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Super Mario 3D World review

The Princess is on a different Remote

Multiplayer Mayhem

But that's to ignore that there's what could amount to an entire second version of the game included in the package, however. The drop-in-drop-out multiplayer is a revelatory take on the now-established New Super Mario Bros. formula that not only helps solve the chaos caused by cramming four people onto an already crowded two-dimensional plane, but also introduces something truly alien to proceedings. The three-dimensional Mario games have, at their most inclusive, always been about helping other players, but Super Mario 3D World has something new in mind: competition.

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Playing with more than one player has the whole group sharing lives, meaning you're forced to look out for one another, but individually ranks the points scored by players. It suddenly means that every power-up (1,000 points), Green Star (4,000 points) and final boss hit (8,000 points) becomes key to beating your buddies, especially when the winner earns a crown that awards them 5,000 points in the next level (provided they can get it to the next goal pole without having it stolen by someone else, that is). As such, action fares better when all involved know the lay of the land, but such is the quality of solo play that learning is hardly a chore. It's the first time we've felt safe saying a Mario game is designed for multiplayer and in a game so often steeped in the past, it's a wonderfully new idea.

Perhaps that's the crux of Super Mario 3D World. So many of its ideas are drawn from older games (the characters from Mario Bros. 2, the structure of Super Mario 3D Land, the multiplayer of New Super Mario Bros. and the platforms and enemies of almost every previous game) that it might seem as though this is somewhat backwards-looking. But it's in the repurposed, reimagined nature of each, not to mention in slamming them together just to see what happens, that new ideas emerge.

It's a game that feels totally familiar both in the elements we recognise and in the fact that there's far more beyond them. It seems, after you spend so many years espousing the cult of invention above all things, that becomes a religion in itself. Praise be.

This review is abridged - for the full review, pick up ONM 102, in shops now.

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  1. BattleGooseUK Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 18:15

    This game is absolutely smashing the reviews all over the place. Thank Dog, Nintendo really needed a boost in morale.

  2. me4ndubz Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 18:30

    I can't wait to play this

  3. TheRexFactor Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 18:37

    Been pretty sold n this since they started showing proper gameplay (after being skeptical and uninterested at first).

    Still, whatever else, it's a shame Nintendo went the local-only route for multiplayer. I can appreciate the reasoning, but at the same time, not everyone has the luxury of people who can simply come and play it with them.

    But it's minor at least. Bring on the 29th!

  4. BulletPhil Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 18:41

    I'm sooooo glad it was well received by you guys at ONM. Good job guys.

  5. E123-Fawful Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 19:19

    No reviews under the equivalent of an 8 from what I've seen and most are 9 or higher.
    Amazing how a few months ago we were skeptical as it was basically a 4 player 3D Land and now we're wowed by it.
    Trust Nintendo to turn it around.

  6. Pyron12 Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 19:50

    Now I need a Wii U! :(
    Anyway, Nintendo are really going to see those numbers soar this Xmas.

  7. E123-Fawful Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 19:53

    I've seen Wii Us going for as cheap as Ł220 in some places.
    I'll be surprised if sales don't increase.

  8. vtheyoshi Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 20:30

    It's funny to think now that most of us thought that this game would be average. As time went on, we started seeing more and more. The hype slowly raised until we were singing it's praises.
    It's good to see this game smashing reviews. I can't wait to get mah hands on it!

  9. MatthewONM Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 21:17

    I remember the previous official magzine giving Mario Sunshine 100%. Are those days gone?


    What, the days of massively over-scoring games? Thankfully, yes, those days are gone. 93 is an exceptional score for an exceptional game. It makes it our highest scoring Wii U game yet, but leaves room for Nintendo to give us even better delights going forward.

  10. Argenthor Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 21:27

    Now I need a Wii U! :(
    Anyway, Nintendo are really going to see those numbers soar this Xmas.


    I hope so!

  11. Argenthor Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 21:29

    I remember the previous official magzine giving Mario Sunshine 100%. Are those days gone?


    What, the days of massively over-scoring games? Thankfully, yes, those days are gone. 93 is an exceptional score for an exceptional game. It makes it our highest scoring Wii U game yet, but leaves room for Nintendo to give us even better delights going forward.


