This review has been a long time coming. I received the game for Christmas last year and I opened it and played it almost immediately but due to our previously mentioned homelessness situation, my tendonitis issue and the newborn I didn’t get around to completing the game until last month.
My first impression of the game was that it felt like I was running in Molasses. I think they must have cut back the movement speed of your characters so that in four player mode you couldn’t run too far away from your buddies. The game appears to use the same engine as Super Mario 3D Land, but without depth cues I found several of the environment much harder to jump through. I estimate a full 25% of my deaths were due to being unable to properly estimate how far to jump, or where I was in relation to the platform I was jumping to.
The other 75% of my deaths were due to my 5 year old son, who insisted on playing with me, but didn’t care much for moving his character. He’s getting old enough to be able to control a game in a 3D environment, but after few levels he loses focus and wanted me to carry him through all the levels. He eventually discovered he could put himself in a bubble and float along side me as I played which worked well enough, but sort of defeated the purpose of playing the game at all. After running my extra life total down from the 90s to about 3 I told him I needed to build up extra lives so he’d have to sit out awhile. He wasn’t happy about that, but that didn’t keep him from wanting to watch me play.
The big ‘innovation’ of this Mario title is you now have a cat suit power up, and you can play with 4 players simultaneously. I liked the cat suit a lot and I hope it makes its way into future Mario games. Flying through the air to deliver the scratch of death to foes, and running a long walls could be a lot of fun in a Super Mario Galaxy like game.
My boys both really enjoyed the game and it is now on the rotation of games they periodically beg me to play (along with Pikmin 3, Skylanders and Ni No Kuni, in that order). The level design was top notch, and the presentation was fantastic. Nintendo really has a knack for creating unique environments families can enjoy playing through together. The formula hasn’t changed in awhile – if you’ve ever played a Mario game before you’ll know what to expect. Roughly 8 worlds of levels and after you beat the game you unlock a series of more challenging optional levels you can play.
I enjoyed Mario 3D Land, but it didn’t feel like a ‘real’ Mario game. This is the first 3D Super Mario game to hit a non-portable console since Super Mario Galaxy 2 (One of the greatest Nintendo games ever, in my opinion), but it feels very much like a scaled up version of Super Mario 3D Land. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t put it on the same level as the Mario Galaxy games either. Even so, this game is a lot of fun and and is definitely worth a look if you happen to be a Wii U owner.
- Four Player Mario Action
- Cat Suit!
- Slow Gameplay
Is it fun: Yes
Length: ~10 hours
System: Nintendo Wii U