Super Mario 3D World review

Link turns himself into paintings and there are other strokes of genius in this fast-paced edition of the popular Zelda franchise. Video courtesy of Nintendo.

Everyone's favorite plumbers, Mario and Luigi, really are the cat's meow in the Wii U exclusive Super Mario 3D World.

In their latest game, the two brothers have the ability to morph into feline form. They also chase rabbits, climb trees and attack enemies with claws out, a number of seemingly small design changes result in one of the more inventive Mario adventures. Also see them meow, scale walls and interact with nearly every aspect of the world in fully roamable 3-D rather than the side-scrolling, 2-D view of yore.

Curious if they can throw a snowball, jump on ice skates, scurry up a wall or escape peril by bounding up trees? The answer is most always yes. Does it always make sense? Gleefully, no.

One doesn't need to know why old Mario foes, such as the mushroom-shaped Goombas, have suddenly grown tails and can make a sound sort of like a purr, or why never-say-die Mario foil Bowser now has a hot rod that can be bested by exploding soccer balls.

Another welcome change: The often-kidnapped Princess Peach is, after a long hiatus, once again a playable character, and the former damsel in distress can outjump her potbellied male peers. This will come in especially handy when playing with others. Up to four at once can join, and because 3D World has a competitive underbelly in multiplayer mode, don't be surprised to see Peach floating to safety while Mario or Luigi jump into the void.


RATING E for Everyone

PLOT Globe-trotting Mario and Luigi turn into felines.

DETAILS Wii U, $59.99

BOTTOM LINE These cats have never been cooler.

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