    Very good points... NOM was still cool though!

  12. RainbowGazelle Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 22:00

    I remember the previous official magzine giving Mario Sunshine 100%. Are those days gone?


    What, the days of massively over-scoring games? Thankfully, yes, those days are gone. 93 is an exceptional score for an exceptional game. It makes it our highest scoring Wii U game yet, but leaves room for Nintendo to give us even better delights going forward.

    Joint highest scoring Wii U game. *cough* The Wonderful 101 *cough*.

  13. RedDwarf Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 22:13

    I'm just jealous you guys at ONM got to play this game. The reviews for this game are Incredible across the board. Really looking forward to this on the 29th. Unless ONM fancy sending me their copy? lol

  14. MatthewONM Tuesday 19th Nov 2013 at 23:15

    Leaves room? If a games is worth 100 it should get it and not be deprived because of some future game. Using your method, only the last ever Wii u game to be reviewed could possible score 100%.


    It's not worth 100, so we didn't give it 100. We gave it a 93 because it's a 93-kinda game. This really isn't rocket science! If you won't buy a game until it gets 100 you're in for a long wait, dude.

  15. DstryrEU Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 09:11

    You have missed the point. If it is a 93% game, that is good for Wii u owners this Christmas. A 93% game is not a 'must have game so I will GI out and buy a Wii u to play it on' game.

    It is only as good as 101 which got somewhat mixed reviews.

    If you scored it 93 because that is all it is worth, fair enough, you have played I have not. It is not the killer that is going to sell Wii u's

    93% is incredibly high (7% off perfection right?...), not to mention the other reviews around for this game are also highly rated. So if you can't see how any game above 90% isn't worth it to be a 'must have' title, especially if you've played/enjoyed any previous game in a series, I can only assume you have the worlds smallest game collection / if one at all.

    This title alone will help shift Wii U's during the Christmas deals especially now there is library of games building up there is no denying that.

    (P.s - 101 is easily one of the greatest games made over the past 10 years - now I'm not saying this game will be as its certainly different from the norm but its also a different genre altogether so you can't compare it in such a way)

  16. SamManSam Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 09:40

    This is gonna be fun on the bun.

  17. imbusydoctorwho Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 11:40

    A great score for (what it looks like) a great game,will be asking for this for christmas.

  18. KairiZero Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 12:25

    Are people really complaining over a review score? Guys.......a 93 is verging on masterpiece material! Besides that - you shouldn't really go by reviews whether you're to play it or not, you should be forming your own opinions! Personally from the sound of the review I didn't think it would pass the high eighty mark - surprised by a 93 really!

    Buy it, play it, and love it - you all know you will! I'll be getting it on release I should think :D

  19. toffeeman30 Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 13:15

    this game is sounding like its the ultimate mario game. im glad there are some 2d elements to the game too, being a mario veteran used to the nes and snes days. very much a game inbetween super mario 64 and the galaxy games

  20. Pyron12 Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 16:27


    It's not worth 100, so we didn't give it 100. We gave it a 93 because it's a 93-kinda game. This really isn't rocket science! If you won't buy a game until it gets 100 you're in for a long wait, dude.

    You have missed the point. If it is a 93% game, that is good for Wii u owners this Christmas. A 93% game is not a 'must have game so I will GI out and buy a Wii u to play it on' game.

    It is only as good as 101 which got somewhat mixed reviews.

    If you scored it 93 because that is all it is worth, fair enough, you have played I have not. It is not the killer that is going to sell Wii u's


    Destructoid gave it 10/10. Any objections to that?

  21. E123-Fawful Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 17:12

    They gave ALBW a 6.5(I think?) and Mario Kart 7 a 5.

  22. MatthewONM Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 18:00

    It is unfortunate that ONM have this policy of only awarding a game a one percent more that a top current score so that they can hold back in-case a better game appears in the future.

    I wonder how many 99 or 100% score they awarded to Wii games in the six years since the Wii launch?


    Not this again. We are not 'holding back scores' - I was simply implying that we expected even greater things to come in the future. Even if that wasn't the case, this is still a 93. It's a 93 now. Will be a 93 forevermore.

