Super Mario 3D World Guide


Super Mario 3D World is a 3D action platforming game which focuses on the narrative of Mario and his friends’ adventures to thwart Bowser’s latest attempt at villainy: kidnapping Sprixie Princesses from Sprixie Kingdom.

Originally released for Nintendo Wii U back in 2013, the game was later updated with better gameplay improvements and new content called Bowser’s Fury for the Nintendo Switch in February 2021, prompting renewed enthusiasm and growing fan base around the world.

In essence, both Super Mario 3D World and Bowser’s Fury are considered to be two separate games entirely; both game storylines differ by Mario needing to save Sprixie Princesses in the original, while needing to help Bowser Jr. (son of Bowser) cleanse his father (Bowser) from the effects of an unknown black substance which turns Bowser into a gargantuan ‘Fury’ version of himself in Bowser’s Fury.

In today’s insightful guide, we will be focusing on Super Mario 3D World instead of Bowser’s Fury, with which the latter will receive its own separate guide as well. With that out of the way, let’s meet the titular cast of playable characters available in the game!

Colourful Characters

Super Mario 3D World offers up to five (5) wonderful playable characters to play as, for the main campaign. This is NOT including Captain Toad who is only playable in Captain Toad’s Adventures which are a series of special in-game levels where you manually guide him around challenging obstacles and enemies to collect precious Green Stars (collectibles for game progress).

Four (4) characters are available to be selected from the very start (you can change your character during the World Select screen, e.g. World 1-1), who are:


The main protagonist of the Super Mario franchise, Mario is the most balanced character amongst the others (jump height, running speed, etc.). This makes him the most suitable choice for first-time playthroughs.


The green and lankier version of Mario, Luigi is capable of executing higher jumps in the game, but his running ability is somewhat sluggish to control at times, so be wary of those dangerous cliffs!

Princess Peach

Usually the damsel in distress for other Super Mario games, Princess Peach is now a heroine who uses her glamourous dress to glide over gaps for longer, making it easier for you to traverse obstacles.


The speedster of the group, the blue-attired Toad possesses the quickest running speed amongst the bunch, but his jumping ability is the most lacking when compared to Mario and the others.


A cosmic deity, Rosalina is a great character to play as due to her spinning attack and double jump ability. Still, her drawback comes from being arguably the slowest character in the game. To unlock her, you will need to reach World Star (which is basically after you complete the main quest by defeating Bowser and rescuing all the Sprixie Princesses) and complete the World Star-2: Super Galaxy level (second World Star quest).

All in all, there are a total of five (5) playable characters for you to play as throughout the main storyline and side quests, but one (1) extra character to use during Captain Toad’s Adventures (playing as Captain Toad himself). With so many vibrant and delightful characters to play as, you will definitely come back and replay most of the in-game sections by switching into the other available characters as well!

Challenging Worlds

Super Mario 3D World may look like it is a game made for kids, but the game is much more than that especially when you consider the tremendous amount of content available. To date, there are twelve (12) different Worlds for you to pace yourself through, each with its unique set of challenges, levels and hidden areas called Courses for you to explore. In order to make things simpler, here’s a list of the in-game Worlds mentioned, categorized into two (Main Campaign and End-Game):

Main Campaign
World 1

The first World in the Sprixie Kingdom, this map is lush with greenery which is symbolic to the game’s first Green Sprixie Princess, Princess Gaia. There are currently seven (7) World Courses for you to progress through, which are:

  • World 1-1: Super Bell Hill
  • World 1-2: Koopa Troopa Cave
  • World 1-A: Chargin’ Chuck Blockade
  • World 1-3: Mount Beanpole
  • World 1-4: Plessie’s Plunging Falls
  • World 1-5: Switch Scramble Circus
  • World 1-Castle: Bowser’s Highway Showdown

You can also find the first Course for Captain Toad’s Adventures here as well, which is:

  • World 1-Toad: Captain Toad Goes Forth
World 2

After defeating Bowser in World 1-Castle: Bowser’s Highway Showdown, you will be able to advance to World 2 which is mainly located in a desert. Here, the Yellow Sprixie Princess, Princess Stella is locked up inside a Sand Castle, waiting for your rescue. There are seven (7) Courses for you to complete in this World as well, which are:

  • World 2-1: Conkdor Canyon
  • World 2-2: Puffrod Peaks
  • World 2-3: Shadow-Play Alley
  • World 2-4: Really Rolling Hills
  • World 2-A: Big Galoomba Blockade
  • World 2-5: Double Cherry Pass
  • World 2-Tank: Bowser’s Bullet Bill Brigade

The first Mystery House can also be found here, with which defeating each Mystery House will grant you a Green Star as a reward too:

  • World 2-Box: Mystery House Melee
World 3

Once you’ve passed World 2-Tank: Bowser’s Bullet Bill Brigade, you will now be able to enter World 3 which is mainly covered in ice. The Blue Sprixie Princess, Princess Wateryl can be found at the end of the level, waiting to be saved. The number of Courses have been increased slightly this time around, with ten (10) Courses for you to plough through:

