Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury Review
It’s no secret that the Wii U has been a disappointment for Nintendo, standing as one of the company’s best-selling video game consoles to date. But even as the Wii U struggles to connect with fans, it still has an impressive library of exclusive games, which Nintendo is pulling from to bolster the Switch’s own first-party lineup. The latest Wii U game to make the jump to the Nintendo Switch is Super Mario 3D World via Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, but it contains more new content than most Wii U Switch ports. Anyone who has played extensively through Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U will likely be more interested in the Bowser’s Fury side of the equation. Bowser’s Fury is a standalone adventure that plays like a mix of more linear Super Mario 3D World-style levels and sandbox Super Mario games like Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Odyssey. It’s a short but sweet adventure, giving Super Mario fans at least three to five hours of high-quality 3D platforming gameplay. In Bowser’s Fury, players explore Lake Lapcat, a large body of water with islands. Each island has its own secrets and platforming challenges for players to complete, with the ultimate goal of collecting Cat Shines. It’s like an open world take on Super Mario, and it shows that there’s a ton of potential for future games in the series to expand on the concept. Mario collects the Cat Shines in Bowser’s Fury to remove the toxic black sludge from the ground and restore the aptly named Fury Bowser. A monstrous monster, Fury Bowser looks like he’s ripped from a kaiju movie, with his mere presence summoning violent storms. Fury Bowser will periodically appear as players explore Lake Lapcat, hindering Mario’s progress with fireballs and bad weather. He will leave after a certain amount of time, or players can chase him away by collecting Cat Shine, which also takes a piece from his health bar. Collecting enough Cat Shines allows Mario to use the Giga Bell, a brand new powerup exclusive to Bowser’s Fury. Using the Giga Bell, Mario transforms into a skyscraper-sized version of Cat Mario, with spiky blonde hair clearly inspired by the Super Saiyans of Dragon Ball Z. Giga Cat Mario can fight Fury Bowser , smashing him with objects and slamming the ground into his exposed stomach to drain his health bar and send him back to the mud. Doing this enough times will cause Fury Bowser to flee to a new area, opening up another part of the map. There are three main areas of Lake Lapcat for players to explore in Bowser’s Fury, with a total of 100 Cat Shines to collect. It’s a lot of fun while it lasts, and it will leave fans hungry for a fully open-world Super Mario experience. However, there are a few quirks in Bowser’s Fury that prevent it from reaching its full potential, with the game’s flaws having to do with Bowser’s Fury gimmick. Fury Bowser pops up from Lake Lapcat quite often, and while it looks annoying, he’s not a big enough threat to really cause problems for players. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid his fire shots, but hitting them won’t knock Mario off platforms or anything – it just does damage. And with the ability for players to bank up to five of each Bowser’s Fury power-up, it’s easy to pop one right away to negate any damage Bowser’s Fury does. The problem is that there are some Cat Shines that can only be collected when Fury Bowser is present. There are Fury Blocks located on each island that can only be destroyed by Bowser’s fire, and there is a floating island of five Cat Shines, which players can only get one at a time before Bowser leaves and the island disappears with him. This means that players have to literally stand around and wait for things to happen, which is completely at odds with the rest of the game’s design. Super Mario’s philosophy is go-go-go, so it’s surprising that Nintendo included Cat Shines like this. If players prioritize rushing the Fury Blocks when Bowser is around and head straight for the floating island, they can save themselves some waiting around and doing nothing, however. As players hunt down all the Cat Shines in Bowser’s Fury, they can be joined by a second player who controls Bowser Jr. Mario’s long-time enemy is his friend in this latest adventure, along with Bowser Jr. to find secrets in the game world, defeat enemies, and go to hard-to-reach places. A Bowser Jr. controlled AI will join Mario if a second player isn’t available, and thankfully, players will be able to customize how much he tries to help. Playing as Bowser Jr. in Bowser’s Fury is an experience somewhere between a proper co-op mode and the more passive co-op mode seen in previous Super Mario games. Playing as Bowser Jr. is more engaging than, say, playing as the star pointer in Super Mario Galaxy or as Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey, but the second player still shouldn’t expect to have nearly as much fun as the person playing as Mario. Bowser’s Fury does not make playing as Bowser Jr. as a full co-op experience, but it’s not necessary. Bowser Jr. is just there. to provide support, helping Mario to give players more control over the game’s difficulty. If players want more co-op, they can check out the Super Mario 3D World part of the package, which offers more content and some notable improvements over the original Wii U release. Super Mario 3D World is more or less exactly what fans will remember from 2013. It’s a more linear take on the classic Super Mario 3D platforming gameplay, with the main goal of just getting to the end of each stage. The difference between Super Mario 3D World and other Super Mario games, however, is that it supports up to 4-player co-op throughout the game, which can be as fun as it is chaotic. The Nintendo Switch version of Super Mario 3D World improves the co-op experience compared to the original game, incorporating online co-op support and adding co-op to sections that previously lacked it. For example, Captain Toad’s bonus levels in Super Mario 3D World can now be played by up to four players, whereas they were limited to the first player on the original Wii U. Super Mario 3D World on the Switch is a superior co-op experience to the original game, but the improvements don’t stop there. Nintendo also made Super Mario 3D World play faster, increasing character speed significantly. While the faster characters in Super Mario 3D World on Switch may not seem like much, they do a lot to improve the game’s pacing. The changes made to Super Mario 3D World on Switch are mostly positive, although admittedly, the Wii U Gamepad’s touchscreen functionality is missed in certain game levels. However, the benefits of the Switch version are greater than the Gamepad, due to the increased speed and online co-op support that makes Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury the best way to play the game. Bowser’s Fury is great while it lasts, but it’s admittedly short, so the high price tag of Super Mario 3D World on Switch might be hard to swallow for those who’ve already played on Wii U. The double-dipping makes more sense for someone who wants to take advantage of Super Mario 3D World’s online co-op functionality, but other returning players may want to wait for a sale. However, anyone who hasn’t played Super Mario 3D World on Wii U should go out and buy Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury on Switch right away, because it’s an amazing Super Mario 3D platforming experience with enough content to keep fans engaged. week. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is out now, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.