Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury: Mario’s Big Jump or Big Failure?

Is Bowser’s Fury a Mario release worth getting, or would your money be better spent on one of the Switch’s other 3D Mario games?


Photograph: Nintendo

Bowser terrorizing Mario during his adventure in Bowser’s Fury.

Mario is the most recognizable character in all of gaming. His face can be a stamp of quality when it comes to if a game is good or not. Knowing that though, it can be difficult to differentiate the 3D Mario games currently on Switch. Super Mario Odyssey was a smash hit for the switch, and was met to critical acclaim. Super Mario 3D Allstars is also available on switch, being a collection of three older Mario platformers for the same selling price as Super Mario 3D World+Bowser’s Fury, being 60 dollars. Furthermore, longtime Mario fans may not want to rebuy a game that was initially released on the Wii U if the additional content isn’t worth it. So, what is Super Mario 3D World+Bowser’s Fury, what makes it stand out, and is it worth the money?

Super Mario 3D World
Mario 3D World is the main game in the Bowsers Fury Package. It’s a game that was initially released on the Wii U to positive reception. It’s a creative, fun, and yet simple Mario experience. The game consists of platforming through a variety of levels that can be accessed through different world maps. Most levels are unique, and they’re all enjoyable in their own ways. The game also consists of local and online multiplayer, so you can play with your friends or family too. The multiplayer can be a little hectic at times, but it works well. The game can feel less daring and more simplistic than a lot of the other 3D Mario experiences, however that’s also one of the more appealing aspects of the game. Being designed around multiplayer and a more casual play style gives the game a level of accessibility that not all games have. If this was someone’s first time playing a platformer, or any game in general, it’s a great place to start. That being said, the game can definitely be enjoyed by more veteraned gamers as well. There are more challenging sections near the end of the game, and the hidden collectables scattered about in each level adds an extra bit of challenge to those who want to find them all. It also gives incentive to truly explore the levels. You keep your eyes and nose peeled for secrets, and while finding them isn’t too difficult, it’s still satisfying when you do.

Overall, the game does well as a casual experience, while also having room for veteran players to also have fun. There are also a few changes from the Wii U version that can make a replay a little different. They’re mostly small changes, like updated visual quality, a new snapshot mode, online multiplayer, increased running speed, and the addition of a dive move that lets you get a bit more creative with your movement. All of that being said, the game is basically the same from the Wii U version. Those who have played through the one on the Wii U won’t find anything that will blow them away. Furthermore, people who are more interested in a fleshed out single player experience would probably find more enjoyment in Super Mario Odyssey. 3D World game can be fun alone, but it doesn’t have the same kick that Odyssey does by itself. 3D World is clearly oriented to a more casual audience, which is why Bowser’s Fury is such an important addition to this package.

Bowser’s Fury
Bowser’s Fury is the latest original 3D Mario experience to come out from Nintendo. Even if the game borrows heavily from 3D World, this short yet sweet add-on goes many places that 3D World didn’t. For starters, the game is more or less an open world single player game. Although it’s still a platformer, you still have to unlock levels, and there is a co-op mode, the heart of Bowser’s Fury lies within a more open experience. The game centers around Mario going through different levels and collecting “Catshines” in order to try and stop a giant rampaging Bowser. The big difference in the level design between this and 3D World is getting to different levels is basically seamless. The entire game is one giant level, so you can jump between area’s like there is no difference between them. Although area’s have their own goals and distinct ideas, the removal of level selections and different worlds makes it so the flow of the gameplay is never interrupted. Changes like this make the game’s overall design feel less casual and completely unique from its predecessors.

The level design also takes a different approach than 3D World. While in that game, the levels had very linear designs that kept your focus on moving forward, Bowser’s Fury provides tighter level design that makes the levels more fun to redo. Because multiple distinct objectives can be present in each level, the idea that your second playthrough of a level should be much faster then the second is critical to keeping the game feeling fun. After you complete an objective, sometimes the area will add small changes (like different enemies and power ups) so as to keep things fresh. The smaller level designs also allows for this game’s biggest shakeup to have full effect.

Bowser is the main villain in the Mario series, however his presence is usually relegated to that of a predictable end boss. However, his role in this game is much more pronounced, important, and game changing. Bowser has transformed into a powerful beast that is rampaging across the area known as Lake Lapcat. During your playthrough to stop him, Bowser will spring to life and begin attacking you. At any point in time, your romp through happy Mario levels turns into a climactic fight for survival from a giant monster. Bowser can shoot fire, rain down spikes, and even jump in front of you between levels. In order to make him go away, you must collect a Cat Shine, which means completing an objective in a level. Basically, you start doing a mad dash to finish whatever you’re doing. It ups the stress levels, and makes the game much more interesting. Bowser can really catch you off guard sometimes, making for gameplay that can’t be found in any other Mario game. The chaos that Bowser causes truly solidifies this game as a truly unique experience. Veteran players can be assured that this game brings something to the table that can’t be found in other 3D platformers.

Bowser’s Fury is amazing, and has that daring spirit that 3D World can feel it’s missing. Sadly, it’s a fairly short game. To 100% the entire game only takes a few hours. And although it’s definitely fun and engaging, the game has its downsides too. Although they’ve definitely found a way to make redoing sections fun, it can feel a bit tedious while you’re finishing up the game. Bowser can also cause the framerate to drop massively, making those intense moments with him feel less exhilarating than they should. The games co-op isn’t what you’ll find in 3D World, where everyone gets to play on equal terms. Instead the second player controls Bowser Jr., who is Mario’s partner in the game. Although this second player mode is fun in its own way, it’s worth noting that it is different, and that some may not like that. Overall, the flaws don’t outway the positives, however they’re worth pointing out if you’re deciding between this game and another.

Is it worth it?
It’d be wrong to say that Mario 3D World+Bowser’s Fury isn’t fun or special in its own ways. However, it’s also worth noting that it’s not an investment that everyone should make. 3D World is a game that’s best enjoyed by those looking for a fun, casual experience. Bowser’s Fury is best gotten as an addition to 3D World, but doesn’t necessarily stand as a reason to rebuy 3D World if you’ve already gotten the Wii U version. Hardcore Mario fans will definitely find their replay through of 3D World fun, and Bowser’s Fury is an amazing game to playthrough. However, those that aren’t planning to play with others, or those looking for something that will blow them away would probably be better off trying Mario Odyssey instead. Overall, there’s definitely a reason to consider getting this bundle, so it’s best to evaluate if that 60 dollar price tag is worth your money.