Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (2021) review for Nintendo Switch by Luke.R
Posted on April 29, 2021
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a 3D platformer and a collection of an enhanced port of the Wii U’s 3D World and the brand-new Bowser’s Fury from Nintendo, and is rated G.
3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a great duo of games not only for newcomers who have never experienced the Wii U’s hit platformer, but it also offers enough to draw old players back in. It is an enhanced and portable version of the original but is also offering a new, although short, fantastic new title, in the form of Bowser’s Fury. Due to this being a collection of 2 games, this review will be split into 2 sections with the first focusing on 3D World and the latter half focusing on Bowser’s Fury. The Verdict will be a score given to the collection as whole.
Super Mario 3D World
Story and Voice Acting
Bowser (voiced by Kenny James) is up to his princess stealing antics again, but this time, has taken over Sprixie Kingdom and all of its’ Pixie Princesses, so it’s up to Mario (Charles Martinet) with the help of Luigi (Charles Martinet), Toad (Samantha Kelly) and Princess Peach (Samantha Kelly) to take back the kingdom and save the Pixies from Bowser’s clutches.
3D World’s story is as minimal as expected from a Super Mario title but, is as charming as ever, told through bouncy and colorful cutscenes with small quips from the series classic cast of voice actors making them as enjoyable as always. While simple, it’s enough motivation to get you to the end and experience the game’s wonderful world.
3D World’s gameplay is filled with you tackling one of its many platforming challenges, and collecting stars with the game’s 4-playable characters, taking you through sandy ruins and kingdoms in the sky to a carnival filled with danger. You’ll jump, swing, swim and dash your way through these colorful linear environments littered with secrets, obstacles and power-ups to help tackle the challenges head-on, including each of the unique boss fights. As you journey through these stages, you’ll need to search every nook and cranny for “Green Stars” to unlock more stages to continue your adventure. To collect these stars you’ll not only need to use the character’s large move-set to your advantage but also one of the many power-ups you’ll acquire throughout the stages. This includes returning favorites like the Fire-Flower, Boomerang Suit and the Tanuki Suit, and also 2 new power-ups, the game’s prominent Cat Bell and Double Cherry. The Cat Bell allows the user to don the Cat Suit and claw, pounce and climb your way around the stage, reaching new heights and finding secrets otherwise unreachable, while the Double Cherry clones the character, allowing you to control 2 of your selected characters at once. This is used for enabling certain weighted buttons, with you needing 2 or more to have enough power to push a button down.
These new power-ups, mixed with the game’s fantastic level design, make for a great experience, stage designs feel fluent and satisfying to get through, secrets are fun to collect and the focus on finding the hidden stars make you explore parts of stages you normally wouldn’t touch without the goal of finding them.
But before entering a stage, you’ll get the choice between 4 separate characters with unique abilities: Mario, Luigi, Toad and Peach, all abilities returning from Super Mario 2. Mario features his basic move-set and weight, being the simplest of the 4, Luigi features a floatier though much larger jump, Toad features an increased speed, and Peach has her iconic power to float in the air for a short while before falling to the ground. Each character adds a unique way to play, making each stage feel different depending on the character you pick, and making each playthrough feel new if you were to play as a different character.
The playable characters are also where this “Enhanced” port fumbles the most. Each character now has an increased speed, with all of them now walking and running twice as fast as they did in the original. While not initially bad, it becomes increasingly infuriating when you realize nothing else has changed to suit this tweak. Enemies are just as slow as they were in the original, making it difficult to land on them when with one slight move of the stick, your character can move and jolt right into their path and get hit. Platforming is also affected by this change, and some challenges can now be completely bypassed thanks to the speed increase, allowing you to completely jump off the obstacles with enough speed, and making certain stages feel broken.
Visual, Sound and Performance
Visually, 3D World isn’t much different from its original release, models are sharper, and textures can be nicer but it’s mostly unchanged. This doesn’t take away from the already charming visuals though as stages are colorful, vibrant and fantastical feeling to go through, and accompanied by the game’s amazing soundtrack, the game can make you feel just as bubbly as the world its story is told through. Large orchestral tracks fill 3D Worlds stages, from bombastic scores to faster and bouncier scores, and it can always feel fresh and fun with its large array of sounds and visuals to catch your eye.
