Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury - Review
Last year, together with Nintendo, we celebrated the anniversary of the Super Mario, recalling the main hits of the three-dimensional era, but many clearly wanted to continue the banquet, so just a few days ago, another reissue will be released - Super Mario 3D World.
With fanfare, he moves from the Wii U to the Nintendo Switch, and not alone, but together with Bowser's Fury, which is designed to appease harsh critics and turn them into satisfied cats.
After the release in 2013, Super Mario 3D World became the flagship of the Wii U console, despite the fact that in terms of modeling the structure of the project, a fairly conservative tactic was chosen, which returned the series to its origins. Perhaps someone will be disappointed by the lack of an original concept of the world in 3D World and unique mechanics like water gadgets from Super Mario Sunshine, travel to planets with changed gravity as in Super Mario Galaxy, or large, open locations, as well as tricks with a hat from Super Mario Odyssey. Instead, Super Mario 3D World takes us back to the early 90s, when Super Nintendo ruled the galaxy.
Recreating the classic atmosphere of the original two-dimensional Super Mario World, the authors simultaneously adapted the project to the modern demands of graphics and three-dimensional game design. Instead of the spacious game areas that are free to explore, which we were accustomed to since Super Mario 64 and to which the series returned in Super Mario Odyssey, 3D World consists entirely of a series of linear levels, which are extraordinary obstacle courses with an eye to replayability, as well as prize rooms where you can get a free gift, try your luck on a one-armed bandit or complete a full-fledged puzzle in the role of Captain Toad. In total, there are eight main worlds in the game, and you need to move between levels inside them on a schematic map, familiar to everyone from 8-and 16-bit times.
The gameplay is designed in a traditional way: Mario does not have a health scale, as, for example, in Super Mario Galaxy, but only a small and large form, as well as numerous costumes scattered throughout the levels, including the legendary tanuki raccoon outfit, a red and white suit that allows you to throw fireballs, armor and a football player helmet, as well as a new cat costume for the series, in which a mustachioed plumber is able to climb steep walls. Perhaps the most fun bonus was the "cherry", eating which Mario instantly clones, and as a result, two, three or four characters are under your control at the same time, which helps to solve simple spatial puzzles to find secrets and green stars that open access to subsequent locations.
Note that the entire game can be played in a local or online co-op of up to four people, while Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad have their own characteristics, such as speed and jump height, thus each level can feel a little different depending on the choice of the hero. A fun innovation of the remaster was the now fashionable photo mode, which allows you to take spectacular screenshots from different angles and apply filters on them.
Like any game in the main Super Mario series, Super Mario 3D World gives a sense of celebration and joy, and it's fun to complete the levels alone, or with friends or relatives of any age. Perhaps the main point of contradiction lies in the balance of complexity. At the very beginning, you will not notice any resistance at all, and for a moment it may seem that Mario now exists only for a casual audience, but the game accelerates, and closer to the final, it turns the difficulty switch all the way to the stop. Only the bosses were really disappointed, of which there are a lot, but, unfortunately, in terms of diversity and elaboration, they are much inferior to their colleagues from other projects in the series.
Of course, a unique feature of the release for the Nintendo Switch is a completely new campaign called Bowser's Fury, made in a completely different style than the original 3D World. In terms of structure, the authors returned to the developments of Super Mario Odyssey, making a huge sandbox with a lot of interesting mechanics and features. There is also a rather heartwarming plot in which Bowser, under the influence of evil forces, finally went off the rails, grew to the size of Godzilla and stopped recognizing even his beloved son Bowser Jr. Frightened by his father's rage, the youngest took a desperate step and asked for help from the main enemy - Mario. Our shirt-guy, of course, agreed, and together with Bowser Jr., they go to save dad from trouble. That's how Nintendo casually tells us complex stories about domestic violence in a touching manner.
