Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury for Nintendo Switch review: A near purrfect port for everyone to enjoy

Bowsers Fury Fury Bowser
(Image: © iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom Line: Super Mario 3D World is a fun game whether you're playing solo or with others. The controls have been updated to work perfectly on Switch and the added Bowser's Fury standalone is just the cherry on top to make this port perfect. It's definitely worth your while.


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    Up to four players, Captain Toad section multiplayer

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    Challenge progresses, every character has unique skills

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    Bowser's Fury is a fun addition

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    Updated controls and mechanics

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    Plenty of replay value

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    Online play works well


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    Hard to complete some levels with others

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    Bowser's Fury is short

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    No voice chat

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I was ecstatic when I learned that Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury was coming to the Switch. I love the initial Wii U game and couldn't wait to check out the new standalone featuring a Godzilla-sized Calamity Koopa. However, I knew that the Super Mario 3D World employed some controls that would feel awkward on the Switch and was curious how they would improve those mechanics for the hybrid console.

Super Mario 3D World is a solo to four-player 3D sidescroller with short levels and plenty of worlds to run through. Meanwhile, Bowser's Fury is an open-world adventure for only one to two players. It's very obvious that Super Mario 3D World represents an old Mario mindset, while Bowser's Fury is a glimpse towards Mario's future. But they're both thoroughly enjoyable. In my opinion, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is one of the best Nintendo Switch games out there.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury review

Super Mario 3d World Large Toad (Image credit: iMore)
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CategorySuper Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
TitleSuper Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
GenrePlatformer, Action
PlatformsNintendo Switch
Game Size2.9GB
PlayersSuper Mario 3D World: Local and online, up to 4 players
Bowser's Fury: Local, up to two players

Upon booting up the game, I was happy to find that I could select either Bowser's Fury or Super Mario 3D World directly from the title screen without having to unlock anything. Since I'm already thoroughly familiar with Super Mario 3D World, I jumped straight into gigantic Bowser territory. It didn't disappoint. Since Bowser's Fury is its own game, I've included a review for it specifically after my review for Super Mario 3D World.

Super Mario 3D World review

Super Mario 3d World Bowser And Sprixies (Image credit: iMore)

Even though I've played Super Mario 3D World countless times on the Wii U, it provided an uproarious good time for my friends and me on Switch. I usually opt to play competitively, which always results in hysterical laughter, trash talk, and screaming. From start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a great game to play with anyone regardless of their skill level.

Super Mario 3D World review What I like

Several minor changes that do away with the Wii U's quirky controls for a better Switch experience.

I noticed several minor changes that do away with the Wii U's quirky controls for a better Switch experience. For example, certain platforms were different from the original game, you now press the R button to make a cursor appear on screen if you need to interact with something, and the characters move faster than they did on the original version.

The characters respond quickly to the joysticks and their unique skills make it easier to find a character that matches your play style. For instance, if someone feels less confident in making split-sections movements, they might want to play as Peach since she can temporarily float in the air. I prefer to play as Toad since he's the fastest one and has the best traction.

Super Mario 3d World Captain Toad Multiplayer (Image credit: iMore)

Another large change is that the Captain Toad sections, which are puzzles where players attempt to acquire a number of Stars without being able to jump, can now be played with up to four people. In the original game it could only be played solo, which was an awkward limit for anyone playing multiplayer. Each character plays as a unique Toad. Unfortunately, I also discovered that everyone has the ability to move the camera, which can be really disorienting. To get through these sections, I found it best to designate someone in the group to be on camera control.

Local and Online multiplayer

As with many Nintendo games, this one makes it super easy to play with others on the same system. Depending on how you play, this can really change the feel of the game. Maybe you're working to sabotage your teammates, maybe you're all trying to work together, or perhaps you're trying to see if you can beat your previous solo-mode score. The addition of online multiplayer in the Switch version makes it so you can always play with others when you want to. Everyone just needs a copy of the game and a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

By creating a room with a password, I was able to play with one of my co-workers in a different state. There seemed to be a slight lag at times while we played, but other than that, we never disconnected and we were able to play through several levels without issue.

Super Mario 3D World review What I don't like

Bowsers Fury Bowser Blocks (Image credit: iMore)

When playing online multiplayer, it would have been nice if we could have worn headsets to hear each other's trash talk, but that's not supported on the Switch. If you really want to, you could have a phone call with the person you're playing with and just put it on speaker phone, but it isn't as nice as a voice chat feature would have been.

