Feels like it's going to be a Mario sort of week, doesn't it? We'll see how things go, but for today's Thought, let's talk about everyone's favorite mustached plumber! As always, thanks for reading.
The rumors about Mario's 35th anniversary are running wild today. Multiple sources are claiming that a bunch of Mario titles are going to see re-releases and remasters for the big event. Included in the mix will supposedly be Super Mario 3D World, one of the few big-name Wii U games that hasn't made the jump to Switch. If the rumor does turn out to be true, I say it's about damn time!
Super Mario 3D World is a continuation from Super Mario 3D Land, both of which aimed to be the long-lost crossover title between Mario's classic 2D adventures and his journey into 3D with Super Mario 64. The jump back in the day from 2D to 3D was absolutely astonishing, but it also asked a lot more of the player. Those who didn't game often but were familiar with Mario had quite a hard time playing Super Mario 64, so much so that it pushed some players away. Nintendo has long wanted to create a title that married both Mario play-styles, which brings us back to Super Mario 3D Land/World.
The big difference with Super Mario 3D World over Land is both in terms of the adventure's scale, and the ability to have four players in on the fun. There's a ton to see in do in Super Mario 3D World, and having friends along for the fun only makes it better. Don't get me wrong; Super Mario 3D Land is an amazing game in its own right, and really knocked it out of the park for the 3DS. That said, Super Mario 3D World really ups the experience in every way.
Super Mario 3D Land was the first step to bridging the 2D and 3D Mario gameplay styles, but Super Mario 3D World showed off that approach on the big screen. It lets 4 players run around in 3D environments and asks them to travel in and out of the play field, rather than just side-to-side. With that said, the controls are kept much simpler, and camera work isn't a thing players have to worry about. It truly feels like a gameplay solution to ease old-school fans into Mario's bigger and more expansive 3D adventures.
I can see why Super Mario 3D World hasn't made its way to Switch yet, even if I'm saddened that it hasn't. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe brings over 2D Mario action from the Wii U because Mario didn't have any other 2D titles on the Switch at that time. Super Mario 3D World was most likely held back due to Super Mario Odyssey. Super Mario Odyssey was meant to be one of the flagship games on the Switch, and they wouldn't want to muddy the waters with another 3D Mario title, even if the two play quite differently.
Now that Super Mario Odyssey has had ample time on the market to itself, and Mario's 35th anniversary is gearing up, it does seem like the right time to give the game another chance at bigger success. Super Mario 3D World was no slouch in the sales department on Wii U, especially when considering the platform's install base, but there's no doubt it could find a much larger audience on Switch. Nintendo could very well leave the game in the past and forge ahead, but hopefully today's rumors show that won't be the case.
In all honesty, I think Super Mario 3D World deserves another chance based on its content alone. Nintendo's design philosophy of merging classic and modern Mario provided a game that felt familiar, yet different. A bit of both approaches made for something new and interesting. A bit more exploration than you'd expect from a 2D Mario, and a lot less complex in terms of controls than a 3D Mario. Working within restrictions is always a strong point for Nintendo, and they managed to come up with tons of unique settings, level layouts, and power-ups to give Super Mario 3D World its own flavor and style.
The one thing that truly screams out at me with Super Mario 3D World is fun. All mainline Mario games are oodles of fun, but Super Mario 3D World really drives that point home. The environments are absolutely bursting with color, the obstacles are simple yet engaging, the characters give you different ways to play, and the later stages show off a wonderful amalgamation of all ideas that came before them. It's really hard to not have a smile on your face when playing Super Mario 3D World, as the game is just so damn joyful from start to finish.
That's not to mention the game's soundtrack, which is absolutely stellar. It's definitely a more old-school approach to Mario music, with a focus on tunes that are quick, punchy, and memorable. There's a few real instruments thrown throughout, but you don't get the grand, sweeping, orchestral soundtracks that Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 gave you. It's also a different type of soundtrack from Super Mario Odyssey, which had a huge variety and grandiose approach. It's a more humble style of soundtrack, but it totally jives with Super Mario 3D World. To be completely honest, I enjoy Super Mario 3D World's soundtrack to Odyssey's by a large margin!
I've caught flak for saying I find the soundtrack in 3D World to be better than Odyssey, but obviously there's no wrong answer there. The same goes for the overall enjoyment I get from both games. I really do adore Odyssey, and had a lot of trouble putting it down. That said, for me, I actually prefer Super Mario 3D World. I think it has something to do with my predilection to quick level-based challenges rather than big, sprawling environments. I loved exploring all the locations of Odyssey, but I personally had more fun bouncing from level to level in Super Mario 3D World. I actually prefer the Super Mario Galaxy approach to both, but again, it's all just a matter of personal taste. I'm not saying I'm right/wrong, but I'm being honest about what I derive the most enjoyment from.
Regardless of what 3D Mario game you think is better, I think we can all agree that Super Mario 3D World would be more than welcome on Switch. So, so many Mario fans missed out on the game because they didn't have a Wii U, and that's a damn shame. With the Switch being so well suited to multiplayer and 3D World's more 2D-like approach to level design, it's practically begging to find its way to Nintendo's latest hardware. I'm crossing all fingers and toes that Nintendo feels the same way. I have a sneaking suspicion they do, and hopefully we all find out soon!