Look: all Mario games are good, but Super Mario 3D World feels special. Sure, it will never be as good as Super Mario Galaxy nor its sequel, but it's still a quality game, no doubt. Everything about it is in-line: great music, inspired level design (for the most part, but all games have their ups and downs), great multiplayer (which is basically unheard of for Mario games), and the topic of today's post: tons of secrets. Just... tons and tons of them.
Everybody loves secrets. There's something about finding something that you didn't know would be there that's so appealing, and this is an aspect that I feel a lot of Mario games have really landed.
The obvious example is Super Mario World, featuring two secret worlds: Star Road, featuring five stages with secret exits, and Special World, reached after finding all of the secret exits. The former is simple but fun while the latter tends to be a test of how good the player is.
There's also, moving forward a ton, Super Mario 3D Land, the prequel to 3D World. It's approach to secret worlds is much more simple- levels tend to be a more difficult version of a level you've already completed, with some being completely original or improvements upon an earlier level.
That stuff is comparatively child's play.
Super Mario 3D World is already a stellar game, and for the game designers to have created even more unique, challenging levels shows a lot of care (which is hilariously something I write in everything that I've posted). Yes, there are a couple of retreads, but in general, the levels tend to be a complete delight. Some even go against the rules, requiring, in one level, for the player to chase after a flying flagpole. Others have the player in a top-down shooter-inspired level or a Super Mario Galaxy-esque level, complete with Octoombas.
The thing that sets it apart, though, is that it just keeps going. The same could be argued for Super Mario 3D Land, but it putting you in a place specifically labeled "Special 1" already forecasts it. The worlds in Super Mario 3D World are tidy and unsuspecting, and there's four in all. That's a secret world inside a secret world inside a secret world INSIDE a secret world, with the latter being the most demanding world yet, requiring you to, quite frankly, perfect the game and complete every level with every character and getting everything in them. It's so much that I haven't even tried to do it- I pretty much just gave up, accepting that I was intended for lower things in life rather than to go on. How tragic. Most Mario games might have a tiny bump in difficulty when it comes to secret worlds, but this one has perhaps an even greater difficulty curve than Super Mario World, catching me completely off-guard. Good on them.
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