Super Mario 3D World reviews call Bowser's Fury a flawed experiment

The first wave of reviews is overwhelmingly positive.

Yet another Wii U game has come to Nintendo Switch. Super Mario 3D World is the latest game to make the jump, giving the black sheep of 3D Mario games another shot on a more popular platform. It even features Bowser's Fury, a new open-ended level that fuses the styles of Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario Odyssey together.

The first wave of reviews has been published on video game sites like Video Games Chronicle, IGN, GameSpot, and Game Informer ahead of the February 12 release date. The response to Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is resoundingly positive.

Super Mario 3D World is not only finally getting the praise it deserves, but Bowser's Fury is getting well-received as an experimental blend of very different 3D Mario games.

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What do reviewers think of Super Mario 3D World?

Admittedly the re-release part of this package didn't get many enhancements outside of slightly improved performance that makes the game smoother and faster and online play. Still, these reviews give the 2013 game a second wind of appreciation. Video Games Chronicle gave Super Mario 3D + Bowser's Fury 5 out of 5 stars, in part because of how solid the Wii U game is.

"Super Mario 3D World feels like an outlier next to the series’ greatest hits, yet it also channels the best bits of all of them," the review reads. In particular, it highlights how the game "trims away the fat and gets to the core of the Mario fun" with stages that all have "a new mechanic or a setup for players to master before promptly dropping it for the next."

Other reviews from sites like Game Informer also praise this design choice. Each level has a gimmick, but reviews agree that they never really feel underdeveloped or overstay their welcome. Super Mario 3D World never gets boring and appears to be just as fun in 2021 as it was in 2013.

IGN's 7 out of 10 review is the most critical of Super Mario 3D World: "Despite sharing some design principles with Super Mario Galaxy, for instance, 3D World feels a lot more staid," it reads. "3D World’s presentation means that even transitions lack the dynamism and excitement that naturally come hand in hand with galaxy-hopping."

If you like the more open-ended nature of other 3D Mario games and even the level-based Galaxy titles, Super Mario 3D World might not be for you. If you're just looking for lots of well-designed linear levels to play with friends, this Wii U re-release is still worth your time.

What do reviewers think of Bowser's Fury?

For those that already own 3D World on Wii U, Bowser's Fury will be the main draw. As the most significant new addition, it is also the main focus of many of the reviews. It's a surprisingly meaty add-on that Video Games Chronicle estimating that it can last players up to 6 hours.

"If Super Mario 3D World is classic Mario platforming at its most polished, Bowser's Fury is the series at its most experimental," GameSpot's 9 out of 10 review proclaims. It also praises the mode's coin bank system that lets players spend the coins they collect on power-ups they need in a pinch.

Praise was also given to the segments where Bowser emerges and chases the player. "The idea lends itself to playing with scale, and seeing the world transformed in this way is a thrill," GameSpot's review says. Game Informer agrees, saying that these sections give a "white-knuckled thrill unlike most other battles in this two-game package."

IGN was a bit more critical of these sections because they are "heavy on Godzilla vibes but extremely light on excitement and gameplay." Overall, IGN found Bowser's Fury "doesn’t feel that essential."

Despite some critiques, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury currently sits at a 90 on review aggregate sites Metacritic and OpenCritic. Many reviews still found the charm in the 7-year-old Wii U game and found Bowser's Fury to be an experimental blend of Super Mario 3D World and Super Mario Odyssey.

While the endless stream of Wii U ports on Nintendo Switch can be a bit tiring, it's clear Super Mario 3D World was worth bringing over. Nintendo also used the opportunity to experiment with Bowser's Fury, and hopefully, those developments pay off in future 3D Mario games.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury will be released for Nintendo Switch on February 12, 2021.

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