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Is Bowser's Fury An Open World Mario Game?

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury adds several new features to the base game, providing Mario fans with even more reason to pick up the new title. It even offers a co-op mode so that friends can journey through the world together and defeat Fury Bowser once and for all. Okay, maybe not forever, but he's going to be out for at least a little while after Mario's (literally) big showdown with him. Though the game only adds approximately three new hours of content to the base game, it crams a lot of creativity into a short time span, and has been well received by critics.


The Washington Post compared Bowser's Fury to another beloved Mario game, Super Mario Galaxy 2. Though that game didn't appear in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars compilation, which released in 2020 as part of their yearlong Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary event, fans felt like Super Mario Galaxy 2 deserved a place in the Mario canon. Part of what made Super Mario Galaxy 2 so special was the ability to explore its expansive 3D spaces.

Fans should expect a little taste of that freedom from Bowser's Fury, but not in the way one might expect.

Yes, Bowser's Fury is open world. Kind of.

Bowser's Fury removes the separate levels of many previous Mario Bros. games and creates a more open-world experience. Chris Plante at Polygon explained, "The scope overwhelms, similar to Super Mario Galaxy's stages crammed with satellite planets." Though the game itself doesn't take that long to beat, the world design deviates from what fans have previously seen in Mario games, providing something new for longtime followers of the franchise.


It's easy for Mario to get lost in the sprawling world of Bowser's Fury, but that's not a bad thing. Jhaan Elker at The Washington Post stated that the new format was free of boundaries, and noted that "the course-world structure is gone and replaced with a world map where the camera is set free on a 360 degree axis." 

Throughout Bowser's Fury, players can see areas of the map that aren't yet accessible. There appears to be no prescribed path to complete the various areas of the open world map, making it a nonlinear experience. The juxtaposition between Super Mario 3D World, with its straightforward paths, and Bowser's Fury, with its less clear objectives, make the games a great match. At least the two games are united by an important theme: cats.