Reviews from

in the past

It’s better then 3D World, but it’s definitely not full console Mario.

Surprising atmosphere for a Mario game, really good gameplay with a unique take on an "open-world" Mario game. Hope they attempt this style again in future games.

Really fun, short adventure that rivals (or may even be better than) the game it comes packaged with. Makes me even hungrier for the next mainline 3d Mario.

feels like foreshadowing for some new open ended mario game

I have nothing much to say about the design, history, artistic merit, thematic resonance, or any plumbable topic of depth with which a person trying to conceive of something meritorious inherent to Mario, Bowser’s Fury specifically but the general statement stands, which may be drawn on for fuelant to inspire criticism. 3D Mario games generally, with the elsewise brand expressions being as a whole still encompassed but to a lesser degree, move me not at all to thrill or agonise; they do not deposit me to a prolonged convalescence from rapture nor a disappearing into mist that arises some self doubt; the antics in do not put before me a self which I can see as bettered or worsened. I can think of nothing in myself to pull from play to paper other than surmising that games, with their inset holding of many excellent offerings of Mario, which are so consistently fruitful and nutritious, showing in their prodigious production no sign of overflowing the cellar nor going bad in storage, are still in a period (which they may never leave from either external pressures or internal transfigurations) of such infancy that there manages a dominant hold of an entire orbiting shape of their format, medium, expressionistic vocabulary - however else expressed - which is composed of an idea which is sterile, contained, utterable only in relation to itself, and which controls the traffic of anything which has sprung up in the ecosystem it has hardened to externalities but softened to itself.
In the wake of the Mario movie’s enormous success, dwarfing likely any other single Mario property’s profits by a daily increasing margin, the comparative draw on the dire shape of film audience ability to be met en masse and the enormous accessibility of games to the PC game demographic has, for me, been recast. Whereas The Mario movie has now made more money than the entire filmographies of some of the greatest filmmakers (possibly even more than the entire film industry in some directors’ countries of origin), the film industry, with all its structural and cultural issues, has been able to establish the bedrock for possibility and what contrasting heights and lows are possible outside of any singular name or film; the Mario movie dwarfing in recognition Jonas Mekas by a margin of ∞:1 is not offerable as any miniscule shred of proof as being superior or in anyway equally significant to the artistry possible within the medium. In games, that may never be possible. To talk about the entire etymology of not just the verb titles, but the actions possible in describing those verbs outside of the magic circle, cannot be divorced from the IP which dominates its form’s facade.
Good or bad, Mario is Coca-Cola, Kleenex, Band-Aid, and Kraft Dinner.

The furries are taking over and Bowser ain't happy about it.

It's like they mixed the two styles of 3D World and Odyssey together, and it's awesome! For what's basically just a side mode, this is extremely cool. Makes me excited to see where 3D Mario will go next.

Really short game but delivers on so much. It's addicting, ridiculously fun, and has so much in its gameplay. It definitely borrows from 3D World and Odyssey with the style feeling like the two games had a baby. The mechanics from 3D World come into play with the cat suit, Plessie, and Mario's movement. The way you get the collectibles and how the world feels is close to Odyssey. It may not seem like much on the surface, but it's just so much fun and has way more to do than it looks. It is a little too short though and honestly in a way feels more like the child of 3D World and Odyssey more than its own game, but it's still so much fun and I'd recommend playing it to keep us going until the next big Mario title releases.

