A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about socializing, teamwork, puzzle solving, and strategy in this fun and colorful 3-D platform adventure game. Kids get to socialize with one another while playing in groups of up to four as they work out strategies for dealing with newly encountered enemies. They'll also need to frequently communicate with one another to figure out how best to approach timed collection challenges and puzzles. Super Mario 3D World is a good way to ensure time spent in front of the TV is both social and stimulating.
This game fosters a sense of curiosity and adventure among players. It prompts them to explore their environment in an attempt to find secrets, recognize patterns, and solve simple contextual puzzles. It also promotes fun and safe social-gaming experiences for groups of local players.
Positive Role Models
Mario and his pals are clearly the good guys here. All they want to do is help a group of cute Sprixie fairies captured by Bowser. What's more, the game allows players to take on the role of Peach, meaning girls (and boys) can finally play as a female character in a Mario adventure.
Ease of Play
As with most Mario games, the controls are quite simple -- though it may take a while to get a feel for the four characters, each of whom has his or her own defining abilities and idiosyncrasies.
Violence & Scariness
Mild and cartoonish fighting involving fireballs, ramming attacks, cannon boxes, and jumping on enemies. All the foes that players encounter are deeply fantastical, ranging from stylized turtles to brown, googly-eyed blobs. Characters lose lives but respawn to start again.
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Products & Purchases
This game is part of Nintendo's extremely popular Mario franchise, which has spin-off toys, shows, and books.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Super Mario 3D World is a three-dimensional platform adventure game for up to four players. It contains mild, cartoonish violence of the sort found in most Mario games, with lots of fireballs and jumping on the heads of fantastical enemies. It promotes social gaming with both cooperative and competitive elements for groups of up to four players in the same room and has plenty of good imaginative play that will make kids interested in exploring and solving simple puzzles. What's more, one of the playable characters is Princess Peach, making this a rare Mario adventure game in which girls (and boys) can play as a female character.
Is It Any Good?
Super Mario 3D World is yet another brilliant entry in Nintendo's long-running Mario franchise. The free-to-roam -- yet still short and linear -- worlds are a pleasure to explore, luring players to search for the countless secret areas, power-ups, coins, and stars scattered around them. Also, the new cat and clone power-ups -- which join classics including Fire Flowers, Mega Mushrooms, Boomerang Flowers, and the Super Leaf (which outfits Mario and his friends in Racoon suits) -- are fine additions that create a new dimension to gameplay. Equally enjoyable to play alone and in groups, in quick 10-minute bursts as well as afternoon-long marathons, Super Mario 3D World is the must-own Wii U game of 2013.
Also, here's a bonus you may not notice at first: If you've played New Super Luigi U, you can access a game called Luigi Bros. -- based on the original Mario Bros. from 1983 -- by tapping the Luigi button on the Start screen. If you haven't played New Super Luigi U, don't worry; the bonus game unlocks for everyone after you finish the main game. It's a great way to cap yet another terrific Mario game.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.