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Games : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: November 22nd, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

Super Mario 3D World

Overview -

Once again Nintendo's plumber is out to save a damsel in distress, only this time it's the Wii U. Peach, Toad and Luigi are along for the ride in the first cooperative 3D Mario game, 'Super Mario 3D World.' As a direct sequel to the 3DS title, 'Super Mario 3D Land,' this latest adventure isn't releasing with quite the same fanfare as the phenomenal 'Super Mario Galaxy' titles, but leading up to the release, trailers and gameplay footage have shown off convincing evidence of the franchise's ever-fertile creativity. The Wii U certainly needs Mario back to form, and it falls on Nintendo to produce another gem, one that is distinct enough from the other 2D Mario Wii U titles to be considered a system-seller.

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p
Release Date:
November 22nd, 2013

Video Review

Ranking:

When the consolation to taking damage is the ridiculously adorable miniaturization of your character, that's charm. Adapting the visual style from 'Super Mario 3D Land' with the Wii U's hardware has resulted in nothing short of spellbinding results. This is the first time I've really seen Nintendo make a strong effort with lighting and particle effects, which combined with Mario's inherently captivating visual language create a jubilant atmosphere. Little touches, like the cartoonish dustup in the wake of Mario's run, or the way a Koopa frantically runs around in search of his shell, create character in the world and its players when a sterile avatar could have dampened the effect. And it's sharp, real sharp, with nary a hiccup to break the illusion.

The only downside is the structure of the game, as a direct siphon from level to level, doesn't have much character in the narrative department, which means the visuals are naturally limited. Some levels are absolutely compelling. A venture through an Asian dojo or a trip through Bowser's nefarious carnival are wonderful deviations from the stock snowy or desert areas, but it doesn't really tie together in a meaningful way. The 'Galaxy' titles and even 'Super Mario Sunshine' are better implemented examples of Nintendo's game-wide themes.

Audio Review

Ranking:

The music of Mario invokes in me a pure joy. It always has, and as the years go on, I imagine it will continue to do so with more intensity as my yearning for nostalgia becomes more feverish. 'Super Mario 3D World' surges forward with a sprawling musical intelligence, somehow simultaneously matching the tone of an individual level, whether it's the quirky Cat-themed levels or harrowing lava lakes, with endless optimism throughout. Some tracks are cherry-picked from previous games, most notably the rousing score of 'Super Mario Galaxy' in later levels. Fans of the past series will be pleased certain inspirations don't go unvisited.

If the visuals were lacking in a cohesive theme, it's made up for with sound, but that theme is simple. Have fun, take it in, be in awe. I might even describe the orchestral tracks present here a top-of-form in all entertainment, not just games, which just goes to show how even the audio is not left out of the all-out presentation of this flagship title.

The first mistake you can make is to judge 'Super Mario 3D World' on what it's lacking than what it brings to the table. This is not 'Super Mario Galaxy 3,' but it doesn't need to be. Utilizing the more traditional geometry from 'Super Mario 3D Land,' Nintendo's designers have given themselves a pre-constructed canvas upon which to dispel their captivating ideas. Without the developmental burden of a dramatically changed visual style or tone, those ideas are translated into substantive flourishes of clearly bustling minds, though that isn't to undermine the gorgeous, HD-aided visuals.

Every new level is just that. Every new idea is squeezed of its potential just before turning dry. Nintendo has finally achieved the cooperative play it was looking for in 'New Super Mario Bros.,' and Mario continues to prove that regardless of the big N's evermore questionable hardware direction, Nintendo remains a premier software developer at the top of its game. 'Super Mario 3D World' does no wrong.

I'll be humming those tunes in my head for a very long time.

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