Does Super Mario 3D World hold up in 2021?

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bigsocrates

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Super Mario 3D World is widely acclaimed as one of the best Mario games ever. Patrick gave it a 5/5 for Giant Bomb and it got a Metacritic of 93 on the original release, putting it right behind Super Mario World on the list of Mario titles. The rerelease is currently sitting at a 90 including the Bowser's Fury expansion, and there have been some perfect scores and other people calling it their favorite Mario game at places like Destructoid and Polygon.

With the very large caveat that I only played an hour or so and haven't touched Bowser's Fury...I'm not really feeling it. It's fun, definitely not a bad game, and it's definitely got more going for it than New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (still one of the worst names in gaming) but Mario feels a little slippery and the tilted overhead angle can make some jumps a bit hard to judge and mess with the controls a little. I think Cat Mario is very cute but mechanically boring, and having played Super Mario 3D Land I feel like the levels are less creative (at least in the first world or so) and the aesthetics are a lot less impressive blown up into HD all these years later.

Some of the music is excellent.

I don't know, these are early impressions but I feel like after Super Mario Odyssey it's kind of hard to go back to this more limited vision of a 3D Mario game, and the game seems just...pretty good...to me so far. Not a bad game at all but not the masterpiece I've heard about for the last 8 or so years.

How are others feeling about this rerelease? Did you play it back on the Wii U (I did not) or is this your first experience with the game? Are you feeling good about the re-release or a little tepid?

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Relkin

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Played it for the first time in late 2019. Wildly creative and irrepressibly joyous, with some of the best music in the companies history to boot. I consider it to be THE best Mario game, full-stop. Can't imagine my feelings would have changed in just two years.

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Chamurai

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I had it for my WiiU and loved it. Now playing it with my two kids and having a blast sharing one of my favorite games with them this go around.

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imhungry

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#4  Edited By imhungry

You're in the first world so this is the standard Mario difficulty curve thing of more recent releases at play at least with regards to your feeling on the levels, not to mention world variety. Wild to even begin to make a judgment that early on.

That being said, I can certainly see why some might find the aesthetics less interesting than the globe trotting levels of Odyssey but that's really more of a preference issue, I think these levels still look great and obviously there's more variety as you keep playing.

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frymillstrum

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I played it for the first time about 2 months ago and at the time I thought to myself "man I can't remember the last time I was so consistently delighted by a game, or had so much non stop fun". I felt like a teenager because when I wasn't playing it all I wanted to do was go back to it, it was on my mind a lot, to the point I put off college work I really should have been doing just to go play it. It's an amazing game, so many clever ideas and the visuals are gorgeous, they somehow pop more than Odyssey and I actually had a better time with it than Odyssey too.

The reviewer at IGN gave the re-release + Bowsers Fury a 7 which I think is totally unfair and way off but yeno, opinions!

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Dan_CiTi

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#6  Edited By Dan_CiTi

Yes. Thank goodness it is not tied down to a Wii U anymore. It's a delightful, ingenious game. To me it is the Super Mario Bros. 3 to Odyssey's Super Mario World.

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bigsocrates

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@imhungry: I'm actually most of the way through the second world. Still very early, but generally I fall into a rhythm at that point and know how I feel about a game more or less. It could still, of course, wow me with more complex levels and stuff could click, but the issues I have with it aren't so much that it's too easy as that it's just not vibing with me.

In Super Mario Odyssey by this time I was already completely blown away by the hat mechanics and set pieces and variety, not to mention that game's very strong aesthetic start. This just feels like...a sequel to Super Mario 3D Land, which it is, but now it's a decade later and post Odyssey and I feel differently about it (3D Land hit me pretty hard and is one of the few games I really like on the 3DS even though I don't like playing handhelds.)

I'm not saying it's bad and I'm glad that everyone else seems to be in love with it, I guess for whatever reason it's just not clicking with me (yet.) I think a large part of it may be that it just doesn't emphasize the things I tend to love in games and the things it's really good at are things that don't tend to blow me away.

Except, as I said, the music. It has some really great tracks that give me a strong incentive to keep going.

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I am really excited to play the game for the first time. I didn't have a WiiU so I've been really enjoying a lot of these Switch ports.

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I remember liking Captain Toad bits. And leaving Miiverse drawings on the overworld maps and levels, and looking at other people's posts. I assume they took all of that out for the Switch port?

