Title: Super Mario World
Platform: New Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: Virtual Console (SNES)
NA Availability: Digital
EU Availability: Digital
Block Usage: 68
Super Nintendo emulation has finally become a thing for 3DS users. However, there is a good bit of controversy over it, as it is exclusive to the “New” line of 3DS systems. This was explained early on, as the clock speed of the original 3DS simple cannot handle SNES emulation, as bizarre as that sounds. Regardless, New 3DS owners can include classics like Earthbound and Super Mario Kart on their handheld.
Today’s review is going to be a review for a game, but essentially also a review of how SNES emulation works on the 3DS. And what better way to start these SNES retro reviews off than with Mario’s famed entrance to and the best-selling game on the SNES. Here is my retro review of SNES title, Super Mario World!
Super Mario World essentially functions as Super Mario Bros. 4, taking place not long after the events of NES game, Super Mario Bros. 3. Mario and Luigi decide to take a vacation to a place known as Dinosaur Land after saving Princess Peach in the previous game. Not long after relaxing, though, the Princess has disappeared. Upon searching, they find a dinosaur named Yoshi (the series playable debut of my favorite character from the series), whom explains that both the princess and his dinosaur companions have been captured by the Koopas.
What I just told you is way more story than the game actually gives you, and that’s how Mario has always been. You just play the game, but dig into the manual and you find this involved story synopsis that is barely mentioned in the game. But, the game tells you enough to get you going, and even gives you bits and pieces of storyline every time you finish up a castle’s boss fight.
Super Mario World is a 2D platformer, much like the majority of Mario games were back in those days, and some still today. You will be progressing through stages platforming, gaining coins and power-ups, and fighting off enemies and bosses in order to get to the next stage towards your goal.
Progression in the game is linear, in a way. You have a point-to-point map where you tackle a stage, unlock the next, play it to unlock the next, etc until you get to a Castle that houses a boss fight and then move onto the next area. This is a pretty standard thing with Mario games, but there is some deviation that the game threw in. Some areas have secret exits that open optional areas, while others require you to find secret exits to go to the next area, like the Forest of Illusion world.
This game also introduced Yoshi as part of the main series. Although Yoshi didn’t get his own platformer game until Super Mario World 2, he is a power-up you can find from blocks and you can ride him. This can make tackling enemies much easier, though Yoshi cannot enter any of the Ghost House or Castle stages with you. You also have a new power-up in the form of the Hero Cape that lets you temporarily fly and glide, somewhat similar to the Tanooki Tail/Suit from Super Mario Bros. 3.
As you go through each stage, you will have to fight or avoid enemies. Some can be jumped on, while others must be attacked with a power-up, like the Fire Flower or Hero Cape. Most enemies are easy to tell their strategy, but if you’re new to the game or series, it may take some experimentation to get it right. The Restore Point Virtual Console feature will be able to help you immensely in that regard. Just like Game Boy and NES VC, you can actively create restore points anytime and re-load them if you screw up.
The most fun parts of the game is surely going through and fighting the bosses. These pit you in castle environments against a single boss, having you watching and learning boss patterns so you can figure out how to hit and defeat them. There are 8 main bosses throughout the game and a mini-boss thrown into World 7 as well.
The difficulty I would put at medium. A lot of older platformers were known for being overly difficult, but Super Mario World’s difficulty would pass fine with today’s standards. Harder than more recent Mario games but not frustratingly so. The most difficult part of the game is finding secret exits, and even the required secrets are just a matter of experimenting with pipes and the cape.
Your first run of the game could take a good 5-6 hours or more, depending on how well you do at the game. Veterans could expect a much shorter time, but veterans know exactly what they’re in for. If you use the Restore Point system, that’ll shave a lot of retry time off how long it will take you. It’s long enough to keep you busy.
Since SNES Virtual Console is only able to be used on the New 3DS, it utilizes some of the new buttons featured on that model. The C Stick doesn’t have any use, but the ZL and ZR buttons can be held down and used with Y to switch which controller is currently being used in the game. This is used for situations such as a 2-player game in Super Mario World where Luigi is always associated with Controller 2.
The Circle Pad and D-Pad can be used for movement in this game and the two triggers can be used to extend the camera left and right to look at where you’re going. A is used for the spinning jump and B is used for the normal jump. You can hold down either the X or Y buttons while moving to run.
Overall, it’s a pretty simple design. I think the inclusion of the New 3DS buttons in the Virtual Console interface was a good idea, further tying this to those models aside from CPU requirements.
To talk about visuals, we need to discuss Pixel Perfect mode. In SNES Virtual Console games, the default resolution is about like what Nintendo DS games look like on the 3DS. This is slightly larger than the SNES’ native resolution, which means that the image is stretched out. There is no form of filtering going on here, so when it is stretched like this, it is very blurry. This is certainly not optimal for gaming.
If you go into the VC Menu on the touch screen, you can enable pixel perfect mode. This slightly reduces the screen size and displays the games in their original resolution which makes things very clear without any blurring, even on the New 3DS XL. This is vastly preferable, even for those that prefer larger screens. The blur is just too much of an annoyance. It makes you wonder why they didn’t just make pixel perfect mode the default resolution.
As far as how Super Mario World looks, I don’t have a whole lot of complaints. The 2D models don’t look absolutely perfect, but they do look nice for what they are. I found no issues with the way they looked or were presented.