Super Mario 3D World is not extra-dimensional in the sense that it requires special specs to play it. Nor does it run on some glasses-free, 2D-defying tech like the Nintendo 3DS. No, its name actually comes from the title that spawned it, Super Mario 3D Land, which was, in fact, played on the aforementioned 3D device.
While not technically three-dimensional, though, Mario’s latest Goomba-stomping romp pops off the screen like no entry in the popular franchise before it. Forgoing the series’ oft-used side-scrolling formula in favor of layered level layouts that stretch to foregrounds, backgrounds, and any space in between, 3D World is a platforming fan’s paradise. Toss in stunning HD visuals, complemented by a rainbow-shaming color palette and plenty of clever camera perspectives, and 3D World’s Sprixieland is the most imaginative Mario universe I’ve experienced since planet-hopping in the Galaxy games.
More than just painting a pretty picture, the eye-popping presentation translates to the title’s creative level designs as well. Environments are constantly changing, tossing up new eye-candy-coated challenges at every turn; from piloting giant ice skates and exploring a pirate shipwreck to traversing river rapids atop a dinosaur and avoiding a Bullet Bill barrage while riding a Bowser-themed train, this is not your typical Super Mario run-and-jump collect-a-thon.
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