It’s too bad, because “3D World” is considered one of the finest Mario games ever released. Polygon listed it as the 5th best game in Mario’s oeuvre. It was a sequel to “Super Mario 3D Land,” the Nintendo 3DS title that brought an isometric camera angle to the series. This helped the level designers focus on building more traditional platformer levels like the older games, rather than the open-world jaunts of “Super Mario 64” and “Super Mario Sunshine.” Thus, “3D World” was home to some of the tightest and creative level designs in the Mario series. But until the Switch release on Feb. 12, that creativity was locked to a dead console.
Fortunately, the millions who didn’t buy a Wii U can finally experience this underrated masterpiece. And Nintendo surprised players on Tuesday when the “Bowser’s Fury” mode was revealed to be more than just an additional character mode, like the “New Funky Mode,” an additional feature in “Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze” for the Switch that became a meme icon.
Instead, “Bowser’s Fury” leans further into the cat suit of “3D World,” which both Mario and Bowser wore in the original game. Now everything is a cat. The doors are cats. The Little Goombas are cats. The birds are now cat birds. Every tree has cat ears. The coins are shaped like cats. And there are ancient cat hieroglyphics written along the walls of the world.
And the world! “Bowser’s Fury” seems to take the “3D World” moveset, all created for linear action, and brings it into an open world like 2018′s “Super Mario Odyssey,” complete with creatures to ride, and for some reason, Bowser’s son, Bowser Jr., tagging along and helping you.
The end of the trailer shows Bowser awakening and becoming larger than ever, which prompts Mario to transform into an even bigger cat. Mario grows to the size of a stadium, and his cat fur spikes up like Goku, from “Dragon Ball Z.“
The Switch has given a second life to so many Wii U releases, most notably “Mario Kart 8,” which remains the best-selling title on the newer system. It’s a huge bonus to see that “Bowser’s Fury” is more than many would’ve expected from Nintendo, which has mostly shied away from making meaningful updates to Wii U rereleases. It’s partly why “New Funky Mode” became a meme: We still love the games, despite Nintendo’s low-effort attempts to make them newly attractive.
The recent decision to lock the popular “Super Mario 35” free game and the recent “3D All-Stars” collection to a limited release through March continues to anger many fans. At the very least, “Bowser’s Fury” shows Nintendo is willing to give a cat’s chance in hell for one of its most overlooked masterpieces.