Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury: Review

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Switch

While the Wii U was certainly some dark times for Nintendo, there’s no denying that the first party offerings were just as stellar as ever. You know that with how much of the system’s library has released on the Switch over the past 4 years with the latest being Mario’s main 3D adventure on the system.

I remember covering the game back in 2013 and was generally impressed with what was on offer but ultimately the game felt like a step back from the series previous offering with Galaxy, but at that point Wii U owners were so starved for new titles we were more than happy to play it. The game centred around Bowser being a general nuisance and kidnapping the sprixies from the Sprixie Kingdom and it is up to Mario and friends to save the day, the game was the follow up to 3D Land on the 3DS, with many of the same features including a large number of powerups from the Tanooki suit to the brand new Cat Suit

Booting it up on Switch in 2021 does bring a sense of hindsight though, after playing through the HD ports of Sunshine, the original Galaxy and of course Odyssey these past few years, going back to 3D World feels almost archaic. Firstly, Mario’s Moveset in this game is incredibly restrictive, as I was playing I was frequently wondering why Mario wasn’t throwing his hat or even just twirling while he jumped, in fact Mario’s jumps in this game feel incredibly floaty and inaccurate compared to other titles, it isn’t helped with the camera angles not giving me proper depth perception.

In terms of performance, it’s identical to the original version in regards to framerate, presentation-wise, It’s pretty much a straight port of the Wii U version with the only motion controls being used to replicate the Gamepad touch moments, holding the shoulder button brings up a pointer that you use to interact with the built-in gyros. This is one time I would rather undock the game and just use the touch controls on the Switch’s gamepad.

While 3D World isn’t the most robust Mario title, it’s far from being inferior introducing aspects like the Cat Suit, the adorable Captain Toad and of course 4 player multiplayer. The Switch version does expand on that with Online Co-op but we were unable to try that out at the time of this review

But the reason why we are all here is for the brand new expansion in “Bowser’s Fury”. While 3D World’s camera controls and levels were fairly restrictive, Bowser’s Fury is a full open world level similar to Odyssey, essentially forming a bridge between the two titles with it having the features of the newer iteration like just losing coins at death. Which begs the question why they even decided to keep the lives in the main game, one turtle exploit and several minutes of your time and you’ll have more lives than you know what to do with.

Falling down a black portal Mario finds himself in a brand new world with an angry giant Bowser and a worried Junior who needs your help calming his father down with the help of Cat Shines. While you can play as Bowser Jr in co-op, there is no way to play as him in single-player mode, he instead offers help in combat as well as holding onto multiple power-ups.

As Mario is completing numerous missions to collect cat shines like races or reuniting a poor crying cat with her kittens, Bowser will sometimes poke his head up, turn the sky all gloomy and rain destruction on you for like a minute. Honestly, this is more a hindrance than anything else before you unlock the new giant kitty bell and are just looking to collect the shinies.

While Bowser’s Fury is an impressive addition to 3D World, it will barely clock in any more than 6 hours of playthrough which in this reviewers opinion, really doesn’t justify double-dipping. I wouldn’t say 3D World is an inferior Mario title but it is absolutely standing in the shadows of its bigger bros. But if you were one of the many who never purchased the Wii U version, 3D World with Bowser’s Fury does offer that classic Mario platforming fun, but I wouldn’t blame you if you pop in Odyssey right afterwards….

Bowser’s Fury is a stellar expansion
3D World hasn’t aged like other Mario titles
Camera and controls feel restrictive
Bowser’s Fury only lasts a few hours