Super Mario 3D World

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Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World box art.jpg
Packaging artwork
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD Tokyo[a]
Director(s)Koichi Hayashida[1]
Kenta Motokura[2]
Producer(s)Yoshiaki Koizumi
Programmer(s)Hideyuki Sugawara
Norihiro Aoyagi
Artist(s)Daisuke Watanabe
Rikuto Yoshida
SeriesSuper Mario
Platform(s)Wii U
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Super Mario 3D World[b] is a platform video game in the Super Mario series developed and published by Nintendo for their Wii U home video game console. It is the sixth original 3D platform game in the series and the sequel to the 2011 Nintendo 3DS game Super Mario 3D Land. The game follows Mario and friends attempting to rescue fairy-like creatures called Sprixies from Bowser, who invades the realm known as the Sprixie Kingdom. The gameplay is similar to previous installments of the series, with players passing through individual levels to reach Bowser. The game also introduces a power-up called the Super Bell, which turns the character being played into a cat, enabling them to climb walls and use a scratch attack, as well as a character selector.

The game was critically acclaimed for its level design, presentation, replay value and soundtrack, though some reviewers voiced criticism on its unreliable camera during multiplayer. The game was a financial success, selling over 5 million units worldwide, and becoming the second best-selling game on the Wii U system.


Luigi, Toad, Peach, and Mario (pictured from left to right) sprint through Really Rolling Hills, a level within the game.

The levels of the game follows a similar play style to Super Mario 3D Land, which combines the free-roaming gameplay of 3D Super Mario games with the mechanics of 2D side-scrolling platforming games in the series, including a flagpole and timer in the levels.[9] Up to four players may control player characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad. Additionally, Rosalina appears as a hidden, unlockable fifth playable character. Similar to their appearances in Super Mario Bros. 2,[10] each of the characters possesses unique abilities and controls differently: Mario has balanced running speed and jump height; Luigi jumps higher and falls slower, but has lower traction; Peach can jump and shortly float through the air, but runs slowly; Toad runs the fastest, but cannot jump as high and falls faster; and Rosalina can use the spin attack move as seen in the Super Mario Galaxy games, but has the slowest running speed.[11] The player can select any of the five characters to use before beginning a level, and up to four players may explore the same level simultaneously with each character, sharing from a pool of lives. Players are also able to pick up, carry and throw each other to either help or hinder their progress.[12]

The levels of the game are accessed through a world map, in which players can explore to find hidden secrets or access bonus areas to earn more items or coins. Each level contains three hidden collectable Green Stars which are required to access certain levels, and each main level contains a hidden Stamp which can be used in handwritten posts to Miiverse within the game's community. Players can also view messages left by other players, both on the world map and after clearing a level, and can download 'Mii Ghosts', which are live records of other players completing levels. They are used to race against and sometimes hold gift prizes such as coins or extra lives.[13] Additional Green Stars can be earned in Captain Toad levels, where players control Captain Toad, who cannot jump, as he navigates puzzle-like stages using the GamePad's functionality, and Mystery Houses, where players must clear a series of challenges with short time limits, as well as challenge levels, that have the player complete quick challenges in fast succession.[14][15]

Along with several returning items from previous games, such as the Fire Flower, Super Leaf, Mega Mushroom, Propeller Box and Boomerang Flower, several items are introduced. The Super Bell gives players a Cat Suit, allowing them to run faster, perform unique attacks and climb up walls to reach new areas. A variation of the Super Bell, the Lucky Bell, allows the player to temporarily transform their character into a lucky cat statue that awards coins under certain conditions.[16] Another new power-up are the Double Cherries, which make a clone of the player, allowing for more effective attacks and a higher chance of survival; the more Double Cherries the player uses, the more clones that appear. Players can also wear Cannon Boxes, which fire shots at enemies, Light Blocks, which can defeat ghosts and Goomba masks, which let them blend in with enemy Goombas. Players are also able to pick up various objects, such as bombs, baseballs and Piranha Plants, which can be used to defeat enemies or solve puzzles, and ride around in a Skating Shoe or on an aquatic dinosaur named Plessie.[17]

The game features functionality with the Wii U GamePad, allowing players to rub the touchscreen, or blow into the microphone to reveal hidden blocks or items, hinder enemies and activate mechanisms. The game also supports Off-TV Play.[18] The game is also compatible with the Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Classic Controller and Wii U Pro Controller.[19] An unlockable Luigi-themed version of Mario Bros., Luigi Bros., is accessed by clearing the game or by having save data from New Super Luigi U.[20]


Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad find a tilted glass pipe. After Mario and Luigi fix it, a green Sprixie Princess appears and tells them that Bowser kidnapped and trapped the rest of the Sprixie Princesses in jars. He arrives and captures her before escaping through the pipe, while the heroes enter it and pursue him. They find themselves in a realm known as "The Sprixie Kingdom" and set off to find the fairies. After the heroes save the final Sprixie, Bowser re-captures all seven fairies and heads to his amusement park fortress. There after Bowser uses the Super Bell to transform into "Meowser" (a cat-like Bowser), one of them hits a giant POW Block that Bowser stands on and he falls through the sky. With Bowser defeated, the heroes say goodbye to the fairies, and travel through the pipe back to the Mushroom Kingdom.


