Super Mario 3D World tips, tricks, and secrets

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

You're going to want to take advantage of our Super Mario 3D World tips and tricks if you want to make it far. Some levels are down right difficult and there are several secrets that can make things easier for you along the way. Here are the best tips, tricks, and secrets to help you gather all Super Mario 3D World Stars and Stamps, along with making it easier to get through each level.

Looking for other fun titles to play? Check out our list of the best Nintendo Switch games of all time.

1. Use each character's special skills to your advantage

Certain Green Stars, Stamps, Key Coins or other goodies can be easier to acquire when you're playing as a specific character. If you're unable to reach something, you might want to consider trying the level as a different character since they all have unique skills and weaknesses.

  • Mario: Balanced running speed, medium traction, and average jump height. An all-around good character for competitive and cooperative play.
  • Luigi: Jumps the highest, falls slower, but has lower traction. Great for reaching the top of flagpoles or reaching high items.
  • Peach: Can briefly float in the air after jumping, but runs slower. Can help avoid landing on dangerous spots or float to reach collectibles.
  • Toad: Runs the fastest but cannot jump high and falls fast. Perfect for chasing down rabbits or beating others to Stars.
  • Rosalina: Does a spin attack but has lowest running speed. Excellent choice for new players just getting used to the game or for taking down enemies in a hurry. However, she is only unlocked after beating World Star-1: Rainbow Run.

2. Always activate the Checkpoint Flag

There are a few reasons for doing this. First off, the first person to touch the checkpoint flag midway through a level gets extra points added to their personal total. Secondly, things tend to get trickier after the flag. Activating the midway points makes it so that if you die, you only have to start back at the checkpoint flag with everything you acquired up to that point rather than at the start of the level with nothing.

Super Mario 3D World Pick Teammates Up (Image credit: Nintendo)

3. Carry the team

If you go up to a teammate's character and press a button, you'll be able to pick them up, run with them, or even throw them. This can be helpful for reaching certain Stars and Stamps. Additionally, if one of your friends doesn't have confidence it making it through a stretch, you might be able to carry them through it. Of course, if you're playing competitively, you can also do this to mess with your opposition.

4. Extra power-ups make levels easier

As you run through levels, you'll acquire power-ups by hitting ? Blocks. If you have an extra power-up in your inventory, you can use it to change your current power-up ability. Say you're currently turned into a cat with a Super Bell, but you come to an area where you need to light torches. Grab the Fire Flower from your inventory and give yourself the proper abilities. Extra power-ups are also helpful in the event that you get hurt to restore you to a large form.

4. Multiplayer Ground Pound power

When playing with others, if everyone manages to Ground Pound at the same time, it releases a shockwave that destroys nearby enemies. Just be careful with this, as doing a Ground Pound near another player who isn't doing one can temporarily stun your friend's character. Of course, stunning another player might be a strategic move if you're playing competitively and not cooperatively.

5. Some levels are easier going solo, some easier in multiplayer

Depending on the obstacles and puzzles presented in various levels, it can be easier to play on your own or with friends. For instance, if there's a Green Star in a particularly tricky area where it's easier to fall, it might be better to have one player go for it. However, triggering certain platforms or collecting Coins within a timelimit can be much easier done with multiple people to help.

Super Mario 3d World Infinite Life Trick Jumping On Shell (Image credit: @TWD98 on YouTube)

6. Infinite Lives

While in World 1-2: Koopa Troopa Cave, make your way under ground and to the right until you see the Koopa going back and forth between the two rows of purple Brick Blocks. Jump on the Koopa once, steal its shell, and then run barely into the cave opening on the right. Put your back to one cave wall, let the shell go, and then jump. If you time it right, you'll jump on shell when it comes bouncing back at you. If you successfully make seven repeated landings on the shell, you'll start earning a 1-Up for each time you land on it after that. This can be tricky to master, but it's worth it.

Why does this happen? Players can earn points by jumping on enemies and Green Shells. If players jump on enemies several times in a row without touching the ground, the game automatically begins rewarding them with 1-Ups. Usually this is a tricky feat, but the spacing of the wall in World 1-2 combined with the shell speed and Mario's falling speed makes it pretty easy.

7. Skip ahead with Secret Warp Pipes

Super Mario 3D World is set up in such a way that you typically need to beat one World to move onto the next. However, there are two secret warp pipes that allow you to jump ahead to another World without beating the World's bosses. Here's where they are:

  • World 1-2: Koopa Troopa Cave — Takes you to World 2.
  • World 4-2: Piranha Creeper Creek — Takes you to World 5.

8. Double Cherry control

There are multiple areas where having Double Cherries allows you to activate elevator pads and panels. But there will be instances when your duplicate characters get separated and you'll need to bring them together to walk onto a platform at the same time. To this, I suggest having them walk against walls or corners until they meet up again.

9. Win the Slot Machines

Most Worlds have at least one Slot Machine. If players are able to match up four of the same images they are rewarded with lots of Coins. Fortunately, there's a trick to making this more doable. After hitting the first block, go to the next one and wait for the same image to appear. Now count to three and then jump. This ought to make you hit the same image. Repeat until all four images are activated.

10. Don't jump into the last green pipe right away

Several of Super Mario 3D World's Stars are hidden at the end of the level. If you've made it to what seems to be the green pipe leading to the area with the flagpole and you haven't found the third Green Star yet, then take a second to investigate beyond the pipe before entering it. You might just find a Green Star waiting for you.

Super Mario 3D World tips and tricks and secrets too

These are all of the best Super Mario 3D World tips and tricks that we have, and we're passing it on to you. With this knowledge, you should be able to reach more Stars and hopefully have an easier time getting through each level. The levels get infinitely harder near the end, so make sure to hone your skills in the early levels.

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.