Super Mario 3D World is, in my mind, the black sheep of the Mario family. When it released years ago on the Wii U—a console so unremarkable that many of its exclusives are now on the Switch, as is the case with this title—I never got around to actually finishing it. That's the one 3D Mario game I haven't completed, so I was eager to finish this once and for all. With the inclusion of a new, smaller experience called Bowser's Fury, this package became even more enticing.
My opinion from 2013 remains relatively unchanged—Super Mario 3D World is a fun and buttery smooth, if a bit generic experience as far as Mario games go. Bowser's Fury, on the other hand, makes up for this experience by offering a fresh, challenging, and frantic experience featuring a beefed-up and very angry version of Bowser.
A Brief Odyssey in Bowser's Fury
While Super Mario 3D World is the core experience of this package and a much longer experience, Bowser's Fury was the most exciting part of this title. Bowser's Fury can be completed in a few hours but offers a fun and well-paced amount of content that will keep completionists coming back. In this new experience, Bowser Jr. needs help saving his dad, Bowser, from a furious rage.
Bowser's Fury takes place within a singular area called Lake Lapcat. This area acts as though it is a level from Super Mario Odyssey, in that it's a giant open-world zone with plenty of Cat Shines (which are just stars, basically) as well as brilliantly fun platforming. Lake Lapcat's area is divided into several islands, with more landmasses unlocked as you amass more Cat Shines. Lake Lapcat is a beautiful and vibrant area, and it's a marvel to behold new islands that rise from the depths of the water once unlocked.
Graphically, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury looks wonderful and crisp on the Switch. Handling such a large zone is truly a feat for the Switch, with all of the obstacles and environments in the distance as you explore islands.
The pattering rain and the chaos that ensues when Fury Bowser unleashed literal Hell upon the Lake creates a powerful and frantic atmosphere that rivals the majesty of Odyssey.
The various islands in this large lake are somewhat small but have a theme to them with unique obstacles; one island, for instance, makes generous use of clear pipes which you use you weave your way around collecting coins and Cat Shines. There's the icy Slipskae Slope, which is a slippery area making use of a giant ice skate to navigate obstacles. There are quite a few islands in total, and all of them feel very original. Because of their individualized themes, you'll constantly be tackling challenging and fun obstacles in Bowser's Fury. Truly, this mode offers the best of what the Mario series has to offer.
The aforementioned Fury Bowser changes things up even more. The Bowser's Fury experience becomes a truly special one when you realize that you're fighting against a clock; after a duration, Fury Bowser emerges from the depths of the lake, and absolute chaos ensues. The environments change, adding extra platforming segments and furious and more dangerous enemies. Meanwhile, a gigantic Bowser starts shooting fire beams and dropping flames from the sky as you attempt to grab Cat Shines. The adrenaline rush from when Fury Bowser emerges is something that only the geniuses at Nintendo can achieve.
Platforming becomes more challenging as it necessities precision, and the entire atmosphere urges players to move fast or perish.
Gaining enough Cat Shines allows you to take on Fury Bowser in a match the likes of King Kong versus Godzilla. Mario becomes supersized from a gigabell powerup and players battle against Bowser by avoiding his attacks and eventually ground-pounding on his exposed belly. It's a pretty simple battle, but seeing the miniature islands next to Mario after becoming supersized creates a sense of scale that hasn't been seen in Mario titles before. It's thrilling.
While Fury Bowser is no doubt the highlight of this mode, it also contains the only flaw I can find in Bowser's Fury. The phase in which Bowser is unleashed can be cut extremely short if you grab a Cat Shine as the phase begins. Cat Shines go into the lighthouse on the island you are on and shines in Bowser's eyes, which makes him prematurely retreat. That, to me, defeats the purpose of the gimmick of Fury Bowser. There are also some Cat Shines that can only be obtained if Bowser shoots his fire at certain blocks. Sometimes I found myself waiting for Bowser to pop up and destroy them since I wanted the Cat Shine, but this ruins the pace of the experience.
Despite the flaws in pacing, Bowser's Fury is an experience any 3D Mario fan will enjoy. Those who like to collect every Star in other games will find no problem extending the longevity of this shorter mode.
Super Mario 3D World is Back
Super Mario 3D World originally released on the Wii U in 2013. It brought cooperative play between four players and continued the gameplay style of Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS. This particular entry in the Mario franchise is one that seems rather underwhelming when compared to Galaxy and Odyssey. Still, it's a fun platforming experience with tight level design that is enjoyable by yourself or with a group of friends.
Graphically, it isn't very different from the Wii U version. It looks crisper for sure, and it runs and loads faster too. Otherwise, it's the same experience that players went through in 2013. One thing that remains consistent throughout Super Mario 3D World is varied level design, whether it's the more side-scrolling themed Shifty Boo Mansion or the Shadow-Play Alley, which creatively incorporates shadows and platforming. There isn't a single level I felt was unoriginal or too similar to the others, which assures that each new area is as enjoyable as the last.
The platforming controls smooth, as is to be expected of any Mario title. Really, it's difficult to find any fault in this port or the original title; my complaints of lacking originality is the only legitimate concern. Like any game within the series, however, it's just too much fun to play. It's a must-have for those who missed out on the Wii U version.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury | Final Thoughts
There are pacing issues in Bowser's Fury and Super Mario 3D World, while fun, doesn't do much that's new. There's the cat power, which made its debut in Super Mario 3D World, is useful but about the only thing I can claim makes this title stand out among the rest. Either way, for those who haven't played the Wii U version or are looking for something to hold them over until the next big Super Mario title, there's no issue in saying that this is the game to get.
TechRaptor reviewed Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury on Nintendo Switch with a copy purchased by the reviewer.
- Crisp and Vivid Graphics on Switch
- Addicting and Original Level Design
- Bowser's Fury's Grand Open World
- Thrilling Battles Against Fury Bowser
- Super Mario 3D World Lacks Some Originality
- Pacing Issues in Bowser's Fury