Nintendo dropped their first reveal of the year and with it, we all got our first taste of the additional content that Nintendo will be using to justify flogging this 7-year-old game, at full price. In all seriousness, Super Mario 3D World sold less than 6 million units on the much-maligned Wii U. That’s less than 10% of the Switch’s install base. Bringing it (a highly polished 3D Mario Title) to Nintendo Switch is what they, in the music industry I believe, call a Kurt Cobain-er.
The trailer dropped at 2 PM GMT on Tuesday 12th January and due to the inevitable COVID outbreak at my daughter’s nursery, it was closed so instead of having my usual free Tuesday, I instead had a child to entertain. A child who is, as fate would have it, absolutely obsessed with Bowser. We sat down to watch it and she literally lost her mind. Genuine, euphoric excitement. It’s like those horrible staged reactions you see fully grown adults do on YouTube, except not utterly cringe. Just a pure reaction to something that filed her tiny, beautiful, innocent heart with unbridled joy. Nintendo at their absolute best! More importantly, it was entirely ours and not shared with the reams of the great unwashed, the internet over. Ryan’s mum might have a lot more money than I, but I get to keep these moments for myself. Something, something Mastercard. Priceless.
Malice in wonderland
Going back to the actual reveal and I have a few musings. My first take was just how much Nintendo have borrowed from some of their other biggest franchises – more specifically Nintendo Switch releases within those franchise – within the confines of Bowser’s Fury. I am, of course, referring to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Sword/Shield, and perhaps even a little Super Mario Odyssey.
The initial feeling of an open-world sandbox experience no doubt delighted gamers the world over. Straight off the bat, Bowser’s Fury showcases its multiplayer functionality by having Bowser Jr. as Mario’s unlikely travelling companion. This will likely tie in loosely to the state of affairs in the game, but given that this is a Mario game, moreover an amuse-bouse of a DLC offering, I wouldn’t put too much weight into that. But that leads us nicely into my next point. Just what is up with Bowser? The guy looks positively rabid! As I alluded to earlier, in this somewhat sprawling piece, Bowser’s Fury appears to share some synergy with some other Nintendo Switch heavy-hitters. In this instance, Breath of the Wild. Areas of the game’s new area can be seen to be infected with malice like substance, none more so apparent than the great big cat Mario bell seen in its corrupted state at the beginning of the trailer and again towards the end, once Big-boy-Bowser has fully woken.
Does the Malice dissipate once Bowser is revived, with these previously blocked areas only available once Bowser is raining hell-fire down upon thee? It would certainly make for an interesting juxtaposition to have the relaxed care-free Mario gameplay that we all know and love spliced with a frenetic, ferocious and altogether more challenging type of Mario experience. Of course, this is Nintendo so I’m likely incredibly wide of the mark here.
Big Cat Sanctuary
At the end of the trailer, we see the giant cat bell break free from its malice, allowing Mario to utilise it and engorge to a gargantuan size. As Giant cat Mario and Furious Bowser face-off, from left to right, I immediately thought of Dynamax battles in the latest Pokemon games. While I’m not suggesting Bowser’s Fury will result in a turn-based battle utilising text inputs, I’m simply suggesting that Nintendo, and their current crop of creative minds sure do like big, parasitic things…
All in all, Bowser’s Fury looks like an incredibly short and sweet addition to Super Mario 3D World, which is an accomplished, polished 3D Mario title with a soundtrack that slaps harder than a Bobby Brown and Ike Turner collaboration. It does however seem to follow a recent pattern, when it comes to Deluxe editions of legacy Nintendo content. Of course, I’m referring to the tacked on story content. Xenoblade Chronicles had it, with Future Connected offering style over substance approach, which was an enjoyable romp, but ultimately fell flat. Pikmin 3 Deluxe offered some additional story content that was again, a welcome addition, but did little to ramp up the value.
Even some of the recent DLC has been a little lacklustre with Pokemon’s season pass and Fire Emblem: Three Houses both being mixed bags. Perhaps the additional content, however it is delivered is the problem. Perhaps fans were spoiled by the god-tier DLC that was delivered with Xenoblade Chronicles 2, in the guise of Torna and everything since has paled in comparison. Perhaps I’m just milking it and should lower my expectations and embrace the bountiful harvests that we’re receiving from our most gracious overlords. Perhaps, I should put the pen down now..