    And ONM has never given a 99 or 100 score. Not that it matters what ONM *has* done - the current team isn't beholden to those scores. When I reviewed 3D Land for NGamer I gave it a 90% - I think 3D World is a little better than Land, so am happy for it to get a 93% from Joe. We're not going to inflate scores to compete with past scores we don't fully see eye to eye with. 3DS has had plenty of games better than Ocarina 3D, for example, but we're not going to give them over 98% (the score the old ONM team gave OOT3D).

    EDIT: And the idea that only a 100% could turn Wii U around is ludicrous. Galaxy, the highest rated game Nintendo ever sold, sold one third the number of copies that New Super Mario Bros Wii did. And that game was far from the highest rated Nintendo game. Scores are meaningless in the context of sales. This is a great Mario game and I'm sure everyone who gets it will love it. That's all that matters. Let's draw a line under it.

  23. adamatsu Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 19:34

    I agree 93% seems low for a game that, by all accounts, appears to be a breakthrough title, and near-perfect at what it sets out to achieve. It's also below the metacritic average, which is surprising for a site specialising in Nintendo games (I'd expect it to score a little higher rather than bringing down the average).

  24. MatthewONM Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 19:51

    I agree 93% seems low for a game that, by all accounts, appears to be a breakthrough title, and near-perfect at what it sets out to achieve. It's also below the metacritic average, which is surprising for a site specialising in Nintendo games (I'd expect it to score a little higher rather than bringing down the average).


    Bzzt. 93 is the metacritic average. We're the only publication to get it spot on!

    Once more with feeling: amazing game, amazing score (but it ain't no Galaxy beater)

  25. fluggy2003 Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 21:44

    Can't help being confused by ONM reviews these days... Lotsa worthy Ninty games get into the lower 90's on here when they should be rated higher. For all the improvements over the 3DS version, HD graphics AND 4 player no less, this is still rated LOWER than the 3DS version!!!??? Mind boggles. Its also hard to believe this is only 1% better than Zombiu (which I enjoyed) BUT if I don't enjoy this a lot more than ZombiU I'll be extremely disappointed! Its also the same as Wonderful 101 which, I'm sorry, does not deserve a 93% rating.

  26. Birdy1994 Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 21:53

    I 100% agree with Matthew here, the standards by which you judge a game have to increase over time. There is obviously an upper bound on a review score, and due to technical improvements, development experience and other factors games get better over time. If the original Ocarina was a 98 then Skyward Sword on that same scale would have been something like a 248%, every now and again the standards have to increase. Of course, this makes judging games from different eras difficult but in the context of what is going on in the gaming world provides a much more accurate and helpful critical analysis.

    Whether or not the team changes, this reevaluating of what constitutes a gold award has to take place to avoid the score inflation described above but a staff switch gave ONM a perfect opportunity.

    Secondly, each individual has different tastes and slightly different scoring quirks. After all, these critics are still just gamers who can also write well, they too have their own likes and dislikes. My advice is find some reviewers you like and stick with them or stop sweating over 5-10%, if it is above a 80 buy it, if it is above 60 look into it etc. Don't worry about whether it's a 93 or a 96.

    Oh yeah, and read the text, that's what the reviewers spend their time on :)

  27. OXM Joe Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 22:25

    Hello everyone. I'd just like to say how terribly disheartening it is to have almost an entire comments thread concentrate on the score of a game - literally the least interesting bit of a review. There's an entire, brilliant game to talk about and we're harping on about a couple of weird little glyphs?

  28. Birdy1994 Wednesday 20th Nov 2013 at 22:34

    Hello everyone. I'd just like to say how terribly disheartening it is to have almost an entire comments thread concentrate on the score of a game - literally the least interesting bit of a review. There's an entire, brilliant game to talk about and we're harping on about a couple of weird little glyphs?

