I have to begin every Switch review the same way: by commenting on the form factor of the console, The Switch simply is a pleasure to play games on. Playing through SM3DW today was an incredibly different experience on Nintendo’s newest handheld compared to the clunky controller on the Wii U. I am honest about how the console helps me to enjoy games better than a traditional console tethered to one’s TV. Let’s get to the game:
The game is, as always, a series of well-constructed levels with small puzzles, unique enemies, and one-of-a-kind power-ups. For SM3DW, as one can spot in the title, the signature power-up is the cat-suit that allows Mario to climb up walls and lunge at enemies. The game starts off strong with a number of extraordinarily-designed, colorful, themed levels.
The challenges ramp up as one progresses into the game and for some reason, I appreciated SM3DW more after having played Super Mario Odyssey. Again, it might be the form-factor of the Switch and having the ability to play this when I want and wherever I like. As enjoyable as the second time playing through the game, I was eager to try out the companion title, Bowser’s Fury.
The title screen sets the tone and the first minute of game play tosses Mario into a tempestuous storm with an ominous-looking Bowser largely present in the background. When the storm settles, the story is explained by one of Bowser’s family members.
The story goes like this: Something has transformed Bowser into a big bad version of Bowser and Bowser Jr. needs Mario’s help.
You are able to enlist Bowser Jr.’s help in 3 doses: A lot, a little, or none. With the second joycon or Pro controller, a second player can control Bowser Jr. Instead of worlds or levels, Mario (and Bowzer Jr.) are able to explore an open-world consisting of a number of islands. The islands are also well-designed with odd and unusual enemies (See the giant dodo birds in the first world) and little challenges. Kaiju Bowzer (that’s what I’m calling him) periodically appears and spits fire that rains down on Mario as the environment turns dark and the rain picks up. The battles between Mario and Kaiju Bowzer are monumental (literally– you’ll see).
As a parent with a young child, I can’t stress the convenience of the Switch and how that convenience impacts one’s enjoyment of games. Throughout the day I was able to turn my Switch on and off and re-enter the game exactly where I left off. Along that line, the Xbox Series X “Quick Resume” is even more of a convenience in that it will save the exact state of multiple games. Even f you already own SM3DW on the Wii U, you will undoubtedly enjoy this version even more, especially given the extra play-value with Bowzer’s Fury.