land, thinking that on a system like the 3DS, a 3D Mario would have a larger scale, but for a handheld it actually kind of works with the smaller scale, restrictive levels. Mario 3D World really has no excuse for its level design, given the power of the WiiU.

These latest entries are just trying to cash in on old ideas, and for the problems Nintendo is having trying to move WiiU units, old, tired ideas are not what it needs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Mario 3D World is a bad game, it’s just very ok. It’s very safe, it doesn’t venture outside the box, not that the inside of the box isn’t fun. It’s not very deserving of all this high, how-dare-you-say-anything-bad-about-this, praise that it’s getting.

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