Super Mario Bros. 3, the third entry in the Super Mario Bros. series and Super Mario franchise, sees Mario or Luigi navigate a nonlinear world map containing platforming levels and optional minigames and challenges. The game features more diverse movement options and new items alongside more complex level designs and boss battles.
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Two things strike me as kind of unbelievable about this game. The first is that this was somehow made on the same console as the original Super Mario Bros, a game which feels incredibly creaky and antiquated nowadays, whilst Super Mario Bros 3 both still controls well now and isn't that far off aesthetically from a product I'd be fine with seeing released nowadays.
The second is how, despite countless games since SMB3 imitating it and reusing its ideas, even now you can still feel this game just oozing imagination. There are close to no moments spent in the game that aren't either introducing a new idea or developing a previous one in an interesting way, and whilst not all of those ideas are necessarily good even the duds are largely excusable because you'll be only moments away from something far better.
I used to play Super Mario Bros. 3 as a kid and all I would ever do is crouch on the white block on 1-1 run behind the scenery and then once I beat the level I turned it off. That's true because I was a really dumb child, but now I'm a really dumb adult and wanted to go back and beat it.
Going into it I had the preconceived notion of "its a simple 2d platformer not really going to be surprised by anything" but wow is this game fucking incredible. Seriously this game is constantly throwing new challenges, puzzles and really difficult platforming at you and I was hooked until the end. People forget how fucking hard worlds 6-8 are but also some of the most fun I've had playing a game this year.
This review contains spoilers
I shouldn't be surprised at how good it is, considering how highly regarded it is, and how I didn't really enjoy it all THAT much. I think it's down to how Mario games are generally fun and accessible, but games from 1988 are NEVER accessible (Super Mario Bros 3 largely included), so it just doesn't work as it should.
But it's still good though.
I've always known what happens in Super Mario World before I played it, and the same for the original Super Mario Bros, but I actually didn't really know what to expect beyond the first few levels. I certainly wasn't expecting Mario to receive a letter from Bowser saying "Yo!" before Mario goes to Hell, so that was a welcome surprise.
Also yeah I used rewind so there's that.