A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD introduces players to a new kind of creature in Mario's ever-expanding universe: the Sprixie. Sprixies are essentially cute little fairies, and it seems they're in possession of something Mario's nemesis Bowser wants. That's why he kidnaps them at the beginning of the game. This spurs Mario, his brother Luigi, and his friends Princess Peach and Toad (yes, up to four friends can play the game, and each character has his or her own defining traits, such as Peach's ability to float) to head out on an adventure to save the Sprixie Princess, her people, and her kingdom.
A follow-up to 2011's delightful Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS, this game is presented in the same three-dimensional perspective with a fixed camera providing a raised view of the action. Mario and his pals travel through eight worlds themed with ice, lava, canyons, grasslands, and more. All are filled with plenty of secrets and surprises -- including new, clear travel pipes with multiple branching paths -- as well as lots of cool power-ups, including Super Bells that outfit the player's character in a cute cat suit that lets them crawl up walls and Double Cherries that clone Mario and his friends, and players are required to solve some puzzles. Also, of course, there are lots of memorable bosses (extra-strong baddies you need to defeat).
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about exploration. What do you enjoy about going someplace new? Discovering things? Finding out what's around the next corner? Sharing what you've found and seen with friends?
Families also can discuss Princess Peach. It's great that kids can finally play as a female character in a Mario adventure, but what do you think of Nintendo's perpetually imperiled princess? Did you notice that this is one of the first games she's appeared in where she's not in need of rescue by Mario and Luigi?
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: November 22, 2013
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.