I can think of no finer way to start my time with Boxclash than to put into words just how important this game is. Not only is it quite possibly the most fun Nintendo has ever packed into a title, but it also rekindled a love affair. My WiiU and I were always meant to be, and it took Mario to bring us back together.
One could drone on about the same points in regards to the games design, inspirations etc. that the other gaming sites have…. how while it is indeed an excellent example of how Nintendo always reminds us how they truly reign as king of genuine video game fun in their first party releases by usually only recycling ideas and improving upon them tenfold, about how Mario has needed the proper 3d high definition treatment for quite sometime now, and of course, how natural the cat suit is to this style of gameplay, but why? It’s been done all over the web months ago. Instead… I’m going to thank this game for allowing me the time I so desperately wanted with my WiiU, but couldn’t bring myself to doing due to an utter lack of a library of titles despite the system now being over a year old. The WiiU needed Super Mario 3D World. Period. A year from now I predict the system to be bundled with it, and with a coupon for the eventual (pleasepleaseplease) DLC. Even as I type this, I have to stop every paragraph to jump right back in, to go back to World 3 and get every damned green star, every extra power up to pack into my inventory, every stamp so I can post cute little things along with my Adventure Time sketches to MiiVerse that my Mii flags players in with as he stands next to the entrance to World 2. Pardon me, I can stand it no longer. I am taking a break to play Right.Now.
The over world map is a perfect example of how the old is again the new. But like everything else in this game, a much improved new. As tempting as it is to waste word space here, anyone of you familiar with how Super Mario works (if you are here reading this, you damn better well be) is all too familiar with his evolution of power ups over the years. They are all here, from the fireball tossing white paint suited Mario to the new kinda creepy meowing cat suit Mario, which allows faster running, limited wall climbing and a front scratch attack, which I of course call, “Cat Scratch Fever”. This time around, the goals of the game are to collect the green stars, which are also used as a currency of sorts, allowing you to open the final castle levels of the Worlds in which the iconic boss battles occur. Each level contains a different amount of stars, some of which can be quite challenging to reach and often requiring the use of one of Marios myriad power ups.
I have always thought Mario worked quite well in 3D, and have long awaited them to marry the design of the more platform oriented 2d games with the N64 style gameplay, and that they certainly have done. The result are big bite sized chunks of well designed 3D platforming that quite often has me cursing Mario like Will Farrell’s Dr. Robinson cursing Chaka in The Land of the Lost. They have also managed, to my immense happiness, omit most of previous titles flaws and instead center on what worked, like the map, collectible and stocked power ups, unlockable green pipes that appear based on performance as well as slot machines with a potential payout of 7 lives (my highest so far, 5), Captain Toads (kudos by the way to Nintendo of America for retaining his Japanese name for the first time) house which can provide up to 4 stockable power ups, and observation areas allowing a view off in the horizon of what could quite possibly be missed if not careful. My favorite addition to the game are the Captain Toad puzzle levels. Making use of the WiiU gamepad gyroscopic movement (or not if you choose to simply adjust your view with the right stick as in most of the games levels ) you take control of the beforementioned mushroom man and navigate some clever puzzles maps within the time limit to collect all the green stars available. The level fails if the timer runs out, and wins of course when you collect all the stars. As the world map increased in size, these puzzles increased in difficulty. Never to a maddening level though, and I found upon retrospect that these were some of the games highpoints as they provided an excellent change in pace from the often nail biting platforming we are all too familiar with navigating our favorite plumber through. Musically the games retains it’s pleasant, yet milquetoast Vaudeville/Atlantic City Boardwalk/Carnival cheeriness that has always suited the series. Never really a high point for me personally, but I quite honestly at this point in the franchises life can’t imagine anything else.
Well, enough talk. Play this. Now. If you don’t have a Wii U, get one. Of the current gen consoles, it’s priced the lowest, but certainly not for lack of fun. Super Mario 3D World a system seller to not just anyone who has loved Mario over the years, but to anyone who enjoys a genuinely fun video game they can play around their kids, or anyone for that matter. Better yet, play it with your kids as the game supports an improved multiplayer mode featuring some of the series best characters left
uncontrollable since Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES, each one with his or her own abilities like Princess Peach’s ability to float further on jumping, just like she did in Mario 2. Brought a smile to my face and immediately took me back to a super hot summer almost 25 years ago staying up all night listening to Anthrax playing the game with my brother. This game brings smiles, and fun.
If you are looking for a break from shooting people in a corridor online, or killing 100 wolves for their pelts to deliver to a villager in the kingdom of gnomes, look no further than Super Mario 3D World, and remember how you got into games in the first place.