Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is a candy confection of fine-tuned platforming that marries some of the best elements of 2D and 3D Mario in two very different ways. The package is mostly a re-release of a Wii U game, but this version upgrades the original with a faster pace and online play, and then adds the experimental and gloriously strange Bowser’s Fury on top of it.
The two experiences are bifurcated to the point where you need to quit out of one completely to start the other. This makes sense–the two share some superficial traits but are otherwise very different design philosophies and platforming approaches. Because of this very split design, though, it only makes sense to examine them as separate games.
Super Mario 3D World
It’s easier to see Super Mario 3D World’s place in Mario canon with the benefit of hindsight. It’s a successor to Mario Galaxy, not in direct mechanics but in a broader design philosophy. The stages are relatively small, self-contained bouts of creative platforming, often with their own theme or mechanics at the forefront. Each stage is presented as a diorama slice and usually include a limited degree of Z-axis depth, but the core idea between them is the same: Get in, see a clever application of Mario mechanics, then get out before the concept overstays its welcome.
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