This second issue is something that existed in the Wii U version. Some of the items are incredibly hard to get if multiple people are playing. This is especially true in the last few worlds when the stages become more and more difficult. You'll likely end up dying quickly unless you have one person running through and controlling where the camera goes. As such it can be a rather frustrating experience depending on your skill level.

Bowser's Fury review

Bowsers Fury Bowser Jr (Image credit: iMore)

Nintendo really didn't have to go through the trouble of adding another standalone game to this port, but they did and the result is purr-fection. Mario finds himself at Lake Lapcat where Bowser has taken on an enormous form, breathing fire and causing fireballs to rain from the sky. Bowser Jr. asks for the plumber's assistance in turning his dad back to normal, so the two embark on a mission to collect Cat Shines from around the various islands in the area.

It took me about three hours to beat Bowser's Fury, but I'm guessing it would take me another three or four to grab all of the collectibles and 100% complete this short game. It definitely felt a little short, but then considering this is just a cherry on top of an already great game, I can't complain.

Bowser's Fury review What I like

Revisiting areas of the map often provides new challenges and activities that weren't there before.

Lake Lapcat is a charming place where just about everything has cat ears, the enemies, the flowers...even the rainbows and sun. It's just a silly location that's fun to explore. Unlike Super Mario 3D World's sidescrolling multiplayer, Bowser's Fury is an open-world experience designed for one to two players, similar to Super Mario Odyssey.

The controls feel mostly the same as they are in Super Mario 3D World so it's easy to jump in. However, player one can only play as Mario instead of having other characters to choose from. Not only is the map spacious, but revisiting areas of the map often provides new challenges and activities that weren't there before.

One player controls Mario while the other commands Bowser Jr. They both can attack enemies. However, Bowser Jr. can also interact with wall paintings to make items appear. If you're playing solo, then the player controls Mario but can also direct Bowser Jr. to unlock wall paintings.

Bowsers Fury Lake Lapcat (Image credit: iMore)

While playing on my own, the settings menu lets me determine how much the Bowser Jr. AI helps me. I found that he mostly got in the way of what I was trying to do when he was on the highest assist mode. For instance, I would plan to jump on an enemy's head so I could reach a platform, but he'd rush ahead of me and defeat the enemy so I'd just fall to my doom. As such, I opted to not have him give any assistance. However, he can also help you find secrets and hidden items. You'll just have to determine how you want to play.

Massive Fury Bowser shows up at regular intervals looking like he's covered in oozing ink and wreaks havoc for a short amount of time. You'll know he's coming because his shell is spinning faster and higher in the air and it starts raining. Collecting a Cat Shine immediately makes him leave, but if you can't find one, it's ok. Fury Bowser goes away on his own after a few minutes.

Bowser's Fury review What I don't like

Bowsers Fury Bowser Blocks (Image credit: iMore)

Bowser is not just a terrifying enemy, he's necessary for collecting important items. New platforms appear when he shows up, allowing me to reach new areas. Additionally, Bowser's fireballs are needed in order to break down specific Bowser Blocks, which usually hide Cat Shines. So you need to lead him to specific areas to get collectibles.

The thing is, his repeated appearances felt horrifying at first but gradually just felt annoying. I wanna say he regularly showed up about every five minutes and then it increased as I got closer to the end. I can easily see this making the game stressful for some people. But if you like a challenge and are actually running from one Cat Shine to the next instead of just dinking around, you'll be able to keep him under control. Other than that, I only wish the Bowser's Fury section was longer.

Should I buy Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury?

Super Mario 3d World Casino

Super Mario 3d World Casino (Image credit: iMore)

Yes, for the love of Cat Mario what are you waiting for? Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is a game that should be on every Switch owner's shelf. It's the perfect pickup party game, it allows you to play with friends around the world who also have the same game. It has plenty of replay value and it's incredibly charming.

The Bowser's Fury section is an added bonus that provides even more fun for one to two players. The massive Bowser you encounter can be terrifying, but he's easy to manage once you get the hang of the game. Super Mario 3D World represents an older era in the Mario franchise while Bowser's Fury employs controls that feel more like what you'd expect on the Switch. If you're looking for a fun adventure to share with others then you really ought to have Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury in your library.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.