It’s hard to believe that Super Mario 3D World first released on the Wii U over seven years ago.
When I reviewed the game in 2013, I described it as a reimagining of the Mario series’ classic 2D side-scrolling formula.
Fast-forward to 2021 and that statement still holds true.
It’s easy to be hard on Nintendo for shovelling out several relatively uninspired Wii U remasters for the Switch over the last few years, including, most recently, Pikmin 3 Deluxe (I still really like that game, though). On the other hand, these are mostly classic titles that didn’t get the attention they deserved given the ill-fated Wii U’s dismal sales numbers, so why not give them another chance at life?
Do I wish Nintendo would not charge full price for these re-releases and instead create a cheaper ‘Wii U Classics’ line? Definitely. That said, when it comes to Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, there’s a lot of new content present that helps justify the title’s $79 price tag.
Bowser’s Fury really has surprised me. When this re-release was first announced, I assumed that the add-on was little more than extra Super Mario 3D World stages.
Instead, Bowser’s Fury is an entirely separate experience that in some ways has more in common with Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine than 3D World. In fact, you don’t even have to play Super Mario 3D World to launch Bowser’s Fury; both games are accessible directly from the main menu.
While Bowser’s Fury still plays like Super Mario 3D World, it features a welcome balance between the more open-ended 3D platforming from other three-dimensional Mario games and the carefully crafted, bite-sized stages featured in 3D World. The game’s world is constructed of cat-themed islands, with the player’s goal being to collect several ‘Cat Shines.’
As with most 3D Mario titles, some Shines are easier to get than others, and you don’t need to uncover every single one to complete the game. You spend a lot of time switching between different abilities on the fly since some are more useful in certain situations. For example, the Super Bell that turns Mario into a cat is great for climbing walls, while the Super Leaf can help make precise jumping a little more forgiving since it lets the plumber flutter through the air for a brief period.
Nearly everything in Bowser’s Fury relates to cats somehow, which can be both hilarious and a little offputting. Mario spends much of his time in 3D World‘s signature catsuit, and even enemies, bushes, and birds wear cat ears. The game is definitely one of the more out-there Mario titles Nintendo has released in the last few years — welcome to cat world.
Every so often, a massive version of Bowser shows up to wreak havoc. Once you’ve unlocked the game’s several Lighthouses, Mario can also grow to epic proportions for a one-on-one boss battle that plays out similar to how it would in nearly every other Mario game. The interesting twist here is that the battle’s stage is a pint-sized version of Bowser’s Fury‘s various islands. Further, certain more difficult to get cat shines are only accessible when Bowser shows up to trash the place.
The entire experience clocks in at somewhere between three and four hours, with that playtime increasing to roughly six to eight hours if you aim to uncover all of the Cat Shines. There’s also a co-op mode where the other player takes control of Bowser Jr., though I didn’t find it very compelling. When playing as Bowser Jr., you don’t have much agency over what’s going and mostly just float along, trailing whoever is playing as Mario.
While not exactly a long experience, I’ve had a lot of fun with Bowser’s Fury over the last few weeks and count its inventive level design as some of the best I’ve encountered in a Mario title since Super Mario 64.
Then, of course, there’s Super Mario 3D World. If you’ve played the original game on the Wii U, you’ll know what to expect here, and if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.
Unlike most recent Mario titles, 3D World is a classic, course-based Mario game where players work their way to the end of the level, all while taking out enemies and collecting Coins and Stamps/Stars. Players can select between Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach, and much like Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), each character has their own strengths.
For example, Mario is great when you need precise movement, especially jumping, while Princess Peach can briefly glide through the air, making some levels far more forgiving. I really like that this mechanic is a throwback to Super Mario Bros. 2 on the NES and it helps add variety to the well-known Mario platforming formula, especially when playing multiplayer.
The game’s level design is some of the best ever to be featured in a Mario title. Stages range from straightforward, with shifting platforms and an abundance of warp pipes, to challenging later levels that require intense 3D platforming precision. Like other 2D Mario games, some stages are very easy, and the game really doesn’t kick up its difficulty level until the final few worlds. This difficulty spike remains just as jarring as it did in the original game on the Wii U.
That said, if you’re looking for more of a challenge throughout the entire experience, you can always aim to hunt down each stage’s Star and Stamp. This makes the 3D World exponentially harder and can sometimes be downright frustrating.
Super Mario 3D World once again features a spectacular four-player co-op mode that in this re-release is, thankfully, now playable online. Co-op is wonderfully chaotic but can also be needlessly grating at times since using a power-up or getting hit by enemies still results in what I’d call a brief stutter, which breaks up the flow of gameplay.
