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This Is Not The Super Mario You Were Looking For

Super Mario 3D World for Wii U looks fantastic. A joyful sequel to the exuberant Super Mario 3D Land on 3DS, 3D World, despite the title being something of a misnomer (3D?), looks like it will be incredibly fun and enjoyable, especially with the latest trailer confirming that the single player adventure looks as good as the multiplayer mayhem.

The Cat Suit, the ability to duplicate your character, the brilliant variety of the same bite sized levels as 3D Land…there is a lot to look forward to, not least of which are the spanky new HD graphics that Mario and co find themselves painted with.

It looks great. Check out the trailer below, and see if you can count the ideas.

And yet… I can’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment when viewing that trailer. Mario hasn’t had a truly expansive world to explore and play around in since Super Mario Sunshine. Yes, Super Mario Galaxy was a superb game, and one of the best of the last generation, but it lacked that feeling of exploration and inquisitiveness that both Sunshine and Mario 64 had in spades. Yes, the stages were amazing, but the hub word, which was dropped altogether for the sequel, was uninspiring and very small.

The overworlds of both Sunshine and 64 felt more like progressive meta levels than simple hubs, and I was hoping that Nintendo would eventually return to the style, but with each new release this possibility drifts further and further away.

A pure playground

A pure playground

I can see why Nintendo are doing it. Why create an enormously complex, time-consuming and expensive overworld when a simple map will do for a fraction of the effort, and seemingly has no negative effect on sales or critical response? It makes perfect business sense, and maybe Nintendo will create another Isle Delfino or Peach’s Castle one day, although I think this would be rather unlikely to happen anytime soon, given Nintendo’s current problems with the Wii U.

I am excited about Mario 3D World, and will no doubt lap up every inch of it when it is released for Wii U, but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the team had been given the task of creating a real world for all of those ideas to live in.

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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.

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