A 3D World Travelogue: Super Mario 3D World Preview
This is a story of adventure, hardship, and loss. It is the story of my brief demo of Super Mario 3D World. Brought to you by Nintendo, this Wii U adventure will be available in December of 2013! Join me as I jump into the story, and take you on the journey of my experience with the game.
The room was full of players who had registered their names and stood in line before the demo booth. We watched others play through Donkey Kong Country and the Legend of Zelda, anxiously awaiting our turns. When Link faded from the screen and Mario appeared, we knew our time had come.
The booth attendant called out four names, including my own. I stepped forward and was handed the Gamepad, my three associates taking Wiimotes in their hands.
Our dedicated attendants explained the controls for the game before we began. Wiimote players would move their characters with the D-Pad and jump using the 2 button. If they were standing next to one another then the 1 button would pick up their partner. If they were holding the 1 button down then they could run, and if they had a power-up they could activate it with the 1 button. The Gamepad had one significant advantage over the Wiimotes, as occasionally there would be little flashes on the stage, and the Gamepad’s touch screen displayed the same thing that was shown on the TV. If the player rubbed the part of the screen where they had seen the flash, then a secret would be revealed in that place. Since Wiimote players couldn’t use this feature it gave a distinct advantage to the Gamepad’s playstyle.
The demo offered us a wide range of stages from throughout the game, so players could get a feel for different parts instead of just the first level. The style of play in Super Mario 3D World would be familiar to anyone who has played a Super Mario Bros game before; players leap from one platform to another, avoiding monsters and racing the clock to reach the end of an obstacle course.
Both the graphic designs and the musical scores were simple in nature, leaving the play area clean and readable so players could focus on their characters. The stages we played or watched showed a refined version of the Mario we have grown to love, and took inspiration from several points in his long history. The colourful blocks and clouds made up the landscapes, with a cheery, cartoony overtone that has always been present in Mario games. The soundtrack matched this tone as it was very bubbly, with upbeat rhythms, and seemed to come to life as the characters were hopping and bouncing around the stage. I was pleased that the scenery and sound design retained the light-hearted flavour of the classic games, without feeling like a stale retread. It was clear from the start that this would be a competitive round. Each of us rushed to choose the characters that we would use to play. This being “The Year of Luigi,” I quickly picked the green-capped brother, and the game began.
I was surprised by how quickly it started; it all seemed to speed in before my very eyes. As soon as the stage opened, Toad was zipping off through the course. With great speed and careful maneuvers, he had turned this into a race that he was already winning.
Before long we had come across a series of pits and platforms. Unable to do more than bunny-hop, Toad fell behind. With Luigi’s lanky, flailing legs I long-jumped across the course with ease, and Peach (in her fluffy pink dress) was gliding through the air beside me. The two of us led the pack as we arrived on a large stage.
The stage was littered with Coins and other treasures, guarded by aggressive monsters. Unafraid, we all rushed to collect the goods and stomp the baddies. In this game, the winner of a course is not the player who finishes first, but the one who finishes with the highest score.
When the stage had been cleared, one of us had claimed the most valuable treasure: a Magic Bell. Having found the Magic Bell, Mario donned his yellow cat-suit with pride, and pranced around excitedly. I turned green with envy! To make matters worse, Cat Mario could use his claws to climb walls, and the next part of the course was a cliff-face.
A little side story happened here for Luigi. His companions had begun looking for a way up the cliff, leaving him alone to nab the last few coins on the floor below. It was then that I noticed a peculiar glimmer in the corner of the wall. Remembering a press video from earlier in the week, I brought my finger to the Gamepad’s touch-screen and hastily rubbed the spot where I had seen the shine. My suspicions were well founded when a hidden treasure was revealed, and I collected a secret stash of Coins.
The journey upwards was daunting. Mario led the way, and when he found a jump to be too difficult, he simply climbed along the wall. The rest of us had a much harder time, and were clearly at a disadvantage without those sharp claws Mario was using. Stumbling over each other, Toad and I both collided, and fell helplessly to the pit below. Fortunately, doomed players are saved by a protective bubble that carries them back to their partners. The problem was, you needed your friends to pop the bubble and let you free. We were not co-operating on that day, and I knew I was lucky when Peach popped my bubble as she leapt for the top of the cliff.
There at the top, the course resumed a more even playing field, though this time Toad received a Magic Bell. Nearing the end of the round, with the goalpost in sight, there was no clear leader left in the footrace. It was down to the wire, and down to our scores to determine the victor. Knowing this, I climbed to the highest platform and sent Luigi soaring towards the top of the post, which would net the largest bonus. Instead of reaching my mark, Luigi fell short and landed halfway down the post. I was relieved to see Mario and Peach landing lower than Luigi… but I had forgotten Toad and his Cat-suit. With feline ease, he clambered to the top of the pole and claimed the big reward.
At long last the results screen came up and our fate was determined. It had been a hard-fought contest on difficult terrain, but we had all reached the finish line intact. Our points were tallied, and all I could do was hope for the best. In a way, I got what I wished for. Toad had won by a comfortable margin, raising cheers from the crowd. Luigi, for his effort, had come in a respectable second place. It may be the Year of Luigi, but he always seems to play second fiddle to another: it’s what he does best.
The losers congratulated the winner, and we all dispersed, but on my way out I received my real prize. After coming in solid second, I was given a green foam Luigi cap. Humbly, I accepted, and made my exit.
Mario fans have so much to look forward to in Super Mario 3D World, and it’s gearing up to be an amazingly fun title to play with a group of friends. I know I will be returning to Mario’s world as soon as I can to guide that green gentleman to victory! Keep an eye out for this new Mario title this December.
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