The world of Bowser's Fury is a vast lake with numerous islands of various shapes and sizes. The local landscape is noticeably different from the colorful levels in 3D World - the color palette tends to cool, neutral colors, everything around seems both peaceful and a little disturbing, evoking associations with projects such as Halo and Mass Effect. Creating a sense of detachment, the expanses of the game perfectly get along with the charming cat stylistic theme. The furry fetish of developers is reflected in almost everything: ordinary enemies, including coop, gumb, and fish, have cute ears, stone walls are decorated with bas-reliefs depicting cats, and even the bushes here are trimmed in the shape of moustache-striped faces. Also, real kittens run back and forth on the islands, with which you can interact in different ways: play ball, grab and throw them like projectiles (do not worry, the kittens will not be harmed) or take the cat to the mother for a reward, and if Mario puts on a cat costume in advance, the kids will reach for it themselves.
To move forward, Mario must collect the emblems of the solar cats-the equivalent of the moons from Super Mario Odyssey. Each kotofey activates beacons, whose bright light destroys the vile, black slime that clings to everything around, thereby clearing the way for us. This system refers to Super Mario Sunshine and even to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, because the beacons also serve as towers, climbing on which you can explore the surrounding area.
Obviously, the addition of Bowser's Fury does not pull on a separate full-fledged game, but in the context of the size of the territory, this is, without any doubt, the largest seamless open world in the history of the franchise, equal to two or three worlds from Super Mario Odyssey, connected together. The map turned out to be so extensive that to quickly move between locations, you will need to ride the cute plesiosaur Plessis, familiar from the main 3D World.
The highlight of the program remains, of course, Bowser himself. Nintendo did not make a regular boss, but came up with a whole mechanic that works in real time, like sandstorms in Metal Gear Solid V. Every 10 minutes or so, Bowser wakes up from his sleep, goes berserk, and begins to interfere with your exploration of the world. Games about Mario can not often scare, but the picture of a huge Bowser rising from the depths of the ocean covered with black slime to the sound of thunder and music reminiscent of the debut track of the band Black Sabbath, will definitely make you urgently hide under a warm blanket. Such moments of rage are accompanied by meteor showers, streams of magma and the appearance of stone columns, behind which you can hide from the fiery breath of an enraged monster.
Each attack, which lasts about a minute, can not only wait out, but also be interrupted if you manage to find another kotofeyu while Bowser is in the active phase. In this case, the light from the lighthouse will drive it away, taking away a bit of health, which will help you in the future. And if you collect a certain number of cats, the player will awaken a huge bell with cat ears, whose loud ringing will turn Mario into a giant lion with a flaming mane, after which an epic battle will begin between two good old friends-antagonists to match the final battle of Kratos and Ares in the original God of War.
In technical terms, the developers tried to polish the project as much as possible. The resolution in Super Mario 3D World has increased to 1080p in the dock and 720p in the portable version. The picture has become almost crystal clear, and together with the realistic effects of water, rain and fire, the game looks even better in some places than Super Mario Odyssey. You can only cling to the climbing "ladders" on the edges of objects, but they do not spoil the overall impression. Regarding Bowser's Fury, things are somewhat different - it is understandable, because the requirements of the open world are radically different from the format of small, linear levels. In addition, you can notice blurred areas and a lower anti-aliasing rate, which clearly turned out to be a necessary compromise in the pursuit of a stable frame rate - in this regard, no serious problems were found, even in the most intense moments when Mario escapes from falling asteroids spewed by Bowser.
Speaking of sound and music, there is nothing to complain about. The original soundtrack from Super Mario 3D World, as before, delights our ears with stunning compositions with a great influence of jazz, while Bowser's Fury creates a bright contrast between the peaceful sound during the exploration of the world and the savory heavy metal when Bowser comes into play.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury for Nintendo Switch effectively copes with two important tasks - to introduce new players to the classic part of the franchise that came with the Wii U, as well as to please hungry fans with new content in the form of a chic expansion. A lot of work has been done on the reissue, and in many ways this is probably the most beautiful project in the series, bringing together almost all the successful mechanics from previous games.