Why No One Is Going to Remember Super Mario 3D World in 10 Years

3D World isn't a bad game, but its descent into obscurity is inevitable.

Super Mario 3D World is a fun game. I personally enjoyed playing through it, but I can still see the writing on the wall. This game is forgettable through and through, and it's sad to see it go.

3D World is the Wii U's big Mario game, and many believed it'd be the console's savior. But as we know, that didn't quite pan out. Still, it truly encapsulates just what an odd position Nintendo was in during the Wii U era. 3D World isn't an original game like its main console predecessors. It's not even a follow-up to another big console title, like Galaxy 2 was. Instead, 3D World was a sequel to a 3DS title: Super Mario 3D Land. Sadly, this sequel never lived up to its predecessor. 

3D World isn't bad...it just doesn't have that classic Mario spark of creativity.

Each flagship Mario has had something new going for it. Mario 64 was one of the first 3D platformers ever, and to this day sets the standard for the genre. Sunshine introduced the inventive Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device (FLUDD) system that made for tons of interesting puzzles. Galaxy took platforming to another level by sending everyone's favorite plumber to space, while Galaxy 2 pushed that boundary even further.

3D World attempted a more classic Mario style: power-ups instead of health, Mini-Mario, and flagpoles. But unlike its predecessor 3D Land, which was the first game to go modern with all those ideas, this approach wasn't so novel the second go around. It was just a retread of the same ideas on a larger scale -- and on a home console instead of a handheld. The best that Nintendo could manage for their flagship Mario game on the Wii U was copying the ideas from its predecessor. As the Wii U's lack of success showed more and more, that kind of thinking wasn't good enough.

The cat suit and multiplayer mode were the two features that were most touted about 3D World pre-release, and that fact makes clear that this game truly had nothing new to show. The cat suit was just a power-up like any other that gave characters a few new form abilities. This suit was available only in select stages, and taken away upon a single hit. In addition, multiplayer mode had already been implemented since New Super Mario Bros. Wii, so it had much less of an impact in 3D World

Even 3D World's most interesting concept -- the Double Cherry power-up -- was only available in a tiny percentage of its stages, and none of its marketing. When collected, this power-up spawned a second copy of one's character that mimicked their exact movements. Picking up more power-ups spawned more clones.

If Nintendo focused on the Double Cherry more, and not just squirreled it away in levels where it doesn't get to shine at all, 3D World might've had a fun, unique concept to tout. It could have been great if it was utilized more. Can you imagine hundreds of Marios charging through a stage like an angry mob?

Apparently, Nintendo couldn't. Instead of utilizing the Double Cherry's full potential, Nintendo left us to only imagine what could have been, and placed their focus on Mario's latest fur coat. 3D World is just an upscaled version of a 3DS game with some extra bells and "whiskers," and it shows.

Super Mario 3D World's lack of originality is sadly going to doom it to obscurity. It's a fun game -- especially with friends -- but it's clear that Nintendo had no idea what it was doing.

With Mario Odyssey's genius capture mechanic on the much more successful Switch console, Nintendo seems to have recaptured the Mario spirit. It's just a shame that 3D World couldn't be higher on our list of stellar Mario games.

What are your thoughts on Super Mario 3D World? Do you agree? Let us know in the comments!

Published Jul. 3rd 2017

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