Musical Accompaniment (just choose to listen to however much of this that you can before you dont feel like it, my Music accompaniment guy is on strike right now).
So they took the Super Mario 3D World physics, movement system, and powerups and threw them into an open sandbox level with the benefits of Odyssey's collectible design of not disrupting your play on picking up the collectible. I really disliked how Odyssey handled its moons, many of them just being haphazardly littered in the playspace, in deserts etc. By the standards of Odyssey then, Bowser's Fury is great in that every collectable is focused, with 5 hanging around each lighthouse and a few others on islands that you use Plessie to explore to.
Bowser's Fury actually answers 2 other issues in a couple Nintendo games to. Another recent one Breath of the Wild's Bloodmoon mechanic. In that piece, after a significant amount of time passed, a cutscene would interrupt you and all the enemies would respawn with several strong enough near you chasing you. The issue with this mechanic was that there was no threat to it, at least not in the mid to late game, since you would be stocked up on pausable quick heal items, and it would be easy to simply outrun the enemies. Here, Bowser occurs during the 'night portion' as a legitimate threat. He has blocks fall from the sky near mario and will breath a sizable flame attack near the player that they have to find cover to avoid. On top of this, you can also ward off the Reptile's bile by collecting a catshine (the primary collectible) early thereby giving the player legitimate control over the desperation state and allowing them to do something that isn't just run away for a few minutes. At no point was I irritated with Bowser coming up to attack me, sometimes he would disrupt me from the shine I was trying to get, however Bowser himself is also nessecary to collect shines as well by baiting him to break blocks and running to spawning islands that show up during the night. I hope that the Zelda development team takes note of how this game handled the day/night cycle tension because it was honestly a mess in BotW and comparing it to this shows a night and day difference.
Aside from this, Plessie is also acts as a reply to the sailing mechanic in windwaker. Compared to a small sailboat, here you ride a large sea mammal that emits a hefty rumble on a jump giving a weight to the journey. They also make the travel time from one island to another proportionally significantly shorter than whatever you are trying to do on said island whereas Windwaker was oversatisfied with being sailing simulator for most of its runtime. One other way it prevents a feeling of tedium is making Plessie vital on her own terms for collecting around 20% of the possible shines. These factors all work to keep the player constantly in a satisfied relationship with the collectathon element while still keeping them engaged with the environment. You are on a satisfied unbroken pursuit from one place to the next. The only thing I wish Plessie had here is a small boost operator. None of the timer functions would have needed to be remanaged, a small boost would just let me 'feel' the animal actually moving faster whereas tilting the stick forward doesn't convey a great sense of a change in speed.
One interesting note here is that most of the movement is based around power up swapping. Your movement options like the long jump, triple jump, and backwards verticle jump are all still cramped or removes. While this wasnt particularly an issue in the linear level design of 3D World (Especially if you played as peach who had the raccoon suit power baked into her movekit), it does provide a small issue with the large sandbox playspace, instead you gain movement control through power up accumulation and management, being able to hold 5 of each power up and swap to them at will. For instance you climb the side of scaffolding with the Cat Powerup, swap to the Raccoon one, and then float over to the other piece of scaffolding. This mechanic works mostly well and its honestly way more appealing than trying to do the obnoxious hat combos jumps in Odyssey, and is more accessible in general, my only grievance here is that it renders the basic mushroom powerup redundant due to this accumulation, since all powerups make it a dead power up from random box hits and 100 coin level up drops. On that note, here I unveil once again my fundamental hatred with coins. I hate the constant bling sound on picking them up and they simply were not necessary to litter this playspace with. I might be one of the only people unironically annoyed and averse to the coins that isn't a no coins challenge runner but I must be honest in saying that if there is a way to avoid such redundancy its better off to do so.
Speaking of redundant, the 'theme' here is that everything is cat themed, cats sprawl all over non hostile spaces, cat power ups are used in the Giga Bowser fight, and cat ears appear from all the enemies you fight. The first two are fine, but the others push the experience too much into the realm of 'gimmick' or 'joke game' which doesn't really fit in with the pollution anxities and kaiju descalation neuroticism from Bowser Jr. While we are on the point of aesthetic presentation, the sludge effect looks great, especially with contemporary lighting and liquid physics effects, it drips and sputters out like an oil spill coming alive which is fantastic.
Spontaneous Critique on Cameras
