Tomorrow sees the official release of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury on the Nintendo Switch. The game blends old and new, offering a Wii U classic 3D Mario adventure in Super Mario 3D World, and an all-new open world-style Mario adventure in Bowser’s Fury. It’s a great package, offering a ton of value, especially to those who never got a chance to play 3D World back on the Wii U in 2013.
But what about for those that have already saved the Sprixie kingdom once before? Does Bowser’s Fury carry the package to ‘Must-Buy’ certification?
From my own personal experience, I’d say so. But let me preface this a little bit. I did play Super Mario 3D World back on the Wii U, but I never really got into it in quite the same way I did Super Mario Galaxy, or Odyssey for that matter. Be it my general dissatisfaction with the Wii U, or the straightforward ‘goal-based’ levels, something didn’t jam with me.
Skip forward eight years, and I’ve come around on Super Mario 3D World. With some minor QOL improvements such as increases to sprint speed and a reduction in the time it takes to sprint, not to mention the Snapshot Mode, the Switch port is quite easily the best way to experience this 2013 classic.
But that’s where the improvements to 3D World end, so there’s a lot of onus on Bowser’s Fury to deliver the goods in order to justify its $60 price tag.
And boy does it. Bowser’s Fury isn’t like any other Mario game I’ve played. It sits somewhere between the 3D-style 2D titles like Super Mario 3D Land & World and the fully-fledged 3D adventures like Galaxy and Odyssey. Players are dropped into Lake Lapcat and are quickly asked to help Bowser Jr. calm his dad down and out of his destructive rage.
The game then opens up, granting you access to the first few islands scattered across Lake Lapcat. Each one a morphing diorama of Mushroom Kingdom fixtures and fittings with five different challenges to take on.
While this may not sound groundbreaking, its the freeflow platforming that makes Bowser’s Fury so compelling. Only got five minutes to play? You can still grab a Cat Shine in that time, and if you’ve got longer than five minutes, once you start playing, you will play until you have to come off.
Any challenge that the islands of Lake Lapcat throw at you can be immediately dismissed by simply jumping off the island and into the clear waters below. Simply move on to another and come back when you’re ready to give it another try.
Acquire enough Cat Shines and the Fury Bowser boss battle begins. Interact with the Giga Bell and you’ll be transformed into Giga Cat Mario as you go toe-to-toe with the plumber’s arch-nemesis. What then ensues is a boss battle within Lake Lapcat itself.
Those islands you so precariously traversed and scoured for Cat Shines now become crucial bits of cover from Bowser’s fiery breath. Fireballs rain down from the sky, and once friendly NPCs turn into damage-dealing goons.
Beat Bowser and open up another selection of islands to earn more Cat Shines and do it all over again. Yet, just because Fury Bowser shows up, doesn’t mean you’re stuck doing the boss battle.
You can carry on trying to reach the lighthouse, or the Blue Coin Bustle you were in the middle of when he showed up. But it’s just going to be that little bit chaotic.
The further you advance in Bowser’s Fury, the more ludicrously impressive the island designs become. I can’t speak about them for spoiler reasons, but rest assured there are some shining examples of level design in here.
Alas, as great as the content is, it is a little light. I was able to smash through the game up to the ‘final boss battle’ in under 10 hours, and have made good progress to getting all of the Cat Shines on offer in the post-game in another handful of hours.
That being said, there aren’t a ton of major games you’ll want to pick up on Nintendo Switch right now, so it becomes a bit of an easy recommendation.
With all the fresh content that Bowser’s Fury offers up, alongside a ton of classic Mario platforming in Super Mario 3D World, the two games become absolutely worth your time and money all over again on Nintendo Switch. If you really weren’t a fan of Super Mario 3D World, the QOL improvements aren’t going to do much to change that, though.