If 2D Mario's a religion - rarefied, untouchable ideas preached and worshipped - then 3D Mario's more of a cult. One man with magnificent facial hair promises something new, almost unbelievable and better than we've ever had and we follow blindly into the technicolour light. The difference being that he's usually telling the truth instead of giving out dodgy squash, which might explain why we're all still singing from the cult hymnbook.
Mario 64 opened our eyes to the possibilities of a new dimension, Sunshine had us experimenting with alien technologies and the eye-popping Galaxy games were, essentially, full-blown psychotropic experiences, rewiring our platforming brains as jaws slackened in wonder. So, what can Mario promise from his brand new World?
Land of Opportunity
He might mention that he's expanding on what he learned from his brief sojourn into a handheld Land. Taking that game's intricate obstacle courses and focus on one-shot pops of idea and introducing 3D Mario's first ever fully implemented four player multiplayer, separate characters in the shape of Luigi, Peach and Toad - each with their defining characteristics from Super Mario Bros. 2 - and the ability to dress up as a cat with superpowers, for some reason, leaves us with plenty of new stuff to discuss.
You won't be listening, though, because it's what there is to see in World that hits you first. The idea of HD Nintendo games has always seemed like something of a dream and while the likes of Pikmin 3 and NSMBU gave clues as to what the Wii U could do for its vision, each was hindered a tad by its ties to the past. Not so here. Every world and stage is so highly polished that it's a wonder your characters aren't slipping across their glossy surfaces almost constantly.
Grass parts, flattens and shreds realistically as it's walked over, the returning Green Stars cast an emerald gauze over everything nearby (including the cartoon smoke that puffs pleasingly from characters' rushing feet) and ice, now finally more than a sort of irritating blue carpet, is able to give a refracted sense of the entombed pond beneath its cracked mass.
Nintendo EAD clearly loves the ability to show off the superficial, as moving between areas becomes not just a warp-pipe to fade, but journeys past oceans of shipwrecks viewed from inside a translucent pipe, or depth-of-field-assisted teleports across mile-high drops into the cloud bank over a Bowser theme park.
Even the characters, unchanged in years, benefit from the upgrade. Peach's usually over-starched dress billows as she floats, Fire Mario is regularly bathed in the hot glow of his arson attacks and context sensitivity means characters turn their heads to look at items, gawp at chasing enemies or, in multiplayer, stare each other down mid-dash.