Reflection is good. It’s nice to look back on was has been and, remember the great achievements of times gone past. I’d like to think that’s why Game of the Year awards are so popular, not just so we can screech at each other about supposedly wrong opinions – something that’s sadly all to common in the world of video games. We’ve admittedly left our Top Ten Games of 2013 list a little later than most but, we did so that we might better experience all of last years big titles, in the hopes we don’t leave any great experiences unrepresented. 2013 was a fantastic year that saw some truly staggering games hit as the last generation systems gave way to the next. Super Mario 3D World claws into the top half of our list at #5.
Super Mario 3D World – WiiU
I think everyone would agree that they were a little disappointed to learn that Mario’s first big outing on the struggling Wii U platform would be an expansion of the ideas put forward in Super Mario 3D Land on 3DS in 2011. We expected a fully 3D adventure like the incredible Mario Galaxy, the divisive Mario Sunshine or, the iconic Mario 64 – instead we were getting a 2.5D game, based on an idea that had already been done. Then a surprise, Galaxy it ain’t, but Super Mario 3D Land is still a refreshing experience brimming with diverse ideas; the most convincing reason to own a Wii U yet. Mario’s first ever 3D HD outing is a blast, features four player local play, and an absolute wealth of content.
The infamous plumber might not be flying through space or trawling across planetoids but, 3D world still sees the hero and his companions explore a wide variety of stunning sometimes creatively outlandish locale. One stand out level has players navigate using their characters silhouettes, it’s not just a cool idea, but it’s also aesthetically very pretty. Unique ideas are commonplace as 3D land introduces new themes for one stage then quickly disregards them again, every level is fascinating, different and, frequently totally unexpected. I can’t even tell you the best ones, I would be doing 3D World a disservice if I stole away it’s surprises – needless to say they’re plenty. It’s navigable world map might follow Mario tradition a fields world followed by desert etc. But each world has nothing to do with what you might encounter – yes there may well be a beach themed level in the ice world. I really did never know what was next.
3D World healthily balances nostalgia with new ideas too. For all it might have taken a concept that has already been done it still manages to distinguish itself. Unlike it’s 3DS counterpart levels are much more open like a 3D Mario game, rather than enclosed like 3D Land’s were. These larger stages go some what to alleviating the disappointment that this isn’t a fully fledged 3D Mario adventure. They’re also a ton of different power up’s 3D World welcomes back fire flowers, boomerang suits, giant mushrooms and more whilst introducing it’s own mascot the cat suit. It’s easily the most exciting experimental prospect 3D World delivers, even if it does imbue the heroes with the power to utter the worlds creepiest “meows” Using the suit players can clamber up walls reaching normally out of reach locations or, effectively wall run over obstacles.
Like the oddball Super Mario 2 players are given the opportunity to play as four choose between four protagonists : stalwart Mario, wiggly legged Luigi, floaty Princess Peach or speedy Toad. Each of them have their own unique skills which makes each distinctly different to play as. Those differences are most apparent during multiplayer sessions, Toad will fly past his slower counter parts, whilst Peach will float to far away areas much easier than the others. Playing with friends is just as fun as alone, using a competitive system players who earn the most points at the end of a round are given a crown which the others can snatch cruelly.
It may not be the Mario game we wanted but, it’s still an absolute blast. It’s various stages are incredibly diverse and, plentiful. It does just enough new stuff that the 3DS 3D Land missed to make it worth a go. It’s easily the best Wii U game and, the best reason to own one. Pick it up play alone, play with friends – regardless it’s an tremendous fun.