From “meh” to “must-have,” how my impressions on Mario’s upcoming adventure changed since E3.
At E3 2013, most Nintendo fans felt underwhelmed by the announcement of Super Mario 3D World. Not only was it not the Super Mario Galaxy-esque platformer we were expecting, but it looked uninspired and uninteresting. To many, it was just another one of Nintendo’s nostalgia trips; a game that was sure to be fun and enjoyable, but nothing groundbreaking or innovative.
Perhaps even after last week’s Nintendo Direct presentation, you still feel the same way. I, however, saw the new trailer for 3D World and couldn’t help but feel excited. While on the outside it may seem like a Super Mario 3D Land sequel, a closer look might reveal a few unexpected reasons to feel excited. That is what this post will be about.
Below is the trailer for Super Mario 3D World shown in the latest Nintendo Direct. I will be making references to the video throughout this post.
New Items and Power-Ups
At E3, the only “new” power-up we saw was the cat suit, which can be found in the game’s logo. A lot of us expected that to be it for 3D World; traditionally, each Mario game only introduces a singular new power-up, and that power-up would be found throughout the game. However, there are always exceptions (among them the two Super Mario Galaxy games), so it really should not be all that surprising to see that Super Mario 3D World offers more than just cat suits. In fact, it offers much more. Check out the list below:
- Cat Suit – Turn into a cat and gain new abilities such as “pouncing” on enemies and climbing up vertical surfaces.
- Double Cherry – Clone yourself and take control of two instances of your character at the same time.
- Cannon Block – Shoot cannons at your enemies and cause them to explode!
- Goomba Suit – Dress up as a Goomba and blend in with Bowser’s baddies.
- Kuribo’s Skate – Zip around the level in an ice skate while destroying everything in your path!
- Boost Pads – Run like the wind and challenge yourself by avoiding enemies and obstacles along the way.
- Baseballs – Carry around a baseball and throw it at your enemies.
- Piranha Plant – Carry around a Piranha Plant and devour anyone who gets in your way!
- Soccer Bomb – Destroy hoards of enemies by kicking bombs disguised as soccer balls into them.
Other returning items include:
- Super Mushroom
- Fire Flower
- Propeller Block
- Boomerang Suit
- Question Box (wear a ? Block on your head!)
- Tanooki/Racoon Suit
This list may not seem all that impressive, but just as Mario Kart 8’s anti-gravity feature can lead to some crazy course designs, so can these features give Super Mario 3D World the creative boost it needs. The Cat Suit naturally leads to more vertically-oriented levels. The Double Cherry adds some level of strategy as you attempt to maneuver your way through each level with multiple Mario’s and Luigi’s. But the most interesting item of them all is the Goomba Suit. Why does it exist? Will Mario have some sort of stealth mission to complete? Will there be other suits as well? Keep in mind that this list isn’t even at all complete, and I look forward to see what other weird power-ups 3D World will introduce.
A New Story, A New World
Obviously, being able to play as Peach would mean that the story wouldn’t exactly be the same “Plumber Save Princess” affair we’ve all gotten used to. It’s pretty refreshing to see Nintendo take a different route when it comes to story in Mario; the last game that really did this was Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube. It’ll be interesting to see how the plot plays out in this game, and as always I’ll be looking forward to that final twist at the end (and hopefully not as always I won’t be disappointed).
But that’s not really the thing that excites me the most about 3D World. Rather, it’s the beautiful worlds that were shown off in the trailer that make me want to dive in right away. In addition to it looking amazing in high-definition, 3D World looks to have some of the most interesting environments I’ve seen in a Mario game in a while. A few instances stand out to me personally, among them the sunset beach level and the shadow play level. The former has some beautiful lighting and great ambiance, and it makes me want to just go there and run around all day (in my cat suit, catching bunnies of course!). The latter is more interesting in that it shows Nintendo going out of the traditional Mario formula and trying new ways to let players experience particular levels, something that until now was only relegated to Nintendo’s other platforming franchises such as Donkey Kong or Kirby.
A new world also means new bosses, another feature that I’m very excited about. One of my main gripes with Super Mario 3D Land and the New Super Mario Bros. games was that the bosses are always reused and aren’t ever really that creative. Super Mario 3D World already looks to break that trend with the one boss battle shown at the end of the trailer where you have to push a metal Bully into a pipe to transform him into a helpless canister. Another boss battle shown briefly near the end is Bowser and his Cadillac, which is definitely something no one could have expected. My hope is that Nintendo continues to surprise us with things like these in the full game.
The Minute Details
Throughout the trailer, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the tiny little things Nintendo snuck in. Below are a few examples:
- The facial animations of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Bowser in the opening cut scene.
- The fact that Bowser traps the Sprixie in a bottle (Zelda reference).
- Toad’s face as he travels through the invisible pipe.
- The little secrets found throughout the game’s world maps.
- Cat Mario pouncing at a bird.
- The enemies freaking out and trying to escape when Mario attacks other nearby enemies.
- Mario dressed up as a Goomba (seriously, this is amazing).
- The Snow Pokey’s jumping to the tune of the music.
- The fake goal post made up of boos.
- The Goomba’s waking up in the pool when Toad jumps in.
- Toad climbing up the Thwomps in the cat suit.
- The Bully’s facial reactions.
Of course, my impressions aren’t limited to the things stated above, but from what I seen of Super Mario 3D World it pays a ton of attention to detail, and it also makes me realize just why I love Nintendo’s games so much. It’s these little things – plus the big things like Mario’s new power-ups and creative new level design – that make me excited for Super Mario 3D World.
What are your impressions of Super Mario 3D World now that you’ve seen more of it? Have they changed since E3? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!