I’ve had Nintendo’s Wii U console since February, but there haven’t been very many games exclusive for the system that have been worth buying. Perhaps it is for this reason that both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, which have been out for less than a month, have both already outsold the Wii U. Now a game has come out, though, that makes the Wii U worth picking up.
Super Mario 3D World is Nintendo’s new flagship game for their home console. I don’t think Nintendo has put out a bad Super Mario game in years - Super Mario Galaxy and the New Super Mario Bros games have been fantastic, but Super Mario 3D World is certainly the most beautiful game Mario has ever starred in.
The world this game presents is one of perfectly saturated cartoon colors, with fantastic and cohesive art direction, all operating at a smooth 60 frames per second. The game’s soundtrack matches perfectly, alternating between big band jazz and swelling orchestral tracks.
Unlike New Super Mario Bros, which was a 2D side-scrolling platform game, Super Mario 3D World is more like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, giving Mario a full 3D range of motion.
New to this game, though, are a few power-ups that haven’t yet been seen in a Mario game before. First and most prominent is the bell that turns Mario into a cat. He can swipe his claws at enemies and climb up walls and trees with ease. My favorite new power-up, though, is the double cherry. Pick one up, and your one Mario becomes two. Pick up another and two Marios are now three. You control all of them simultaneously, which is actually a lot easier than it sounds. The game manages to teach you how to do all of this without ever presenting you with a tutorial.
Super Mario 3D World is a nearly perfect Mario game. It is hard to believe the attention to detail Nintendo has applied here. This game has moved the Wii U up in my collection from a curiosity to essential, and is the one game every Wii U owner should have.