Director Koichi Hayashida promoting the game at E3 2013

In a January 2013 Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced that a new 3D Mario game was being produced by the development team behind Super Mario Galaxy.[21][22] The title was announced during the E3 2013 Nintendo Direct on June 11, 2013, along with its tentative release date of November 2013.[5]

A staff of 100 personnel wrote ideas for game mechanics upon sticky notes, which were collected upon the studio walls and then evaluated. If the team liked an idea, they would implement it in-game to test it. Kenta Motokura, a director of the game stated "We discussed and discarded a huge number of ideas during development - sometimes you just can't tell if an idea is good or bad by looking at it on the drawing board; when this happens, we try it out in-game. If we don't find the idea fun, it won't make it into the final product. There was a lot of back and forth on the course designs due to this".[23]

The game's signature feline costumery came early in development, to implement an attack mechanic, introduce the ability to climb walls, and to help a novice to clear obstacles. The inspiration for the Double Cherry, an item that creates controllable clones of a player character, came late in development when a developer erroneously inserted an extra copy of Mario's character model into a level. The team was relieved to see that the game did not crash with two identical characters present, and were amused that both could be controlled simultaneously. Developers "scrambled" to include this feature in the final game.[23]

According to Koichi Hayashida, Peach was originally not going to be a playable character. Yoshiaki Koizumi suggested for Peach to be playable, which would be agreed upon. Koizumi reasoned, "I think she adds a lot to the sense of competition when you get in multiplayer ... You can have different people choosing different characters based on their personality or whoever they like."[24] Hayashida also revealed that Super Mario 3D World was meant to be a Wii U game that fans of New Super Mario Bros. could enjoy, as well as a de facto continuation of Super Mario 3D Land.[23]

Similarly, Rosalina was later added as a playable character. Kenta Motokura said, "I was thinking about what would be pleasing after the ending and wanted to bring in another female character in addition to Princess Peach. Rosalina has a following among the Super Mario Galaxy fanbase, and she appeared in Mario Kart recently, so I think she's well known."[25]

The game's soundtrack was composed by Mahito Yokota, Toru Minegishi, Koji Kondo and Yasuaki Iwata, and performed by the Mario 3D World Big Band. A soundtrack was released for Club Nintendo members in Japan, Australia and Europe, featuring 77 tracks across two CDs.[26][27] The game had developmental assistance from 1-Up Studio.[28]


Aggregate score
Review scores
Game Informer9.25/10[34]
Game Revolution4.5/5 stars[35]
GamesRadar+4.5/5 stars[37]
Giant Bomb5/5 stars[38]
Joystiq5/5 stars[40]
Nintendo Life10/10[42]
Nintendo World Report10/10[41]

Super Mario 3D World was critically acclaimed. It gained scores of 92.77% and 93/100 on aggregate review websites GameRankings and Metacritic, respectively.[43][29] It also won many awards from media outlets, including Game of The Year (GOTY) from Eurogamer, Digital Spy, and MSN UK.

Famitsu gave the game a score of 38/40.[33] IGN's Jose Otero gave 3D World a 9.6/10, praising the visual design's "youthful energy," the "interesting risks" taken with the level designs, the "maddening challenge" offered by later worlds, and the "genuinely funny and memorable co-op". He said, "I reveled in the sheer brilliance of how much energy and gameplay mileage Nintendo has packed into every world." Otero's only complaint was that "the camera becomes a slight obstacle in four-player multiplayer".[39] GameTrailers gave the game a score of 9.5, praising its gameplay and presentation, while criticizing camera issues and some odd control choices.[44] GamesRadar gave the game a score of 4.5/5, praising improved multiplayer and some moments so brilliant that they can make some other levels seem dull by comparison.[37] Luke Plunkett of Kotaku called the game "a terrific Mario game... just not a very good Wii U game", praising the game itself, but lamenting that it doesn't do much to show off the Wii U's capabilities.[45] Patrick Klepek at Giant Bomb, saying "World continues to make the case that it's possible to reinvent a classic over and over again".[46]

Anime News Network gave the game an A grade, calling it "fun, imaginative, and filled with little surprises and delights."[47] Edge rated the game 9/10, calling it "Wii U's best game to date," and "the most next-gen game that 2013 has yet produced," and stating that Mario is the most fun character to play as because "his cohorts' abilities aren't anything special".[31] Destructoid's Chris Carter awarded the game a 10/10, praising the power-ups (especially the catsuit, which "open[s] up [doors] platforming-wise that weren't there before," and the double cherry, which "Nintendo really outdid themselves in terms of the technical mechanics" to make possible), the "incredibly sharp" graphics, and "one of the best OSTs I've ever heard". Carter wrote that "the only downfall of the design is the selection of boss fights," as Nintendo "had achieved a level of platforming design that's close to perfection".[30] Joystiq's Richard Mitchell gave the game 5/5 stars, praising the "astounding" visual craftsmanship, "excellent soundtrack," and "artful, purposeful design" which "communicates goals with complete clarity".[40] GameZone's Mike Splechta gave it a 9.5/10, stating "With multiple characters to play as (harking back to Super Mario Bros. 2) and an unlockable fifth, a fantastic and unobtrusive multiplayer component and enough new power-ups to make even Mario's head spin, you're bound to have a highly enjoyable time with one of the best 3D platformers released thus far."[48]

