Having stood playing through the five separate stages of Super Mario 3D World’s E3 2013 demo build, it proves the rare gaming experience that simply comprises of joyous fun in abundance.
Whilst having fallen into the camp of those that perhaps felt that Super Mario 3D World’s reveal failed to match the stature that Super Mario Galaxy had immediately been met with, going hands-on with the Wii U exclusive demonstrated that Nintendo’s creative genius can never be disputed.
For whilst the House of Mario may once again be relying on what has long remained their most iconic creation, this latest trip to the Mushroom Kingdom sprouts enough new ideas to ensure that the player experience is as fresh as it’s ever been.
Already evident to those that watched the reveal trailer during the Nintendo Direct@E3 2013, Super Mario 3D World delivers the first opportunity within a 3D entry for four players to work co-operatively.
You can choose between the normal character choices – Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad – who each have their own usual characteristics. Mario’s pitched as the more balanced character, Luigi jumps higher, Peach has a floatier jump that’ll save her from falling to her doom, whereas Toad’s heightened speed is positioned as a challenge for more experienced players.
Players will naturally stick with their favourites, but the assorted gathering welcomes hilarious circumstances in multiplayer. Whilst most available levels delivered the usual platforming fare, one saw the entire team hop onto the back of a smiley dinosaur, gleefully gliding belly first down a lengthy waterfall.
Co-operation is key here, players working in tandem as they navigate the lumbering creature along watery terrain – weaving around treacherous paths, jumping through hoops and collecting red coins along the way.
Power-ups see extension through the addition of Cat Mario, which demonstrates its worth far more clearly when playing more than simply witnessing it in game footage. Scaling walls, scratching enemies with claws, and clambering up end-level goal poles becoming new abilities, alongside a strategic pounce attack.
Hearing long-serving Mario voice artist Charles Martinet say “Meow, meow!” promises to never get old, and within minutes of playing around with the cat suit it’ll soon become apparent that this is one of the stronger additions to the plumber’s universe in recent years.
Nintendo have also sought to lift the lid on what happens when Mario and chums plunge into warp pipes, through the introduction of clear, transparent pipes. Players can navigate such multi-path pipework to dodge enemies and seek out collectibles tucked away inside.
Mario’s latest may appear all paws and whiskers, but there’s no crying over spilt milk here. Super Mario 3D World may appear a safe decision, but there’s certainly plenty to be excited about. With so little having been shown so far Nintendo are sure to be hiding further secrets from us, and I’m scratching at the door to find out.