One of the worst platformers I recall ever playing.
The Mario gameplay is still somewhat intact....
.... Unfortunately, the game was poorly constructed and thus it is very hard to enjoy it.
The Bottom Line
I already know that a lot of people are gonna hate me for this review since this game is considered to be a masterpiece. But honestly, why is it? I couldn't really find anything worthwhile in this game. From beginning to end, it just feels like a complete waste of time.
The story is quite simple: Bowser and his Koopalings have turned many of the Mushroom World's kings into animals and Mario sets out to save them all, fighting his way through the various kingdoms until finally reaching Dark Land, Bowser's hideout. While the classic Mario gameplay is somewhat intact, this game just has one huge problem that prevents it from being any fun: the level design.
Yes, this has to be one of the worst level designs I've ever seen in a Mario game. Now, while Nintendo was never known for making great levels since the games (especially those of the Mario franchise) are also meant for people who can't play games and therefore need to be "easy", this is taking it way too far.
The main problem with the level design is that you can essentially finish each and every level in about 20 seconds. Yes, that's right. It isn't much of an issue in the very first levels and at first I thought it'd soon get better but guess what? It doesn't. From beginning to end the levels are so short it takes less than one minute to finish them if you're even a decent player.
The controls are actually WORSE than Mario 2. I don't know how a game can "downgrade" like that but the controls while in the air feel jittery and unresponsive.
This is also the only Mario game I remember playing in which the music was most of the time absolutely painful to listen to. Extremely repetitive and slow tunes (especially the castle level) and the only one I recall enjoying was the cave one. But oh wait, that one is a remix of a Mario 1 track.
As for the graphics, they aren't too bad, but this game has the worst Mario 2D sprite I recall ever seeing.
Many people at this point could say that while all levels are admittedly short, there's many of them. Well here is a lesson for you: Quality over quantity. I don't care if there's 50000 short levels, I'd rather play 15 medium-sized levels that are actually good.
So in the end, all this game is is just a massive waste of time. It is extremely disappointing especially because Mario 1 and 2 are actually pretty fun games, and Super Mario World remains one of the classics of 2D platforming. So here's what you should do: Play Super Mario World, make a ROM out of it, download The Second Reality Project Reloaded and play that. It's the best Mario game ever, and once you play it, you will most likely have no reason to play Mario 3 ever again.