3D World’s performance is once again where issues appear though. 3D World runs at 30fps docked and 60fps handheld, with stutters all too frequent at times. Throughout many of 3D World’s larger stages, slow down can appear, mixed with the increased speed of characters, this can make platforming annoying. These issues are only present in this version on improved hardware which makes this issue even more disappointing. While it’s not too frequent to ruin the experience as a whole, certain stages can feel bogged down by this issue and can make the game feel not so “enhanced” as they say it is.
Story and Voice Acting
While on a stroll through the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario (voiced by Charles Martinet) comes across a splattered “M”, the same he encountered on his vacation in Ile Delfino. Before he can investigate further, the floor opens up beneath him dropping him into Lake Lapcat, a once vibrant lake surrounded world now in chaos as Bowser (Kenny James) lets out his built-up rage on the land from all the years of losing to Mario. The rage manifests into a black goo covering the islands and Bowser himself, much like the magic paint Mario encountered all those years back. It’s now up to Mario to free the island from Bowser’s grip but he won’t be going at it alone. As much as he doesn’t want to, a frightened and beat down Bowser Jr. (Caety Sagoian) joins forces with Mario, armed with his trusty paintbrush.
Bowser’s Fury’s story isn’t as minimal as 3D World’s story as it isn’t the biggest of stories, but that doesn’t stop it from being as enjoyable as expected from a Mario story. Told through cutscenes with a focus on visual storytelling, Bowser’s Fury is a visual treat, watching Jr frantically trying to explain everything to Mario and watching a gargantuan Bowser emerge from the depths never gets old. Once again, backed by small quips and minimal voice acting, it’s always fun to get another chunk of the story told to you.
Unlike 3D World, Bowser’s Fury takes a much more open approach to its gameplay, with it being one of the most open games in the Mario franchise. All worlds and stages are seamlessly connected on the large open map of Lake Lapcat with all stages being triggered upon walking through the cat eared gate out the front of each, and then it being your choice on what stage you’ll take on first. In these stages you’ll be tackling several challenges all rewarding in a “Cat Sprite”, much like the “Shine Sprites” in Super Mario Sunshine. These rewards/collectables will not only open up more of the world, but also clear much of the back goo taking over the island, brightening the world. These challenges won’t be without danger though as the black mass that covers the island will periodically grow, unraveling the monster-sized Bowser. During this emergence, Bowser will let out an all-out attack on Mario, turning the world dark, breathing fire and dropping pillars of rock on the map. This can be used to your advantage though as certain Cat Sprites can only be collected during this encounter. While more difficult to collect, these Sprites offer up a worthy challenge to anyone looking for something a bit more difficult. The Cat Sprites won’t just be picking up dust in Mario’s pocket though as when enough are collected, the “Mega Bell” will become obtainable during Bowser’s next rampage, allowing Mario to grow to Bowser’s size in the new Lion Suit, and letting you start one of the several boss fights and take back more of the island.
Bowser’s Fury is a fresh feeling take on the Mario formula, more open than ever, and as vibrant as ever, with tight controls and funny obstacles and interesting new gimmicks. Bowser’s Fury never dulls throughout its large seamless map, constantly being a tight and responsive romp through one of Mario’s most unique worlds.
Visual, Sound and Performance
Bowser’s Fury’s visuals aren’t much changed from 3D World but, that isn’t much of a bad thing. The beautifully colorful landscapes are still just as amazing to explore as it was in 3D World. Vibrant beaches, fiery volcanos and calming ruins fill the land of Lake Lapcat, making each turn a treat for the eyes. Once again, a beautiful orchestral score engulfs the world, making each stage even more magical than they already are.
Bowser’s Fury’s performance is luckily smoother than 3D Worlds, with 60fps while docked and 30fps while handheld. Drops in fps are kept to a minimum with them feeling much rarer this time around, making the experience overall feel much smoother. Accompanied by the game’s tight controls, platforming, dashing and exploring the world always feels consistently good.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury:
The package as a whole feels perfect for newcomers to the original title while also offering something new to all, giving something worth purchasing it, even if you’d played 3D World during its original release. It’s truly one of the best games to port to the system, bundled with one of the best Mario titles on the system.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s fury is a consistently fun and engrossing package. I can wholeheartedly recommend to not only newcomers but those who already experienced the original, whether to play the wonderful 3D World again or to play the fantastic new title.