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It's a cool game that's very well made. The idea that it's the best ever didn't make sense to me then and it still doesn't now. Excited to play it again though.

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ll_Exile_ll

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I liked it when it came out, and I don't really see any reason to think less of it now, but I never considered it anywhere near the best Mario game ever. I've always been in the camp that 3D Mario is better than 2D Mario, so the inclusion of 2D Mario design elements in a 3D game was not exactly a plus for me. I don't have a problem with linear level design in a 3D Mario game, but I think the Galaxy games, specifically Galaxy 2, do linear 3D Mario a lot better than 3D World.

It's still a very good game, but in the pantheon of 3D Mario its down with Sunshine towards the bottom. The Galaxies and Odyssey are clearly better. It's hard to separate Mario 64 from the innovation it brought and the nostalgia involved, but in a vacuum I may even prefer that to 3D World.

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bigsocrates

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@goosemunch: Captain Toad is still there and he's still fun. There's no Miiverse stuff, of course.

I am now into World 4 and the game does get more interesting towards the end of World 2. After it introduces the madness of the Twin Cherry (shades of Mario 128!) it starts mixing things up a lot more. The first level in World 3 is just a delight, and then it starts messing with autoscrolling and very tight time limits in ways that made things a little less bland.

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doctordonkey

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Hell, I'd argue it holds up even more post Odyssey.

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Sahalarious

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I like it better now, we tried to do it 4 player on the Wii u and it was so bad haha, but now I can appreciate it as a top 3 mario game.

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Slag

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@bigsocrates: Love the game, played it on WiiU 4-5 years ago

I think it's best to view it as a 2D mario and approach like how you'd play one of those, because to me with the fixed camera angle/level design/sensibilities and overworld it really is more like a true sequel to Super Mario World than part of Mario 64's lineage (which Odyssey definitely is)

fwiw anecdotal polling among friends of mine, those who prefer 2D Marios love 3D World, those that are 3D mario fans are lukewarm on it

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bigsocrates

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@slag: I've heard this statement before and I kind of understand where it's coming from because of the way the levels are designed and because of what the game demands from you (precise jumps and reactions in short succession rather than planning and exploring with brief periods of platforming precision) but the thing is that these games (3D Land and 3D World) don't have the things I really like about 2D Mario (super precise controls and a camera that makes it very clear where you are at all times) so I don't really feel like they're fully comparable. I'm not saying that the controls are bad by any means, just that they have the necessary compromises that 3D gameplay requires and they can also be a little bit slippery.

There are also are sections of levels that are just full on 3D Mario with branching paths and exploration like one of the sandbox games.

Having gotten deeper into the game I can see more of what people really love about it though. The level design really does pick up in the back end of the 2nd world and while I really did not enjoy the boss fight at the end of world 1 the subsequent boss fights have been much better.

It's still not my favorite Mario game but it has a lot more of what I liked about 3D Land and I get the hype more. Level 3-1 really cemented it for me. That's one of the best Mario snow levels ever made.

One weird thing about this particular release is the slowdown though. It doesn't generally happen in the levels themselves, but after I beat the fire bros in the pipe cave in World 4 and the game spat me back to the map it shot down to like 10 frames per second for maybe half a second. It's happened multiple times in situations like that. I wonder what that's about. Maybe it's just loading assets or something.

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liquiddragon

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#17  Edited By liquiddragon

I’m enjoying it so far. It’s a good handheld game because you don’t have to worry about the right stick for camera. I feel a lot of games on the Switch aren’t well suited for the undocked experience so it’s a real plus when a game is. It’s worked out great for me personally cuz I’m away from home this weekend.

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kblosnack

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Yes, even the original holds up (if you forgive the obligatory wii u gamepad portions) replayed it last month and it was such a delightful experience

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jsnyder82

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I honestly love this type of limited Mario game much more than an Odyssey. I liked Odyssey but I much prefer it when there’s a start point and an end point.

To me this game is right up there with the Galaxy games. Odyssey is slightly behind.

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geirr

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Heck yes.

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bigsocrates

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I've completely revised my opinion after getting deep into the game. This game is great. I do think it takes a little while to get going (unlike Odyssey) but once the level design starts clicking and some of the new mechanics come into play it is a really really good Mario game. I still probably like Odyssey more because it's more my type of game, but there are lots of great little touches and some fantastic levels.

So my answer to my own question is that it holds up well. It's got that timeless Mario charm.