This is featured in nearly every Mario game ever released and normally doesn’t matter, but when you are playing with two to three other people, that momentary halt in movement can quickly lead to disaster.
Regarding its visuals, Super Mario 3D World looks spectacular running on the Switch. In fact, I’d say that the game is nearly as graphically impressive as the far more recently released Super Mario Odyssey despite dropping over seven years ago. This is yet another example of how timeless Nintendo’s simplistic-but-still-modern approach to visuals remains.
As far as notable Wii U titles that really didn’t get the attention they deserved when they were first released, Super Mario 3D World falls at the top of that list. It’s great to see one of Nintendo’s best Mario titles finally making its way to the Japanese gaming giant’s far more successful Switch where it will undoubtedly find a much wider audience.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury releases on February 12, 2021, for the Nintendo Switch.
PlayStation 5 storage upgrades coming this summer: report – MobileSyrup
Per the outlet’s sources, Sony will enable storage upgrades through a firmware update that unlocks higher cooling fan speeds to ensure the console doesn’t overheat.
Should this happen in the summer, it would alleviate one of the PS5’s major shortcomings. As it stands, both the standard PS5 and its all-digital variant feature 825GB of storage, but only 667GB is actually usable since the remaining 158GB is taken up by the operating system, updates and other console features.
However, the PS5 only supports external hard drives for storing PS4 games, so there’s currently no viable storage solution outside of deleting games to clear up space.
Meanwhile, PS5 games routinely take up more than 40GB, with some, like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, well exceeding 100GB. Therefore, PS5 owners often are only able to have a small number of games on their consoles at a given time.
Since the PS5 launch in November, Sony has promised that it will eventually support SSD storage expansion, but no timeline has yet been given. At launch, Sony said it needs to run compatibility tests on the various SSDs on the market before it could offer support for them.
“As previously announced, we are working to enable M.2 SSD storage expansion for PlayStation 5. The timing has not been announced and details will be shared later,” a Sony spokesman told Bloomberg.
Once storage expansion is enabled, PS5 owners will be able to remove the front plate of the console to insert a compatible SSD.
Pokémon Legends Arceus gives the series the Zelda: Breath of the Wild open-world treatment – MobileSyrup
During the series’ 25th anniversary presentation, The Pokémon Company revealed a few new games, including Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes and more footage of Pokémon Snap, but Pokémon Legends Arceus stole the show.
The new game looks to modernize the classic Pokémon gameplay formula by making it more of an open-world game with a tighter focus on collecting Pocket Monsters.
The brief presentation showed off how players can crouch and sneak up on Pokémon to surprise them with Poké Balls.
Legends Arceus’ plot sets your player on a mission to create the world’s first Pokédex, suggesting that Arceus is set so far in the past that it could be ripe for sequels.
Pokémon Legends Arceus is slated to release in early 2022 for the Nintendo Switch. If you want to scratch your Pokémon itch in 2021, you’ll be stuck with Pokémon Snap and Brillant Diamond and Shiny Pearl.
The Final Fantasy VII Remake with a free PS5 upgrade is $30 – The Verge
Yesterday, Square Enix announced that it plans to release an enhanced version of Final Fantasy VII Remake for PS5, and there is a free next-gen upgrade available if you own the game digitally or physically. You can purchase a physical copy of the game right now for $30 at Amazon. Note that if you plan to take advantage of this deal, you will need to own a PS5 with a disc drive to claim your free PS5 copy.
Although the game will be free on PlayStation Plus beginning March 2nd, Sony confirmed that the PS Plus version will not be eligible to receive a free upgrade. So, you’ll either need to buy the next-gen version, which starts at $70, or buy the PS4 version, the latter of which I think is the better deal.
While on the topic of next-gen, if you are in the market for a new TV that takes advantage of next-gen, LG’s CX OLED line is one of the best options at the moment. Right now, the 65-inch model is on sale at a couple of places, most notably Newegg, where you can buy it for $1,997 and also receive a free $200 Newegg gift card. The TV is also on sale at Amazon for $1,950 (when you apply a coupon), but it does not come with a $200 gift card.
Last November, AMD released its new line of desktop CPUs. The Ryzen 5000 line includes the first chips from the company that carry its next-gen Zen 3 architecture. Like most highly anticipated gadgets released at the tail end of 2020, these processors at first were a bit difficult to find. But, if you are looking to buy the midrange $449 Ryzen 7 5800X, it’s available now at Antonline, B&H Photo, and Best Buy.
Lastly, Amazon is currently running a promotion where you can save $40 when you purchase two eligible Surface accessories. Some items eligible for the promotion include the Surface Pen and the Surface Arc mouse, a nice pairing if you’re picking up a new Surface device at the same time.
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