Among Nintendo's many announcements at E3 came the reveal of Super Mario 3D World. Functioning as a pseudo-sequel to the Nintendo 3DS game Super Mario 3D Land, this Wii U exclusive takes the gameplay of that game and mixes it with some unexpected play styles that make it feel less like a Mario game than players might think.
"3D World" is set up like previous titles "Mario 64" and "3D Land" with open world levels that the player can explore instead of the typical side scrolling adventures. Where the game really differs in terms of its predecessors is in the cooperative play. Up to four players can traverse through the game at once and as you play, you're actually competing against one another. Where this causes problems is that four player-controlled characters running around the some-what small maps causes a lot of chaos. At the end of each level the scores are tallied based on your performance in the level and a winner is declared. This coupled with the overall chaotic gameplay makes the game feel like an expanded version of Mario Party instead of your typical Mario game.
Players familiar with Mario titles will already know the main differences in the characters, but for new comers here is a rundown: Mario is the most well-rounded of all the characters with decent running and jumping abilities. Luigi features a higher jump ratio, Peach is capable of floating for a brief period after jumping, and Toad is easily the fastest of the group. Each of them has their advantages.
The main difference that we noticed with “3D World” is the addition of Mario's “cat suit.” While it appears that Nintendo has run out of ideas for special abilities for Mario, this is the second animal costume that has been added to the roster in the past few years, but it does offer you some abilities the player didn't have prior. For example, players can know walk along most of the walls in the levels and even climb up the flagpoles at the end of each level so they always get a “1-Up” - in that regard it's a very useful suit.
Super Mario 3D World doesn't appear to offer any Earth shattering new additions to the franchise. Where its main selling point lands is in offering players a new adventure with these beloved characters and allowing four player cooperative play. “3D World” isn't reinventing the wheel, but it's presenting a new version that we'll likely all enjoy anyway.