What isn't great is the fact I have a sleepy camera for viewing it all. I believe that Mario 64 has actually the best camera in any 3D game I've played, which is a bold statement because most people dont really know how to use it and thus see it as a nuisance (which for me is part of the appeal to, I love having to fight with the camera sometimes in games its actually funny as hell to have Borne levels of confusing camera positions happen out of nowhere in the same way its funny when you long jump off a cliff when you meant to ground pound). To me, the Laikatu camera has so many functions in its favor that I could easily write a fluff piece about how it makes 64 a perfect game as its own, however to cut a long story short, there's a speed to which the camera will snap to the various fixed positions that isn't found in almost any 3D console game afterwards. Most 3D console platformers/action games have at least compensated the monopoly of this garbage 360 drone camera by making the speed for moving it reasonably fast (though not nearly fast enough imo). 3D world actually did bring back the fixed camera positions for the single player campaign, but made the positional change points slight and for the most part not tracking the player as they move forward. Most of the camerawork was semi isometric so I get why they couldn't port that over. However they could have at the very least made the camera more sensitive and move more quickly because stuff will attack you off screen and it will take a full 2 and a half seconds to reorient the visual space to figure out the confusion. This has been a problem in every Nintendo released 3D game since Mario Sunshine but at least Sunshine is kind of funny about it since Mario Sunshine has a wacky masocore energy to it in random bursts. The reason I'm highlighting it here then is that its the worst the camera has probably ever been for this. I was constantly getting annoyed in the Giga Bowser fights because the dude would roll off screen and I'd have to pan over forever to put him in view. This is simply an end point problem of what happens when you make games built around spectacle with contemporary graphics. For instance I would prefer that the sensitivity is increased, but this is a double bind, because with the graphical polish on display it would feel woozy and disorienting scrolling through that much information before settling the edge of the frame. I dont mind because I've played a lot of games, so I get why inexperienced players wouldn't enjoy that. With that said it's also a tacit point against staying in the realm of 3D graphical fidelity too long in general, because the issue ultimately becomes a problem of juggling visual business with the conveyance of context sensitive information.
I noticed for instance, in Resident Evil 4 Remaster that due to the visual business of the space, yellow paint effect is adorned to all the movable objects to convey context sensitivity. Meanwhile, the wacky camera controls in Metroid Prime Remaster were also stripped back due to the fact its 'antiquated' design comes in sharp contrast to an increase in visual business. The clear appeal is the market dominance of spectacle as immersion. I'm deeply opposed to it. Environmental detail is not that vital if it ambiguates control. Immersion comes through a sense of control or lack thereof, and through impassioned dialogue and interaction with other characters. A lot of modern 'polished' games offer a pretty environment for the expense of less control and clarity, and generally game environments have problems with letting characters speak for themselves. For instance here Bowser Jr. attempts a dialogue with Mario, and instead of letting that dialogue function on its own, an awkward disembodied narrator interprets what Bowser is saying to the player rather than letting the man speak for himself either through pictures alone or voice acting. You might be thinking 'so what?' well, I think the reason people have become too skiddish to letting characterization happen through imagery, body language animation, or various other non dialogue interactions is because people who play games for whatever reason seem to have trouble properly interpreting non dialogue interaction on their own. For instance Transparency made a strong argument in favor of the idea that people ragging on Balan Wonderland for the 'nonsensical story' were simply not paying attention and I would have to say I agree with her assessment. This is an ultimately sad state of affairs, I think its because people are afraid of the ambiguity in images but it creates another paradox. In modern gaming you have complex facial rotoscoping and detailed environments, both of which 'enhance' a raw interpretive ambiguity. Yet, instead of taking advantage of it games like Death Stranding and The Last of Us are obsessed with talking to you. In cutscenes, in the walk and talk, in dialogue boxes, etc. You can't share a stare or look at a painting. It's chatter until the day goes by. Instead of 'talking' this point to death I'll instead just vaguely gesture at Journey as a clear example of how non-verbal storytelling and non graphically 'real' space can be effective for immersion. Whether maximally so or not I leave up to your discretion.
Aside from these admittedly exaggerated complaints, I feel like what makes Bowser's Fury work in its favor in this format is its short runtime and compact open sandbox design. If the game was 3 times larger as some people are wistful about, a lot of what makes it work would begin to strain if it went on too long without being rehauled properly, all the moments I mentioned annoyed me are functionally footnote complaints to an otherwise solid experience. I recognize that such a difference is probably found in the fact most people who played this actually liked Odyssey as well when I find that one bland and flat.

