IGDB does not verify whether reviewers have played or purchased the game they are reviewing.


roznos Review

301 views - 0likes

SMB3 is probably the NES/Famicom game that I’ve spent the most time playing. This is really where the Mario series hits its stride, with a lot more storage space to work with than in the past. But it’s still certainly built from the groundwork set by SMB1; Mario runs, jumps, and collects powerups. He still has a lot of acceleration and momentum too, but he’s much more maneuverable in the air now, so it’s easier to save yourself after a bad jump. Acceleration is also emphasized with the P Bar, a display that measures Mario’s current speed.

The most important addition for Mario himself, though, is the Super Leaf powerup that becomes more prominent than the Fire Flower in this game. It’s brilliant for a couple reasons: It rewards you for reaching maximum speed by giving you the ability to fly if you do, and it lets you fall more slowly to land tight jumps.

While the Fire Flower is a projectile focused on safely dealing with enemies, the Super Leaf is mostly about helping with platforming, Mario’s other big challenge. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect addition, and while there are a plethora of other new powerups in the game, they’re less common and less game-changing. Things like the Frog Suit or Hammer Bros. Suit are more of a fun bonus.

There are 90 levels in the game, and all of them stand out by focusing on a specific idea, whether that’s a new enemy type, platforming challenge, puzzle, or persistent obstacle like the Angry Sun or Boss Bass, a giant fish that kills you instantly if it eats you. Some ideas are better than others, but individual stages remain on the short side, so they never outstay their welcome. The airship stages at the end of each world do all feel very similar, but those aside, most levels manage to leave an impression. This is in stark contrast to SMB1 especially, where the stages blend together so much that it’s easy to miss how some are nearly identical copies of each other.

This game has some particularly hard levels toward the end, among the hardest in the series outside Japan’s SMB2, but it also lets you collect and stockpile powerups that can help skip or significantly reduce the challenge of these levels. Namely, if you save the P Wing items you collect throughout the game, you can use their infinite flight to skip through the toughest stages. It’s one of the better implementations of variable difficulty I’ve seen in a platformer. There are no difficulty settings, but the game provides some limited tools to reduce the challenge wherever you feel it’s necessary.

If there’s any serious flaw in SMB3, it’s the fact that you can’t save the game. It’s far from impossible to play through in one sitting, and there are hidden warp items which the game itself alludes to that can help you get back where you were, but it still takes a few hours when played casually. You could save in plenty of games by 1988, so it’s a bit of a mystery as to why you can’t in this. Thankfully there are now plenty of other ways to play SMB3 which do have a save feature, so this is only a problem if you’re playing on a Famicom/NES.

To this day, this is still my favorite 2D Mario game. In many ways, it feels like where evolution stopped for this style of Mario. There’s an unmistakable jump in scope and creativity between this game and previous Marios, while Super Mario World only feels like a lateral step. SMB3 set a standard that Nintendo has only been trying to match for the last thirty years, and for that alone it deserves a lot of credit.

Total score