The Switch is the home of Mario, thanks to Nintendo’s push to get all of the plumber’s games on the hybrid system. The original three games in the franchise are available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers through the NES emulator, and Super Mario World is in the neighboring SNES catalogue.
Super Mario 3D All Stars has Mario 64, Sunshine and Galaxy, while a port of New Super Mario Bros U was already brought the system in January of 2019.
Super Mario 3D World was left as the odd man out, one of the few mainline Mario titles not available on the Switch. The only other major titles on that short list are Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros for Wii, and some of the handheld titles.
As such, the release of the Switch port of 3D World, complete with the all-new Bowser’s Fury coda, has Mario fans excited. The Switch is the home for all things Mario.
3D World was already one of the best Wii U games, blending old and new concepts alike to make a unique and engrossing Mario title that reads like a love letter to the series. The fixed cameras and linear levels are reminiscent of side-scrolling entries, while the constant shuffling of mechanics and focus on “playground”-style levels feels like Galaxy and its excellent sequel.
The game plays beautifully, too: it’s been sped up slightly for the Switch, and Mario controls like a dream. Tight movement, satisfying platforming and excellent powerups make this a journey you’ll be glad to have gone on.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of the series or not, the game assumes you know what to expect in a Mario game, and respects the player enough to keep throwing them curveballs.
Fun with Friends
This entry also brings back the wacky multiplayer fun of the New Super Mario Bros titles, this time grafting it onto the 3D gameplay of games like Mario 64.
It’s exhilarating and infuriating all at once as you work with (and against) your couch co-op buddies to clear the levels and defeat Bowser’s minions.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing in this package is the new epilogue to the game, Bowser’s Fury. On its own, this mini-campaign could serve as a proof of concept for 3D Mario as interpreted by Breath of the Wild.
Rather than dividing the platforming and encounters up behind the old-school level breaks, like 3D World does, it goes fully in the opposite direction, presenting everything on an open expanse of an island, with no loading screens in sight.
This is exciting, as it could hint at the future of 3D Mario. Breath of the Wild blew critics and fans of Zelda away in 2017, its open gameplay redefining the series even after 30 years in the spotlight.
Now, with Bowser’s Fury, Nintendo may be suggesting that it’s willing to do the same thing with its flagship company mascot.
Even if they don’t, the mini-campaign is great fun by itself. Adventuring across the island, tackling challenges and ducking attacks from Kaiju Mega Bowser is all terribly engrossing. Time will tell whether Nintendo chooses to pursue this gameplay style as the future of the Mario series, or if it will remain an interesting footnote in the company’s history.