Kinda wish this was a full game instead of an extra mode, but it's still fun

Bowser's Fury is interesting because despite the base game coming out before Odyssey, this expansion came out after, and it serves as a kind of bridge between the two games. The power ups and controls are the same as 3D World, while the sandbox-style exploration is definitely inspired by Odyssey. The levels are all charming and the various cat-eared creatures might be the cutest enemies I've ever seen. The calm/fury cycle annoyed me - Bowser always seemed to attack at the worst possible times, and it seemed random as to how long each cycle would be. Overall It feels a little weak in some parts, but like any Mario game it's still a fun romp and it's short enough that it doesn't overstay it's welcome.

it's like if you took odyssey and 3D world and took out everything that made both of those games fun

Bowser's Fury is a great filler game, as whilst it's quite short it's still extremely fun and creative, and it demonstrates just how well even the less important Mario games are made. I just hope this game will be the base of what the next Mario game will be like, as the idea of one giant level has a lot of potential.

Other than ToTK, it's been a while since I've played a first party, main-line Nintendo game and nearly forgot how insanely polished and refined the gameplay can be. Despite the vast ocean area, it's nigh on impossible to find yourself lost. Despite it being fairly easy to fall back down to ocean-level while climbing the islands, you will always land next to something that will pick the gameplay right back up. Mainline Marios are magically crafted, and I really do mean that. They are Disney movies in game form (in the best way possible).
That being said, there are some points of failure that drag the gameplay. Bowser always seemed to spawn at the worst times for me, and I started to wonder if there really is a good time for Bowser to spawn. At any given moment, I'd be part-way into a Cat Shine mission, and I would just feel annoyed that Bowser was going to interrupt the fun challenge with his shitstorm making bullshit flying everywhere. Alternatively, I'd be moments away from collecting the Cat Shine and he'd just turn around and leave just as soon as he walked in. To add onto this pain, when I actually did want him to spawn so I could destroy some blocks, I'd find myself sitting on my hands, too afraid that if I started wandering off, I'd get distracted with another Cat Shine mission and leave the vicinity of the blocks. Just like the Blood Moons in BotW/TotK, they never happen at the right time and just feel like a needless interruption. I'm not a fan of either mechanic.
One silver lining to this is towards the end of your run to 50 shines, Bowser is suddenly undeterred by any additional shines and won't leave until you fight him in super bell mode. It was a pleasant surprise when I realized I was going to have to collect more shines during Bowser's shitstorm whether I liked it or not. It was no longer an interruption, it was a hard-mode-esque challenge, and I very quickly went from "oh, great" to "oh... great!!".
It is very silly to package a game as wonderful as this in a bundle with a game most Nintendo fans have already relatively recently played. It is silly to force some of 3D world's otherwise sensible mechanics into an open-world Mario game (one-hit kills like lava are no fun at all). However, this game is still sheer joy and despite everything, I found myself lost in the world of Nintendo's iconic charm.

A great little bonus that uses 3D World's assets in creative new ways. It's short, but I don't really mind due to just how much joy was packed into my 3 hour playthrough.

Divertido, mas tem uma coisa que me irrita no visual desses jogos do Mario mais recentes. No Mario Odyssey, a arte era uma suruba de ideias desconexas. Cada coisa parecia de um jogo diferente. Os humanos de New Donk City eram talvez o exemplo mais claro dessa inconsistência generalizada.
Já no Bowser's Fury, eu olho pros arredores do mundo aberto e sinto uma certa tristeza. Parece que o Mario foi sugado pra um limbo infernal. Você olha pro horizonte e vê só um vazio enorme e um jpg de montanhas tão distantes que não têm como serem reais. Tudo se torna mais desesperador ainda quando você percebe que 90% do mapa é água e, ao redor dessa água, só tem um lodo preto te aprisionando.
Eu entendo que a Nintendo queira criar espaços abstratos sem muita lógica pra além do que pode tornar jogabilidade divertida, mas os jogos do Mario Galaxy conseguiam fazer isso muito bem e ainda assim manter um visual extremamente consistente e charmoso.

The frequency of the Bowser sections started to wear on me widway through but I can confidently say that this is one of the best, most confident, and creative reusing of assets in probably any game. Like many have said, I really can't wait for what this game spawns. Fuck Sonic Frontiers.

The game sonic frontiers wishes it was

Ein sehr schönes kleines 3D Mario Spiel. Für das, was es ist, hat die perfekte Länge, um es entspannt an einem Tag mal durchzuspielen, man kann es echt immer mal wieder entspannt anwerfen.

Really cool and unique approach to a Mario game with beautiful graphics and a fun open world map. Only thing I didn't really like about the game is the over-usage of the cat power-up, we already had enough of that in 3D World but Bowser's Fury takes it to a whole new level.

