Nintendo Switch Review: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

It’s-a-nother-port! But is there more to it?

The cat’s out of the bag, Super Mario 3D World is on to the Nintendo Switch system. Pounce and climb through dozens of colorful stages! Mario (and his friends) can use power-ups like the Super Bell, which grants catlike abilities, like climbing and scratching. Work together locally or online with up to three other players to reach the goaland to see who can get a high score. The Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury game features the same great co-op gameplay, creative levels and power-ups as the original game, but also so much more.

Super Mario 3D World was one of the great Wii U titles and as such was underappreciated as was the system itself, so it’s no wonder that most of the Wii U’s back catalogue have made the jump to the popular Nintendo Switch but no port so far has gone to the extra lengths that this entry has with the addition of Bowser’s Fury which is worth the price alone.

As you would expect, Super Mario 3D World has had a few performance improvements but remains more or less identical to the Wii U version. This is no bad thing; it was a superb looking game back then and still looks impressive overall. Playing in co-op is still great fun as you try and not only finish each level, but also find the 3 stars and stamp hidden on each. It’s great to go through it again and get 100% for ultimate satisfaction, but it’ll be even better for those who missed out on it originally.

The big surprise with this package is Bowser’s Fury, a 2-player expansion to the game where Bowser has become bigger and madder than ever. Mario has to team up with none other than Bowser Jr to cool his dad down in this vast open world area with multiple islands, gathering Cat Shines to power up a Super Bell which makes Mario become a gigantic Cat Mario to take on Bowser. The interesting premise behind this is that Bowser lurks in the background as you play, getting madder and madder every few minutes until he leaps onto the map and hails fireballs and his long-range fire breath at you until you either collect another Cat Shine, use the Super Bell or wait it out for a few minutes.

This makes you think whether you have time to head back to a specific island for another Cat Shine or not, but actually each has a specific block that can only be destroyed by Bowser’s breath attack which contains a Cat Shine, so you may actually end up waiting patiently for Bowser to ger angry again for him to end up breaking it. You’ll end up fighting Bowser as Cat Mario a few times and after each, a new section of the world opens up with new islands and new Cat Shines to gather, until the inevitable final battle which is crazy, even by Mario standards.

The game has a good number of Cat Shines to get and while you don’t need all of them to finish the game, it’s still great fun trying to do so. It took me a few hours to finish the game and an hour or two more to mop up the final collectibles, so it’s not the longest Mario game out there…but it definitely left an impression and was an interesting take as an expansion, but also as a Mario game itself. It almost felt like a blend between 3D World and Odyssey in an open world setting. Perhaps this is the future of Mario?

Visually, Bowser’s Fury looks incredible and I don’t just mean the gigantic Godzilla-like Bowser which is epic, but also the islands are full of detail and the game runs at a solid framerate for the most part. The soundtrack is also impressive, which is no surprise really. Now if we can just get the last remaining Wii U hits over to Switch…Wind Waker HD, Twilight Princess HD…I’m looking at you now!

The Verdict

Nintendo clearly could have just ported over Super Mario 3D World, slapped the full price on it and it still would have sold well. But they actually went beyond that this time with the inclusion of Bowser’s Fury, a short but hugely enjoyable expansion that as a concept, I’d love to see as a full game down the road. Well done Nintendo, you’re still full of surprises…

Score: 9.0