Impressions: Super Mario 3D World For Wii U (Trailer Added)
In a new game announced for Wii U, Nintendo's iconic plumber will team up with Peach, Luigi, and Toad – and transform himself into a cat with a new power-up.
In the Mario series, this new title is, as the title suggests, a follow-up to Super Mario 3D Land for 3DS. However, in keeping in line with recent tradition, this Wii U title will feature four-player multiplayer similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U. Like 3D Land, the game blends 3D and 2D style gamplay with a variety of camera angles, but plays out mostly from a more pulled-out, isometric viewpoint.
As before, the multiplayer adds a bit of chaos to the mix, but you'll always be able to catch up with your companions by floating back in a bubble when you die. The levels look to be the expertly designed platforming that we've come to expect (the game is being developed by the internal Nintendo team responsible for 3D Land and the two Galaxy titles). There are some interesting twists, however. Pipes seem to play a more prominent role and, for the first time, you'll be able to see into them. That's right, clear pipes are real. You can actually see how Mario and the gang travel through pipes. As it turns out, they don't go feet first, rather head first similar to Superman flying. These clear pipes make some new gameplay possible. You'll often enter a grid of pipes, sometimes populated cycling enemies, and use the d-pad to take different pipe paths to avoid danger.
As far as Wii U specific features, the implementation of the touch pad seems to be fairly minimal. As you would expect, the extra multiplayer players can play using Wii remotes, so there really can't be any core game commands that use the touch pad. However, the player that does control the touch pad can touch enemies to stun them for a second, much like the use of the Wii remote in "co-star" mode in Mario Galaxy.
The biggest change to the gameplay is the new cat power, which Nintendo insisted was not a "suit" but a "transformation." This is a power-up like a fire flower, etc., and once you transform into a cat, you can use your agility to perform a "pounce" roll to kill enemies. The most important way in which the cat changes the Mario gameplay is in the ability to climb up the side walls of platforms. It's cool, and will inevitably lead to a host of new secrets and hidden areas. It is limited, however, to make sure that it doesn't break the game. After climbing to a certain height, you'll slide down with your claws.
Overall, Super Mario 3D World looks to be another great addition to the Mario series. However, I was a bit disappointed that it doesn't really seem to represent a bold new direction for the series, as Mario Galaxy did on the Wii.
Visit our E3 News Headquarters for all the stories from the show. This preview was originally published on June 11, 2013.