The new release of the Wii U title comes with the small bonus game “Bowser’s Fury” that steals the show from the main game.
Nintendo is still in the remaster mood and another Mario game has made it to the Switch: Super Mario 3D World. In 2013 it was released for the not-so-popular Wii U, which is probably why it passed some. This is her luck now, because an adventure awaits her that looks almost like new.
With up to 4 players, you slip into a cute cat costume and explore the world together. This can be done both offline and online, which is currently very practical for pandemic reasons – but it is just as good to play alone.
You can choose to play with Mario, Luigi, Peach or Toad, each with a different skill. Peach can float, Toad is particularly fast and Luigi can jump high. Mario appears as an all-round talent, without special skills. Before the start of each level you can change your character, so it doesn’t get monotonous either.
Classic Mario without experiments
The card itself is more than an interactive menu. It invites you to explore with hidden coins, for example. The levels are then unlocked linearly: As soon as you have completed one, the path to the next is clear. There are 3 green stars to collect per level, which can be well hidden. Especially with levels that have to be completed under time pressure, you can quickly miss them. But they are needed to fight boss fights, for example. If you ignore them, you have to do all the levels again later and that degenerates into work.
The game is a pretty classic Mario with good ideas but no creative experiments. Sometimes you play as a shadow on the wall, sometimes you slide over ice in a large ice skate or surf on the back of the Plessie water dragon. At later levels the level of difficulty increases quite a bit. It helps that you can collect all suits (cat, fire flower, tanuki, boomerang) and switch between them. This is useful if, for example, you need a certain skill to collect a green star.
A nice addition in between is the treasure hunt with Toad. The small additional levels are puzzle puzzles and later made it into an independent game as Toads Treasure Tracker.
Regular jump into the abyss
You can’t tell that the game is 8 years old. It runs smoothly with 60 frames on both the handheld and the TV. The speed has been increased compared to the Wii U, which makes the whole game a bit more dynamic.
However, there is also a problem with the new version: The levels are very wide so that four people have enough space. However, this ensures that you cannot assess the distances so well and that you tend to miss the mark.
The real star of the package is Bowser’s Fury. It was built on the engine of Super Mario 3D World, but is a standalone game. Instead of linear levels you find yourself as Mario in an open island world, which you can explore as you want. Bowser has mutated into a giant monster and wraps the world in a kind of black slime, which we already know from Mario Sunshine.
Bowser Jr. asks Mario for help transforming his father back. A second player can control Bowser Jr., but only if they absolutely don’t want to have fun. The moving camera ensures that the figure regularly disappears from the picture and fighting more than opponents and occasionally brushing walls is something you can’t do anyway. At most, this is suitable for parents who play with their children with minimal effort. If you play alone, Bowser Jr. is AI-controlled and can provide more or less support as required.
The islands are searched for so-called insignia via jumping and puzzle passages. In order to collect them, you usually have to complete tasks, such as completing a parkour within a certain amount of time or bringing a baby cat back to its mother.
battle of the titans
The scenery changes again and again, the sky darkens and Bowser attacks. He can spit fire and harm Mario, but also destroy special blocks that open up new paths. The sequence can be ended prematurely by collecting an insignia. She activates a lighthouse that banishes Bowser again and exposes new areas under the black mud. If you have collected enough insignia, you can also become a giant cat Mario. Like two titans, he and Bowser then go into battle.
It has a fixed sequence: Bowser attacks, you wait and counter. If Bowser is knocked out, the round ends and a new part of the card is revealed. Unfortunately, the disillusionment comes quickly, as the fights drag on because you are largely passive.
The fact that Bowser keeps appearing by chance brings variety into the game. But sometimes you are interrupted when you want to master a tricky passage and that gets on your nerves in the long run.
Good idea on the back burner
The island world is varied. Over time, passages that have already been played change and invite you to repeat with new opponents and challenges. While some insignia are on the platter and can be collected relatively quickly, others hide so well that they can only be found by chance.
It takes about 3 to 4 hours for the credits to roll here. Then you can still collect the remaining insignia, which means another 3 hours of fun.
Unfortunately, this shows that Bowser’s Fury should only give a small purchase incentive that justifies the full price. Because Bowser’s Fury isn’t as razor-sharp as the main game and drops to an annoying 30 fps when played on the handheld console. On the TV it runs with a stable 60 frames and the difference is noticeable.
Bowser’s Fury is unfortunately just an addition to the very good Super Mario 3D World. The whole time while playing, I wished that more time had been invested here and the scope inflated. It’s a lot of fun, the “catified” opponents are incredibly cute and I literally inhaled it in 2 sessions.
The main game that I still know from the Wii U lasts much longer, if only because of the sharper level of difficulty. But it’s just nothing new. The price of 59.99 euros in the Nintendo e-Shop, or 52.43 euros on Amazon, hurts a bit.
As a download title for 15 to 20 euros, Bowser’s Fury would have been great. But so you think twice about whether you really want to spend the money on a game that is 8 years old and that you probably still have fond memories of. Only for the bonus game is the price set too high.
For people who didn’t have a Wii U, I have good news: you can access it without a second thought. The package includes hours of fun alone and with friends.
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