Eurogamer's Christian Donlan gave the game a 10/10, describing it as "an endless freewheeling treat of a game" with an "ad-libbed drive to...explore how many different situations [Mario] can be squashed into". He noted that this inventiveness carries over to the "lavish and quick-changing" soundtrack: "This is pastiche at its most skillful, its most panoramic."[32] Cheat Code Central's Jenni Lada gave the game a 5/5, calling it "the closest we will ever come to a perfect Mario game, one that is a culmination of every right decision ever made in the series."[49] Nintendo World Report stated that it's a Mario game that one would want to continue playing once the game is beaten and may be the killer app of the Wii U, saying "Thankfully 3D World isn’t just a refinement of the Mario formula, it’s a powerful re-imagining. It’s an explosive cavalcade of color and excitement as well as a well thought out evolution of Mario."[41] The Escapist gave the game four out of five stars, but was slightly critical of it, saying "Buy it if you love that little plumber, and enjoy the new toys, but don't expect your mind to be blown."[50]


In Japan, the game's first week sales in three days at retail, totaled to 99,588 copies sold (not including eShop download sales)[51] and 57% of its initial shipment.[52] The sales were considered low at first, but it maintained strong sales during the following weeks. By January 5, the game's sales totaled about 400,000 units in Japan and was still on the weekly top 10 charts.[53]

In the UK, the game debuted at number 14, behind its competitor, Knack, which debuted at number 13.[54] During its first eight days on the market, there were 215,000 units sold in the US according to the NPD Group, debuting out of the Top 10.[55]

As of September 30, 2019, the game had yielded sales of 5.83 million units worldwide, making it the Wii U's second best-selling game.[56]


Based on and expanding upon the game's "Captain Toad" puzzle-based levels, a separate game, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, was released for the Wii U on November 13, 2014 in Japan, December 5, 2014 in North America and in January 2015 in PAL regions as a spin-off to Super Mario 3D World featuring Captain Toad and Toadette. Years later, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was released worldwide for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS on July 13, 2018. It was received with favorable reviews.

In late 2014, downloadable content was released by Nintendo for Mario Kart 8, containing the ability to play as 'Cat Peach', which is a reproduction of her pink cat costume from obtaining the Super Bell item in Super Mario 3D World.[57]

Elements from Super Mario 3D World show up in Super Mario Maker 2, as assets players can use while designing their course.[58]


Pre-release awards and nominations
Year Awards Category Result Ref.
2013 Destructoid's Best of E3 Best Wii U Game Nominated [59]
Best Platformer Nominated
GameTrailers Best of E3 Best Wii U Exclusive Nominated [60]
IGN's Best of E3 Best Overall Game Nominated [61]
Best Wii U Game Nominated
Best Platforming Game Nominated
The Nerdist Best of E3 Best Platformer Won [62]
Post-release awards and nominations
Year Awards Category Result Ref.
2013 Cheat Code Central 7th Annual Cody Awards Best Nintendo Game Won [63]
Digital Spy Game of the Year Won [64]
Eurogamer Game of the Year Won [65]
GameRevolution Game of the Year Nominated [66]
Best Wii U Exclusive Won [67]
GameSpot's Game of the Year Wii U Game of the Year Nominated [68]
GameTrailers Game of the Year Awards 2013 Game of the Year Nominated [69]
Best Nintendo Game Won [70]
IGN's Best of 2013 Best Overall Game Nominated [71]
Best Overall Music Nominated [72]
Best Overall Platformer Game Won [73]
Best Wii U Game Won [74]
Best Wii U Music Won [75]
Best Wii U Graphics Won [76]
Best Wii U Platformer Game Won [77]
Spike VGX Game of the Year Nominated [78]
Best Nintendo Game Won
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers (NAVGTR) awards Game, Franchise Family Won [79]
Camera Direction in a Game Engine Nominated
Game Design, Franchise Nominated
Game of the Year Nominated
2014 BAFTA Video Games Awards Best Game Nominated [80]
Best Family Game Nominated
Best Multiplayer Game Nominated
Best Original Music Nominated
Game Developers Choice Awards Game of the Year Nominated [81]
Best Design Nominated
32nd Golden Joystick Award Best Audio Nominated [82]
Game of the Year Nominated
Best Multiplayer Nominated
SXSW Gaming Awards Game of the Year Nominated [83]
Excellence in Gameplay Nominated
Excellence in Animation Nominated
Excellence in Technical Achievement Nominated
Best Multiplayer Game Won


  1. ^ Development Cooperation by 1-UP Studio
  2. ^ Japanese: スーパーマリオ3Dワールド Hepburn: Sūpā Mario Surī Dī Wārudo


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External links[edit]