The game that keeps on living.

Reviewed on New 3DS

Oh, how anxious I was to purchase a New Nintendo 3DS! The enlarged screen real estate, the added joystick, and Xenoblade Chronicles hyped me more than any recent announcement. But, oh, how disappointed I’ve been since its launch last year. Sure, Xenoblade Chronicles is an incredible RPG / gaming experience. The improved glasses-free 3D capabilities that follow your head movement is also greatly appreciated. But outside of Xenoblade Chronicles, absolutely nothing new has been released for the New Nintendo 3DS. From my perspective, Nintendo launched a minuscule effort to sate those who adopted the handheld early by offering some retro games exclusively for the New 3DS. Earthbound and Super Mario World are two of those titles exclusive to the 3DS (though Super Mario World, at least, exists on the Wii U). The inclusion of these two games almost makes me forget the salty taste in my mouth.

Super Mario World is the phenomenal platforming adventure from Nintendo that graced the SNES launch. Truly one of the first games I ever played, Super Mario World exists in a warm, nostalgic, and positively memorable place in my heart. I love it so much that I own it on the Wii U and, now, the New 3DS (I also bought it for my brother’s bridal shower gift, along with a SNES). In other words, the game is fantastic. And having played its newer ports, I can safely say it is still fantastic. Below, you’ll find the reasons why.

Super Mario title screen

In a world of gaming where adults and children are often segregated and advertised quite differently, the Mario franchise has lived in harmony with both. So what is Super Mario World? It is a continuation of the Mario legacy, where Bowser has kidnapped a family of Yoshi eggs and distributed them between his many castles. Mario himself traverses numerous overhead maps and selects levels that unlock upon the completion of a preceding stage. A miniature castle sits at the end of each map, and a mini-boss – of many different variations – lurks in the final dungeon.

But Super Mario World is as simple yet more complex than that setup would imply. A child easily navigates the game, but each stage offers a fresh experience. No two levels are even closely the same. Some images are repeated, of course, especially when on the same map (as they all share a similar theme). Castles and ghost houses, too, share similar aesthetics, but each offers a new challenge – and, as the game progresses, the challenges become more intense. Within each level, the now traditional power-ups and green Yoshis are available to put to use (though Yoshi cannot enter or be found in a castle or a ghost house).

Super Mario level

Controls in Super Mario World are very simple. The D-pad moves Mario, and hitting the ‘B’ button makes him jump. ‘A’ spins Mario in a deadly jump, and ‘Y’ allows Mario to pick up objects and sprint. Other button combinations help Mario to fly (with the cape) or eat objects and enemies while mounted on Yoshi. The game partly exists in such high regard today because the controls are so good. I found the Wii U tablet controller to be a bit sketchy with Super Mario World, especially with input lag, but on the SNES or via the New 3DS, Super Mario World really shines.

Music in Super Mario World may be the best of any Mario game. The tunes are so memorable that I’m sure I will never forget them (as I’ve kept them with me for my 20-some years since first playing the game). Just hearing the music rushes thick waves of nostalgia over me, and even my fiancé – a self-professed “incapable” gamer – loves Super Mario World and its music. It’s not often that I can find a game that unites so many people without needing the gamer designation tag.


As previously established, I love Super Mario World. If I had to choose some negatives – as probably no game is nor ever will be perfect – I’d have to suggest that the difficulty spikes unreasonably on quite a few levels. By now, gamers expect difficulty to increase as games progress, and that’s logical and fine. But I found myself burning through the majority of my lives on certain stages because of the spike. In a redeeming fashion, however, Super Mario World lets the player replay any completed level, allowing them to farm extra lives from many older worlds (particularly the first few stages).

Super Mario World is an essential game in any collection. It’s a game that remains wildly enjoyable today, 25 years later. With gameplay, concept, music, and build as pure as this, it’s easy to see why Nintendo would offer two of its most beloved titles as exclusives on the New 3DS. If you own a SNES, New 3DS, or Wii U, I highly recommend that you take the time to purchase Super Mario World and experience this incredible adventure.

Super Mario World Review
Ageless gameplay mechanics still hold upBeloved soundtrack from my childhoodDecent length and excellent replay valueGreat for both children and adults
Some unwelcome difficulty spikes
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