Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is the latest Wii U port to hit Nintendo Switch. Originally released in 2013, Super Mario 3D World is published and developed by Nintendo and offers classic Mario platforming in 3D environments. Plus, the Bowser’s Fury expansion adds an entirely new mode that is so good. Nintendo easily could have sold it for $20 to $40 on its own, making this game collection a must-play for any Switch fan.
The regular gameplay of Super Mario 3D World is a mix of 2D platforming and the 3D perspective offered by games like Super Mario Odyssey and Super Mario 64. The levels are typically straightforward if the player wants to mainline each world, but, like most Mario games, there are tons of coins to collect and secrets to find.
In contrast, Bowser’s Fury is much less straightforward and is possibly the closest to an open world experience the Mario series has thus far, even when including Super Mario Odyssey. Bowser’s Fury focuses on defeating an enormous, evil-looking Bowser that more closely resembles a kaiju than the big turtle fans have come to know and love.
To defeat this scarier-than-normal Bowser, players must explore various islands and collect Cat Shrines, which unlock a power-up Mario that you can use to fight him one-on-one. However, other than needing specific numbers of Cat Shrines to unlock the power-up, players can explore islands in whichever order they choose, as long as those sections of the map have been revealed.
As an expansion, Bowser’s Fury appeals to both new players and returning fans of Super Mario 3D World, adding at least three hours of content to the base game. The content is good, too, and a refreshing look at Bowser—who most gamers have repeatedly been fighting for decades now—because it actually makes Bowser feel intimidating. Compared to a regular-sized Mario, it feels like a race against Godzilla until the player can get their hands on the necessary power-up.
Exploring the islands and finding Cat Shrines is a rewarding experience as well. The Cat Shrines function similarly to any large collectible in previous 3D Mario games. Each island functions as a level, and each island has multiple Cat Shrines hidden on its premises. Occasionally, the player even needs to leave the island and come back to trigger events, like a Dark Luigi that needs to be defeated, to reveal even more of the Shrines.
Bowser’s Fury is a great addition to the Mario family, and it is surprising that it was released as an expansion instead of a full game because it can certainly stand on its own. While the game’s length isn’t comparable to something like Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario Galaxy, mechanically, it feels like a new member of the 3D Mario family. It gives previous Super Mario 3D World fans a great excuse to drop another $60 on one of the best Mario games.
That said, Super Mario 3D World is still worth $60, even though it’s almost a decade old. The Switch version doesn’t add much to the game itself, but the Wii U version was so strong that nothing feels outdated. The levels are fun and trying to get every collectible adds another element of challenge, which is exactly what a Mario game should do.
Super Mario 3D World also introduced a new core Mario power-up, the Super Bell, which turns him into Cat Mario. This power-up allows Mario to climb up walls and scratch at enemies, and Nintendo is great at incorporating these techniques into the levels so that players learn how to navigate flawlessly as Cat Mario. This philosophy of intuitive and fluid level design applies to the rest of the game, too, and everything in Super Mario 3D World works together to create a valuable and fun platforming experience that never feels cheap or unexplained, even though there’s no tutorial.
Overall, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a game that every Switch owner needs to get their hands on, especially if they’ve been a longtime Mario and Nintendo fan. Pairing the base game with the new Bowser’s Fury expansion creates a phenomenal blend of 2D platforming from a 3D perspective. It allows the player to further explore these mechanics in a more open-world environment while portraying Bowser in a new light. Super Mario 3D World was already considered one of the greatest Mario games by those few Nintendo fans who actually owned a Wii U, and the new Switch port shows that not only is that true but that the team behind the Mario games is still as creative and innovative as ever with Bowser’s Fury.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is available now on Nintendo Switch.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a game that every Switch owner needs to get their hands on, especially if they’ve been a longtime Mario and Nintendo fan. Pairing the base game with the new Bowser’s Fury expansion creates a phenomenal blend of 2D platforming from a 3D perspective. It allows the player to further explore these mechanics in a more open-world environment while portraying Bowser in a new light.