I started the game thinking "Is Mario no longer for me?" By the end of World 6 I was thinking "Am I going to go to jail for being a hater? I deserve it!"

Something to remember is that every Mario game is intended as someone's first Mario game because these are ultimately kids games, so I should have had more patience as an old hand for it to get through the "introducing the basic mechanics" stage and into the "yo check out these wild levels" part.

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Shindig

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Good to know. My switch seems to exclusively all about Nintendo's games and I've missed an awful lot of them through the years.

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#23  Edited By wollywoo

Picked this one up and played it for two hours or so. Never played the Wii U version.

This feels like what Super Mario 64 could have been - the most obvious thing would be to have linear stages with endgoals. I'm curious how they ended up deciding to do something so much more open instead. I feel like 3D World should have come out in 1996 and SM64 should have been the BOTW-like refreshing franchise reboot of 2021.

Anyway, I'm liking it so far! They really won me over with the shadow level. I hope they have more creative ideas like that in store. It's not earth-shattering and it's not as crazy inventive as the Galaxy games, but it feels like a solid, polished entry.

My only complaint so far is that a lot of the music is very, very bland. Oh and - where's the triple jump??

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I have been playing the new version never played the original. I'm on world 6 and other than finding it extremely easy it's fun enough. I enjoy the bite sized levels a lot. Real easy to run a couple of levels before bed and whatnot. Looking forward to playing bowsers fury afterwards as well.

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CrimsonJesus

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I haven't played the new Switch version of 3D World, but the Wii U game is probably my favorite Mario platformer. Though it is definitely my favorite of any 3D Mario game [I've never played Galaxy 2].

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bigsocrates

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@wollywoo: You're not the first person to ask "Why did Nintendo waste its time with Mario 64 when it could have been making Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.*"

The answer is, I think two-fold. Part of it is just a desire for innovation and making new and better games, which Miyamoto has always had. The other part is cartridges. It is difficult to fit a huge number of varied levels onto a cartridge, especially one as small as the N64 cartridges started out. It's much easier to put a game that reuses a bunch of smallish playground worlds on there.

Mario 64 was only 6 megabytes. It's worth noting that the N64 actually didn't have a lot of long level based platformers, partially for this reason. Obviously later in the machine's life the cartridges got much bigger (as much as 64 megs) and compression got better, so you see wizardry like Resident Evil 2 being put on the machine, and something like Donkey Kong 64 is massive and sprawling despite having a lot of backtracking, but the more open world collectathon structure of Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie plays nicer with the cartridge format, especially at the launch of the system.

*Okay, okay. Crash Bandicoot.

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Slag

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@bigsocrates: totally fair

Guess a better way to put it, is that it's more 2D mario than 3D mario, even though obviously it's somewhere between the 2.

fwiw I don't recall any performance issues whatsoever on WiiU

very glad it's clicking with you now :) And yes World 2 is also where I felt it started to accelerate.
Some of the level design in the game is really quite clever, even by Mario standards.

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Hell yeah this game holds up!!! I’m loving every moment of it again.

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wollywoo

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@bigsocrates: Ah that explains a lot, actually. I still think they could've made something a little more like 3D World, but maybe it would be limited in scope or the geometry wouldn't have been as complex. It's interesting how technical limitations lead to creativity. It's also interesting that they went with the more dynamic camera instead of an isometric view which seems like the more obvious thing (esp. after Super Mario RPG.)

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Play for a little longer. Its a good game, just way, way too easy. It gets hard after you beat the main game basically. Then it gets super hard.

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#31  Edited By OSail

Yep, played it last year on the Wii U again and it's still the perfect 3D Mario game, way ahead of any of the others including the brilliant Mario 64, it's maybe the best Mario game full stop, beating out a ton of NES and SNES classics in the process.

It is "too easy" for most of the game for anyone massively into 3D platformers (me included), but that means decent players of 3D platformers should be able to blast through it onto the harder worlds in a few hours at most. There are so many levels, but most are a few minutes each maximum.

What draws me back after 100%ing the game several times is how fun, rewarding, and varied it all is. The benefit to near 30 years of mostly-great platforming history and game design experience pouring into one level based game. You can criticize it for mostly iterating on the same ideas, but those iterations are way more interesting than anything in Odyssey or the Galaxy series, and especially stuff like Sunshine. It helps that the controls are a good mesh of 2D and 3D Mario. They work without much adjustment required unlike most 3D Mario games.

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