In early 2021, Nintendo dropped the first trailer for the long-awaited Switch port of Super Mario 3D World, a game that was critically acclaimed, yet… no, that’s a story for another review. Anyways, when the trailer dropped, we were given a glimpse of the new Bowser’s Fury side mode. I didn’t really know what to think of it other than “hehe big furry Mario fights Bowzilla”.
Fast forward to late 2021 when I got the game, and was pleasantly surprised to find that Bowser’s Fury was actually another 64/Sunshine-inspired collect-a-thon, now with an entire open world that masterfully utilizes 3D World’s mechanics, assets, and toy-like art style.
So let’s start with negatives.
The “game” is too short, because it’s more of a side mode than anything. There’s no triple jump, which feels weird in this setting. The missions get repetitive fairly quickly. The handheld performance is strangely lacking, with lower resolution and a shoddy frame rate, which is even more noticeable when comparing it to the main 3D World campaign (one of the absolute best looking games on the Switch). Finally, the Fury Bowser events get super annoying in the post-game, when I just wanna keep collecting Cat Shines in peace. They should’ve just given Bowser Jr. some new item that could break Fury Blocks and thrown out all those stupid Lucky Isle Shines.
Now for everything else.
Bowser’s Fury is a fun little experiment for what Mario could look like in an open world, and it absolutely shits on the similarly-inspired Sonic Frontiers. Despite the disappointingly short length, the game still effectively does what it needs to do and then leaves, with the player likely having a big ol’ grin on their face afterwards.
The open world is surprisingly well-executed. It’s a beautiful, pristine lake with individual islands that serve as levels. In turn, those levels utilize 3D World’s mechanics and 4-step design philosophy, so… they’re very well-designed. What a surprise. In particular, Crisp Climb Castle and Mount Magmeow are fantastic and stand out above the rest. Plessie makes traveling between islands an absolute blast, avoiding The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s issues with its giant ocean and slow sailing.
Collecting Cat Shines is inherently satisfying, and the small number (only 100) helps them feel and distinct and well-earned, unlike my precious Odyssey, where Power Moons were handed out like candy.
In docked mode, everything looks phenomenal. Lake Lapcat is gorgeous, colorful, and almost entirely cat-themed, right down to the enemies. The entire world feels like an offshore part of Isle Delfino from Sunshine, with its aquatic setting, mission structures, and “Shine” collectibles. The game also controls well, allowing for full 360-degree movement and bringing back almost every power-up from the base game.
The story is cute, if simple. Bowser Jr. kidnaps summons Mario to help him beat the crap out of Bowser, who has gone crazy and turned into a giant kaiju that corrupts the entire lake. The dynamic between Mario and Junior is surprisingly funny and heartwarming, making me wonder if, perhaps. Junior would work better as an anti-hero in the future…
Speaking of Junior, he’s a helpful, yet unobtrusive companion. I liked Cappy, but he was a little too chatty sometimes, whereas Bowser Jr. is completely mute outside of cutscenes and a few grunts. He’s also pretty fun for co-op mode, in contrast to Galaxy and Odyssey, where I flat-out forgot multiplayer was a thing until just now.
Oh, I almost forgot about the soundtrack! The soundtrack is absolute fire all throughout, mixing the cheerful, jazzy tunes of “Scamper Shores” with the frantic, heavy metal of “Chasing Down Bowser”, among several other musical styles. The theme for Roiling Roller Isle and Mount Magmeow is particularly epic, letting you know that these are the game’s hardest levels.
All in all, Bowser’s Fury is a short and very flawed experiment that nevertheless succeeds due to its faithfulness to 3D World and Sunshine, as well as its experimental, open-world format. The positives far outweigh the negatives in my book.

Neue Mario-Spiele sind seit Odyssey und damit seit nun fast 6 Jahren ein seltenes Gut geworden und daher muss man ja nehmen, was man bekommen kann. Bowser's Fury füllt diese Lücke nur leidlich. Es ist letztendlich nur eine Beilage zum fantastisch guten 3D World. Bowser's Fury spielt mit eigenen Ideen, aber bietet letztendlich zu wenig Inhalt um als vollwertiges eigenes Mario-Spiel durchzugehen. Und nicht zuletzt baut es auf vielen Elementen aus 3D World auf, die hier wiederverwendet werden. Weshalb man hier die Engine von 3D World verwendet und nicht etwa die von Odyssey, ist eine merkwürdige Entscheidung. Die Engine ist etwas betagt, und nicht sonderlich optimal für eine riesige Oberwelt geeignet, daher hat Bowser's Fury auch technisch einige Schwächen, die nicht unbedingt hätten sein müssen.
Letztendlich kann man es mitnehmen, aber auf der Switch hat man wirklich bessere Optionen.

That's the best Mario "game" since Odyssey. Very fun, creative and immersive, and the music is god-like. The open world feels very good. You will get interrupted by Bowser often, but because the level sections aren't that complex, long or hard to get to, it's not annoying. Sadly, this game is a little short, you can easily 100% it in 10h. If you loved 3D World or Odyssey or both (like me), you'll love this too.

A fun little entry into the Super Mario Bros. saga. Bowser looks so cool! I wish they made a Fury Bowser amiibo. Mastered

Hard to compare to Mario odyssey, but if you hand this to someone who hasn’t played odyssey, it’s a nice little thing

Finally beat this game. It’s pretty solid but not much else

While it is a refreshing take on what a new 3d Mario adventure might look like, I think Bowser's Fury feels awkward in places. A lot of the islands levels that you can seemlessly travel to however you often need to leave and come back for some objectives. Fury Bowser was interesting at first, but he became an annoyance later on, often showing up at inconvenient times to prevent you from being able to complete an objective. I also don't think the 3D world control style and powerup system works too well for a more sandbox type of mario game. Your movement options don't feel as flexible as something like Super Mario Odyssey which feels uncomfortable at times for this game. This is likely a result of being a bonus mode for 3D World as opposed to being a standalone game. Overall its an interesting package, and I don't regret buying 3D World again just for this.

I wish there was a game just for this, made it way longer because it was really fun