    Thanks for that, I rarely comment but I came on to try and say that. My effort was a lot less eloquent :P

  29. RedDwarf Thursday 21st Nov 2013 at 13:28

    I'm just jealous you guys at ONM got to play this game. The reviews for this game are Incredible across the board. Really looking forward to this on the 29th. Unless ONM fancy sending me their copy? lol


    Seeing as you guys wont give me your copy then I guess Its nine long days to go!! ( sad face )

  30. E123-Fawful Thursday 21st Nov 2013 at 16:41

    Can't help being confused by ONM reviews these days... Lotsa worthy Ninty games get into the lower 90's on here when they should be rated higher. For all the improvements over the 3DS version, HD graphics AND 4 player no less, this is still rated LOWER than the 3DS version!!!??? Mind boggles. Its also hard to believe this is only 1% better than Zombiu (which I enjoyed) BUT if I don't enjoy this a lot more than ZombiU I'll be extremely disappointed! Its also the same as Wonderful 101 which, I'm sorry, does not deserve a 93% rating.

    Different reviewers and they redid the scoring system. 3D Land would get a high 80.
    And people have different opinions. I think ONM's W101 score is alright and the review was well written.

    Let's just stop worrying over scores. Some people seem to forget that when a new era comes in the scoring is re-evaluated and that reviewers have different opinions.

  31. mav Thursday 21st Nov 2013 at 17:47

    Hello everyone. I'd just like to say how terribly disheartening it is to have almost an entire comments thread concentrate on the score of a game - literally the least interesting bit of a review. There's an entire, brilliant game to talk about and we're harping on about a couple of weird little glyphs?


    Personally I think (as a prospective WiiU owner) the number of 90%+ games to be a big draw, once we have a few more or I see a WiiU for an unmissable price I will get one, not there yet though.

    So yes I think this is a great game and another cog towards getting the WiiU rolling.

  32. Maxz Thursday 21st Nov 2013 at 20:42

    All the evidence seems to suggest that it would be sound business strategy to start filling the magazine with facile, fan-boy pleasing, hyperbolic tripe again. The founding (or at some point established) principal of the Official Nintendo Magazine/Nfficial Ointendo Magazine is to inspire undiluted faith in everything Nintendo with the aid of a few fart jokes. How can there be a 'new team' offending those values? It's like a new Pope telling the world that, while Matthew knew what he was on about, he thought John's stuff was a bit wack.

    You have to congratulate yourselves on the accuracy of the opening metaphors though. Now, on with the fart jokes.

  33. Time-Bomb Thursday 21st Nov 2013 at 20:53

    Good review. I'll definitely be getting this one for Christmas! I wish all these babies would shut up about review scores. Just read the text, make up your own mind and take each score in isolation of any other game, especially ones which were reviewed years ago.

  34. liveswired Thursday 21st Nov 2013 at 23:32

    Great score - can't wait to pick this one up.

    If you want to blame anyone for the 93% score, blame people like me. We made ONM rethink their reviewing strategy so they could regain their credibility. Bravo I say.

    Also to the simple t**ts comparing 3DS game scores to Wii U scores? Quit being so moronic. :roll: :roll: :roll:

    3DS games are reviewed from a 'portable' perspective. Wii U games from a 'home' console perspective.

    Smaller games for the small screen, big games for the BIG screen.

    What is so difficult to understand?

    It's like comparing apples and oranges.

  35. liveswired Thursday 21st Nov 2013 at 23:34

    I 100% agree with Matthew here, the standards by which you judge a game have to increase over time. There is obviously an upper bound on a review score, and due to technical improvements, development experience and other factors games get better over time. If the original Ocarina was a 98 then Skyward Sword on that same scale would have been something like a 248%, every now and again the standards have to increase. Of course, this makes judging games from different eras difficult but in the context of what is going on in the gaming world provides a much more accurate and helpful critical analysis.

    Whether or not the team changes, this reevaluating of what constitutes a gold award has to take place to avoid the score inflation described above but a staff switch gave ONM a perfect opportunity.

    Secondly, each individual has different tastes and slightly different scoring quirks. After all, these critics are still just gamers who can also write well, they too have their own likes and dislikes. My advice is find some reviewers you like and stick with them or stop sweating over 5-10%, if it is above a 80 buy it, if it is above 60 look into it etc. Don't worry about whether it's a 93 or a 96.

