Source: USA TODAY
If your family includes video games as part of family fun time, Super Mario 3D World is a must-buy. This charming game is a blast to play alone, but it radiates fun when explored with family and friends.
Super Mario 3D World is the newest platform puzzler from Nintendo, featuring Mario, the world’s most famous Italian plumber. Also playable are Mario’s brother Luigi, their good friend Princess Peach and a speedy little fellow named Toad.
The game takes place in the world of the Sprixie Kingdom. A greatly distressed fairy called Sprixie Princess comes to the Mushroom Kingdom through a clear tube in the ground. While she is asking for help from Mario and his friends, Bowser, Mario’s old nemesis, erupts out of the tube to nab Sprixie Princess and trap her and other fairies in glass jars. Trying to rescue the fairies from this entrapment, Princess Peach reaches into the tube, only to fall in. Being heroes, Mario, Luigi and Toad follow; and so the adventure begins.
For kids and families new to playing a Mario game, this is a game about exploring different 3-D-themed worlds (grasslands, desert, mountains and more) by working your way through numerous levels within each world. These fantasy worlds are presented as islands on a map.
The characters make their way through the levels by running and jumping through landscapes filled with enemies and environmental puzzles. How do you jump repeatedly to get to a hard-to-reach spot storing a much-needed green star? Can you avoid or defeat things like potted Piranha Plants that try to eat you or giant birds called Conkdors that try to peck you with their beaks?
Clearing a level involves strategy, timing and trial-and-error as you discover hidden power-ups, clear tubes, secret rooms and weaknesses of new enemies. All the while, the player will be collecting coins, the currency of this world, which can buy you new lives. A level is linear, with the goal of reaching a flagpole before running out of time.
Friends and family can easily join Super Mario 3D World, since it features drop-in, drop-out controls for up to four players. When others are playing with you, all the players share lives. The game has a fantastic feature for newbies who have trouble navigating a section. Once they fail, they will appear inside a bubble trailing behind the lead player. They can stay afloat, watching others traverse the landscape, and then pop their bubble when they feel safe playing again.
While the multiplayer aspect is basically cooperative, the game also gives bragging rights to those who like to compete. At the end of each multiplayer level, a score is presented (tallying coins collected, enemies defeated, etc.) and the winner is awarded a crown to wear in the next level.
Mario lovers will enjoy exploring the game alone, switching characters, finding hidden treasures and reveling in the details that pay homage to earlier games. However, this game is at its best when played with others, creating a laugh-out-loud funfest as players don cat suits by finding the Super Bell power-ups. In this form, characters can scramble up walls (very helpful!) and slide into and pounce on enemies. Also wild is the double cherries power-up that creates clones of your character. It is possible to have six or more Marios running around at the same time. It’s crazy, frenetic fun.
Platform: Wii U