Over the past four years, More than half of the Wii U’s first-party output has reappeared on the Switch. From the outset, demand for Super Mario 3D World has been in high demand. That’s because 3D World has the secret sauce.

You can find back and forth discourse over which “brand” of Mario game is best, but point to 3D World and you’ll struggle to find disagreement.

Perhaps that’s why the new Switch version arrived the way it has. Even those of us who played through the first time around have reasons to revisit this game, and it isn’t just the big bonus.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury Review

Super Mario 3D World was curious right away; a sequel of sorts to the 3DS’ 3D Land, this Nintendo adventure combines classic convention, new ideas, iteration and clever homage all into one substantive package.

This new version, despite not having “Deluxe” in its title, includes its own subtle adjustments that still set it aside from its original state.

This includes a flat speed boost to player movement, making some of the more frantic challenges more manageable, in a way that feels organic. We’re also looking at changes made to smooth over rough edges left by expired features like the MiiVerse, and adapting to the way things are now with online multiplayer.

Online multiplayer in particular is a huge boon to Mario 3D World. This isn’t just a cooperative romp through new levels, challenges, secrets and power-ups.

There’s a competitive edge to it, and tons of room for self-imposed challenges. Being able to form up with people beyond your local crew (even if we pretend there’s no pandemic) adds a new potential for this game’s shelf life.

But this talk about revisiting Super Mario 3D World only goes so far. The Wii U context means uncharacteristically low adoption. That’s just how things went down.

So for the much healthier Switch ecosystem, millions will be experiencing the game for the first time. They’ll be checking out the bizarre power-ups such as the popular cat bell and the ridiculous double cherry.

They’ll be experiencing four-person multiplayer in a Mario game that isn’t a side-scroller. And they’ll be hearing the dopest piece of music associated with Bowser that has ever been composed.

It’s good stuff, folks.

All that said, Super Mario 3D World isn’t full of Content the same way a game that had DLC previously, like a Mario Kart 8 or Tokyo Mirage Sessions. So for the members of the gaming community looking for big reasons to double-dip, they may be looking at this and wondering why.

That’s where Bowser’s Fury comes in.  

Nintendo has done this kind of thing a few times, particularly with the 3DS Mario & Luigi remakes. But Bowser’s Fury is much more substantial, coming off as a full, new game of its own despite its relatively smaller size.

I’ve already explored what Bowser’s Fury is in a holistic kind of sense in a feature, but in terms of a consumer review we’re looking at around 5 (give or take) hours of brand new Super Mario gaming. 

While it uses the 3D World tools as its framework, Bowser’s Fury has a totally distinct structure. It takes a traditional Super Mario experience but squeezes it down onto a single map, around the size (eyeballing it) of a Super Mario Odyssey world.

But it’s largely a series of land masses surrounded by water, forming small “worlds” that have a small list of individual challenges. 

Related: Every 3D Super Mario Game Ranked From Worst to Best

There you’ll find little microcosms of Super Mario gameplay, but the whole time you’ll be hunted down by a kaiju-like interpretation of Bowser. He’ll harass you at random intervals, and when he’s attacking you’ll have significant environmental changes and even situations in which Bowser will open up new routes and rewards (if you survive).

These high energy bursts really pair well with this thing’s scale, providing a little extra depth to the game’s real estate despite its size.

Bowser’s Fursy is still a bonus, a small chunk of extra game that’s less of a selling point and more of a nice little extra you get for showing up.

But considering that, it’s way more substantial than one may have expected before getting their hands on it. That probably explains the amount of attention and speculation the mode has attracted, regardless of what the truth of it may actually be.

It’s exciting! We haven’t really seen something like this before.

Related: Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review | A Curious Collection

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is almost like a bookend on the Wii U port trend. It’s perhaps the most substantial argument for the practice, which has been an occasional topic of debate.

It shows that Nintendo wants to do more than just recoup ostensible losses from an underperforming platform. It shows a belief in these titles’ quality, and an initiative to still try new and interesting things to make the deal sweeter.

By itself, 3D World is a game absolutely crucial for any Super Mario fan, and having it on such an appealing platform as the Switch is hard evidence that the hardware does matter. With Bowser’s Fury and little updates like online play, it makes this the definitive way to play one of Nintendo’s biggest and best individual platformers.

But now that we’ve fully established Cat Mario as an important part of the Mario canon, it’s time to move on to a new animal. 

If Cat Mario is a Goku, then what could something like Dog Mario be? I vote Kamen Rider. Give Mario a Henshin belt, Nintendo. Hit us up on Twitter for your take!


Pros:

  • Everything the Wii U game was and more

Cons:

  • Slight performance issues in Bowser's Fury

Score: 10

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.