Last week the incredible yet nearly forgotten Super Mario 3D World, formerly a Wii U exclusive, was re-released on the Nintendo Switch. That game alone is very good and you should certainly check it out if you’re one of the many people who missed it when it was initially released back in 2013. That’s all well and good, but what I really want to talk about is the bundled game that comes alongside this new port of Super Mario 3D World, a little game called Bowser’s Fury.
For context, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (a bad title for a great package) is a full-priced game that contains the entirety of Super Mario 3D World, alongside an open-world 3D Mario game called Bowser’s Fury. While I’m sure I’ll end up writing a review or something for Bowser’s Fury later on, for today I want to highlight how cool of an idea this game is and why Nintendo won’t fully capitalize on it. Nintendo will certainly make a fully open-world 3D Mario game, that’s not in contention here. But Bowser’s Fury is a bite-sized example of what that might look like, and honestly, I’m way more into the idea of a smaller and more focused Mario experience than having to wait 5-7 years for a new Mario game.
Bowser’s Fury is only about 5-10 hours long depending on how thorough you want to get, which is honestly the perfect amount of game for me at the moment. But like I said, Nintendo won’t ever capitalize on this idea in a way that doesn’t come off as them “devaluing their IP.” Ideally, I would love to see a game in the vein of Bowser’s Fury release for like $20-$30 or something. Just like a nice aperitif of that Mario flavor we all enjoy so much, coming out once every two years or something to that effect.
It’s a shame too, because these little experiences could serve as table-setting for whatever big 3D Mario game is coming out. Imagine for a moment that Super Mario Odyssey 2 is coming out, that’s a good feeling isn’t it? Now in the run up to that game, people are gonna be asking the same questions about if any of the supporting Mario cast will make an appearance in the game. People could finally get the Waluigi game they some desperately have been asking for, but that won’t happen because he’s a terrible character. But you could give us a Luigi game that explains why he won’t be in this hypothetical sequel while also giving the player a soft introduction to the mechanics and flow of Super Mario Odyssey 2.
Bowser’s Fury proves that you can make a compelling and engaging platformer without releasing a full blown 3D Mario game, but I don’t think Nintendo will ever make good on that concept. Maybe you’ll see more of these kinds of experiences bundled into bigger products and re-releases, but I sincerely doubt we’ll ever see small standalone titles that are priced accordingly. But I guess at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter for Nintendo, because people are gonna buy a Mario game no matter the scope or price. But man, it would sure be cool if we got that Waluigi side story game where you watch him get hurled into a black hole.
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