Mario's second foray into high definition was previewed at select Best Buys this week and we were fortunate enough to be able to get our hands on it.
The first thing to note about Super Mario 3D World is that it plays very similarly to Super Mario 3D Land. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on how you feel about the Mario series in general, but if you think the series recycles too much, then it's likely that you'll want to pass this one up too. However, if you don't mind Nintendo sticking to what they always do, then you will be right at home.
After diving straight into the controls that utilised the Wii Remote you'll find that they are exactly what you'd want to expect. The d-pad moves your character, 2 button jumps, 1 button makes you run. Additionally, B makes you crouch and A puts you in a bubble, much like New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U. Shaking the Wii Remote in the middle of a jump also causes you to ground pound.
Unlike New Super Mario Bros., however, there is a character select screen because each of the four characters has subtle differences. Peach can hover, Toad runs faster, Luigi jumps the highest, while Mario is, as always, a jack of all trades. However, while Peach's hovering can make for interesting platforming opportunities, Toad's extra speed feels pretty negligible.
The Fire Flower and Invincibility Star are featured in at least one demo level, but, of course, it was recommended that we try out levels that featured new Cat Bell. That said, the Cat Suit is a lot of fun. Running at a wall will cause the character to cling to it, allowing you to move along it more or less freely for a limited amount of time. Cat Suited characters also pounce on enemies with their claws when the 1 button is pressed on the Wii Remote.
Also new are clear pipes that usually branch into different directions and have enemies that travel through them. Players can change their direction at these branches to collect items or avoid enemies.
The game looks quite nice, as well. The new character models look clean and crisp and it runs at a smooth 60 FPS. Everything looks and plays great, which is what you'd expect from a game of this ilk.
When it all boils down to it though, Super Mario 3D World feels like just another Mario game, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
For future reference, Super Mario 3D World is set for release exclusively on the Nintendo Wii U in December of this year.