The latest addition to the Nintendo Switch roster to celebrate the milestone is two games in one - an enhanced port of Super Mario 3D World and the all new Bowser's Fury.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury on Nintendo Switch combines one old Mario game and one new Mario game. 3D World was first released on Wii U to critical acclaim. It is a linear game with traditional levels and in line with the brilliant standard Mario fayre.
Bowser’s Fury, though, is the first truly “open-world” Mario game. Gone is the level-by-level format of every other Mario entry and instead we get a sandbox of platforming challenges.
The SM 3D World port adds an online multiplayer option, Amiibo functionality to spawn power-ups, a Snapshot feature for taking in-game screenshots, and four-player co-op to the Captain Toad levels.
Other enhancements include the base speed of characters being increased and stamps you unlock throughout the game which can be used to decorate the environment in Snapshot mode.
The new ‘Bowser’s Fury’ campaign follows Mario through Lake Lapcat and teams up with Bowser Jr. in order to stop Bowser, who has been transformed by an inky substance into the Fury Bowser. Unlike the main campaign, Bowser's Fury takes place in a large free-roaming area similar to the open world Super Mario games. Mario must explore the islands in order to retrieve Cat Shines which hold the key to him being able to take on Bowser later in the game.
As a huge Super Mario fan I will never tire of anything Nintendo serves up.
And here we are treated to some of the very best of both 2D and 3D Mario games with Nintendo’s trademark dollop of originality in the form of Bowser’s Fury.
For Switch users this is perfect because it brings what is one of the best recent Mario games onto the latest console along with an experimental side-story.
Super Mario 3D World is not just a straight port either. It has been markedly improved with speed changes and other tweaks which enhance the overall experience.
Bowser's Fury is packed full of brilliantly bizarre little touches which are dripping in Nintendo charm. Super-sized boss battles being a big case in point.
The new item bank feature in Bowser's Fury is an example of Nintendo’s genius in implementing something new which fits seamlessly into the Mario world.
The item bank is a new system in Bowser's Fury that gives access to items while you bounce around the open world. This is because in previous Mario games you would access items via the shop or hub between levels. Here you don’t have that facility so instead Nintendo give you constant access to your item bank. Mid challenge and need a Fire Flower? Go into your item bank, select it and your partner Bowser Jr. will hand it over.
And the added bonus is you don’t lose any of your already equipped power-ups, they simply go back into the item bank in a straight swap.
The crowning glory here, though, is the breathtaking open-world design. Nintendo have proved their little cartridges can pack a big punch when it comes to open worlds thanks to the likes of The Legend of Zelda BOTW and this.
There are some elements of grind in Bowser's Fury, a symptom of squeezing two games into one in a hurry to commemorate the anniversary year. I wouldn’t say they are dull but there is some repetition in parts.
I also felt the interruptions from Fury Bowser as you play were somewhat annoying rather than exciting or thrilling. You’re merrily running around trying to find the Cat Shrines and he suddenly causes a kerfuffle that throws you off track.
Overall, though, this is engaging, fun, nostalgic and original Mario fayre and a great way to celebrate 35 years on our consoles. Will keep that Mario itch satisfied until the newly announced Mario Golf: Super Rush launches this summer!