    You are right about everything bar Skyward Sword.
    Oh yeah, and read the text, that's what the reviewers spend their time on :)

  36. randomidget Saturday 23rd Nov 2013 at 17:42

    Why the hell did it get a lower score than 3D Land?! Answer me that, so-called ONM!

  37. randomidget Saturday 23rd Nov 2013 at 17:56

    Actually everyone does have a point - its the review not the score that matters. Although, just out of interest, is there a reason you don't change old scores?

  38. E123-Fawful Saturday 23rd Nov 2013 at 17:58

    They could do re-reviews.
    Review an old game a few years on and see what they think of it now as opposed to when it was originally done.
    Would like to see one of 3D Land and every other Zelda game.

    And has this Eliza spambot been banned yet?

  39. Solm Saturday 23rd Nov 2013 at 21:54

    Hoping to get this as a Christmas present. Looking forward to it.

  40. liveswired Sunday 24th Nov 2013 at 00:30

    Why the hell did it get a lower score than 3D Land?! Answer me that, so-called ONM!

    I'm not trying to be rude but why o why is there so many people who can't understand? :|

    The most basic reasoning without confusing like minded people:

    1. Mario 3D Land is rated in terms of portable games.

    2. Mario 3D world is rated in terms of home console games.

    It's not rocket science. Different expectations, different possibilities.........

  41. adamatsu Sunday 24th Nov 2013 at 12:33

    I agree 93% seems low for a game that, by all accounts, appears to be a breakthrough title, and near-perfect at what it sets out to achieve. It's also below the metacritic average, which is surprising for a site specialising in Nintendo games (I'd expect it to score a little higher rather than bringing down the average).


    Bzzt. 93 is the metacritic average. We're the only publication to get it spot on!

    Once more with feeling: amazing game, amazing score (but it ain't no Galaxy beater)

    The metacritic average is 94%....maybe in the past you guys overrated games and i appreciate it may not be as good as Galaxy but surely that's a 98% game, and this is 96%. As a Nintendo focused publications, I'm not sure what you are looking for in the 94, 95, 96, 97 range if it's not this!!! Anyway, I have to wait until release, I suppose I was just hoping for a mind blowing ONM score to get me excited and it didn't happen, but I'll get over it :P

  42. bones0898 Monday 2nd Dec 2013 at 21:19

    I'm getting this for xmas so I have to wait till then. Hey i'm adult and i only get half as much back as I give for xmas. But that's not the point of it the point of xmas is to have a really good time with family and friends and I will.

  43. liveswired Monday 2nd Dec 2013 at 22:07

    Just picked this one up for the kids today - can't wait til Christmas! :mrgreen:

  44. bones0898 Tuesday 3rd Dec 2013 at 20:23

    It says a lot about a game to get high reviews everywhere. I mean some critics where saying wonderfull 101 would be brillant if i t wasn't for them god awful controls. The fact that this game is even getting good reviews from two faced critics. Says that you should indeed buy this game lol.

  45. JohnAllison Tuesday 3rd Dec 2013 at 22:37

    Totally amazing game, about as close to perfection as you can get.

  46. Sex Bob-omb Tuesday 24th Dec 2013 at 00:16

    I just got a Wii u just to play this game

  47. HughPR Saturday 28th Dec 2013 at 17:37

    Honestly, how do you guys and girls here on the forum find the multiplayer in 3D World?

  48. garywood Saturday 4th Jan 2014 at 20:06

    I love that your opening paragraph somehow suggested that cults are good but religions are bad! Lolol.

  49. mattao5 Saturday 11th Jan 2014 at 08:58

    Personally I really think this game should be around 95%, much better than 93% :|

    Other than that, I am not complaining too much about the review score, because I am really really enjoying it. I love it!
    It is an absolutely outstanding, breath-taking and fantastic game and I am enjoying every single minute of playing this unbelievable masterpiece. :D

    It is definitely worth getting if anyone has not got the game already :mrgreen:

  50. RedDwarf Monday 13th Jan 2014 at 14:19

    I came across this crazy clip on youtube. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9RmZILH8M4

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