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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Super Mario 3D World.

TranscriptEdit

I've given Nintendo shit like it's a coprophiliac strawberry patch getting all its Christmases at once, but honestly, in the console generation equivalent of a set of hairy genitals, the Wii U is the cock as opposed to the balls. Because it is the games console that seems content to largely remain a games console, as opposed to a subpar gaming PC, multimedia platform and livestreaming device Human-Centipeded together in a hollowed-out VCR. I just wish they'd stop phoning it in!

I feel sorry for the history students of the future, who'll need to learn the difference between Super Mario Land, Super Mario World, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World. "Well, the easiest way to remember that is that 3D Land was called that because it was on the 3DS." "Oh, so 3D World was too, then?" "No, that was on the Wii U." "Oh, I thought that was New Super Mario Bros. U." "No, there were two on the Wii U! One was a four-player co-op platformer and the other-...hold on I need to look this up."

And the box art is particularly lazy, because they forgot to put the sodding background in and just left the transparency layer. That was one for my Photoshop-using homies. Peace.

Once again, a new Mario game is just randomly-selected features from previous Mario games Human-Centipeded together - yes I am trying to turn Human Centipede into a verb! We have the four playable characters with slightly different movement styles from Mario 2: Mario, Luigi, Peach and the one you play if you showed up late and nobody likes you. Peach getting off her loathsome, sweaty arse for once screws up Bowser's entire kidnapping schedule, so instead he swiftly ad-libs the kidnap of eight magical fairies and puts them in bottles. Oh, I see, it's OK when Link does it!

This is all established in a cutscene with no dialogue, 'cause I guess everyone was just sick of the translators' shit, and if you ask me, Mario is triple-jumping to conclusions. He's known Bowser a hell of a lot longer than these fairies he's decided he's gonna rescue; we have no reason to believe Bowser hasn't done his civic duty, and arrested the notorious Mushroom Kingdom Eight, wanted on multiple counts of robbery, wand assault and being maliciously twee. Well, it's not like it matters; it's not like Mario needs much of an excuse to jump through eight worlds and curb-check his go-karting buddy.

So the new feature is cat suits, meaning suits made to look like cats, not Luigi running around in a skin-tight - sorry, lost my train of thought. There is something a little bit sus about it, though. Maybe it's the way characters in Cat Mode stick their bums in the air as they walk, in a way for which only the word "presenting" seems adequate. Or the "meow" at the end of the level that makes me uncomfortable, but maybe it's just 'cause I'm old and jaded enough to realise someone somewhere must be getting off to this, and I have a horrible feeling it may be Mario himself. I've been burned before by allowing hairy, middle-aged men to indulge in what they called "harmless fun!"

Mechanically, the cat suit lets you climb up walls, so the level designers can just stick the secrets and collectibles high up on a wall somewhere for about 70% of the fucking time, and it also has a glide attack, which I'm an expert at using accidentally and gliding straight off the fucking map with. Hey! Mario! You like it retro, I respect that. But maybe it's time you come to terms with the fact that controllers have more than two buttons now? So you don't have to have one button for run, attack, pick up, glide, jazzercise and lick your own asshole?

So a Nintendo game is being deliberately retro, and in other news bears still shit in the woods, but there seems to be a clear cutting-off period for retro, somewhere around the N64. Mario 64 and Sunshine and Galaxy all made constant use of the 3D space, while a lot of the levels in 3D World and 3D Land have a distinctly 2D sensibility, even while you can still move in three dimensions. So a significant amount of maps consist of linear obstacle courses against flat backdrops, except it's infuriatingly easy to come a bit too far forward and and drop off the front of the level, which must be a fucking existential nightmare for an ex-2D character. 

I played a bit of it co-op, but co-operative it is not; it's more competitive than fucking Bushido Blade. All possible enjoyment was replaced by stress and bitterness, because at the end of the level whoever got the most points is given a fucking crown, and with that largesse on the table camarederie was only the first thing to drop off the map, as we both tried to sprint ahead snatching up coins. And once one person reaches the flag at the end, the others have a deadline about the length of your average pull-out procedure before the level ends and the players who made it are showered with confetti and accolades, while everyone else harbours a level of seething resentment usually reserved for Palestinians and bridesmaids. 

Of course, it's not so retro that it can't embrace all that social media shit that must now run through all entertainment like corn syrup through an expensive piece of electronics, so after every level you're treated to a quick rundown of posts from twats, offering such searing insights as "that level was hard!" Or, "I did it on my first try!" Because they mistook me for the Guiness Book of "Shit No-One Cares About." Or alternatively, they'll just post an image of an unlockable Mario sticker arranged in such a way that it looks like Mario is breaking wind on Princess Peach's face. Thank you so much; now I have a couple of brain cells eternally devoted to that image, and I am going to come round to your house and take them back with a fucking spoon. Still, if that image got past the Nintendo Family Fun Censors, then it gives me hope for all the ones I sent, in which I airbrushed out the faces of characters and replaced them all with gaping anuses. 

Find me one case in which random user comments enrich an online experience. Scroll down now and read the first five comments under this video! You should start feeling a cold, metallic sensation because you're now holding a gun to your head! But what really makes me swill spite round and around my mouth like a bogey I'm on the fence about swallowing is how sycophantic most of the comments are. There's your generic "BEST GAME EVAAAR"s, and then your more specific "Nintendo should make a whole game out of the Captain Toad levels!" What, those interludes wherein a slow character who can't jump navigates a piss-easy labyrinth? Yeah, man, they'd fucking corner the market on sleeping aids!

Am I dwelling too much on the comments thing? Alright, well what do you want? It's another new Mario game; eight worlds; a competently-arranged difficulty curve; too many repeated boss fights; and a few new power-ups based on the first thing someone saw as they glanced around the room. Maybe it evokes the retro charm of games like Mario 3 and Super Mario World more competently than most, but it hardly elevates the concept like Mario Galaxy did. And adding user comments was like hiding stuffed olives in the fruit salad. My favourite one I think was one that came after a desert level which simply read, in block capitals, "I LOVE SAND." Word of advice, user; it's not attractive to come across as too desperate! You'll be lucky if Nintendo lets you finish jerking it off!

AddendaEdit

  • Still 3D and thought it classier not to brag about it - Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Remember it's my Christmas break next week; I'll be spending it trying to think of five games this year I didn't totally despise
  • FURRY! Yes, thank you, that was the word I was looking for
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time

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