  • World 3-1: Snowball Park
  • World 3-2: Chain-Link Charge
  • World 3-3: Shifty Boo Mansion
  • World 3-4: Pretty Plaza Panic
  • World 3-A: Magikoopa Blockade
  • World 3-5: Pipeline Lagoon
  • World 3-6: Mount Must Dash
  • World 3-7: Switchboard Falls
  • World 3-Train: The Bullet Bill Express
  • World 3-B: A Banquet with Hisstocrat

The second of Captain Toad’s Adventures is also located on this map:

  • World 3-Toad: Captain Toad Makes A Splash
World 4

After defeating Hisstocrat, you are now able to venture to World 4 which is a rocky, mountainous area. The Orange Sprixie Princess, Princess Rockanne is held prisoner at the end of the level. Here, there will be eight (8) Courses for you to complete, each being:

  • World 4-1: Ant Trooper Hill
  • World 4-2: Piranha Creeper Creek
  • World 4-A: Brolder Blockade
  • World 4-3: Beep Block Skyway
  • World 4-4: Big Bounce Byway
  • World 4-B: Fire Bros. Hideout #1
  • World 4-5: Spike’s Lost City
  • World 4-Castle: Lava Rock Lair

The second Mystery House is also found here too:

  • World 4-Mystery House: Mystery House Mad Dash
World 5

After rescuing Princess Rockanne, you will then be allowed to enter World 5 which is presumably an island surrounded by water and clouds. The Purple Sprixie Princess, Princess Magika is the one to be rescued this time. World 5 also has slightly more Courses for you to complete, which are:

  • World 5-1: Sunshine Seaside
  • World 5-2: Tricky Trapeze Theater
  • World 5-3: Backstreet Bustle
  • World 5-A: Chargin’ Chuck Blockade is Back
  • World 5-4: Sprawling Savanna
  • World 5-5: Bob-ombs Below
  • World 5-6: Cakewalk Flip
  • World 5-7: Searchlight Sneak
  • World 5-B: Fire Bros. Hideout #2
  • World 5-Castle: King Ka-Thunk’s Castle

A third Captain Toad’s Adventure level is also here too, which is:

  • World 5-Toad: Captain Toad Plays Peek-a-Boo

Meanwhile, you may also find a secret level located in the map as well, rewarding you with 1UPs  and Coins:

  • World 5-Golden Train: The Golden Express
World 6

Rescuing Princess Magika will then prompt you to visit World 6 which is now located atop clouds in the sky. The Cyan Sprixie Princess, Princess Crystal is the one who resides here, and will need to be rescued at the end of the level. There are eleven (11) main Courses for you to complete here, each being:

  • World 6-B: Fire Bros. Hideout #3
  • World 6-1: Clear Pipe Cruise
  • World 6-2: Spooky Seasick Wreck
  • World 6-3: Hands-On Hall
  • World 6-4: Deep Jungle Drift
  • World 6-A: Prince Bully Blockade
  • World 6-5: Ty-Foo Flurries
  • World 6-6: Bullet Bill Base
  • World 6-7: Fuzzy Time Mine
  • World 6-Castle: Bowser’s Bob-omb Brigade
  • World 6-C: Motley Bossblob’s Big Battle

A Mystery House is also located here, namely:

  • World 6-Mystery House: Mystery House Throwdown
World Castle

Beating Mosley Bossblob in World 6 will then allow you to travel to World Castle, which is an island surrounded by lava. Here, the World is governed by the Red Sprixie Princess, Princess Kalienta whom is now also captured and requires your rescue. There will be eleven (11) main Courses for you to complete, which are:

  • World Castle-1: Fort Fire Bros.
  • World Castle-2: Switchblack Ruins
  • World Castle-3: Red Hot Run
  • World Castle-4: Boiling Blue Bully Belt
  • World Castle-A: Brolder Blockade is Back
  • World Castle-B: Prince Bully Blockade is Back
  • World Castle-C: Fire Bros. Hideout #4
  • World Castle-5: Trick Trap Tower
  • World Castle-6: Rammerhead Reef
  • World Castle-7: Simmering Lava Lake
  • World Castle-Castle: Bowser’s Lava Lake Keep

Another Captain Toad’s Adventures challenge is also found in World Castle, being:

  • World Castle-Toad: Captain Toad Gets Thwomped
World Bowser

Once you’ve managed to rescue the last Sprixie Princess, Princess Kalienta, all seven (7) Princesses rescued will immediately be recaptured by Bowser This time, they will be taken straight to the final World of the main campaign – World Bowser. World Bowser is a world styled as an amusement park which is created in Bowser’s liking. Being the ‘final’ World of the story campaign, you will need to defeat a total of four (4) Bosses here (including Bowser himself) with three of them being previous Bosses from earlier Worlds:

  • Pom Pom – encountered in World 3-Train: The Bullet Bill Express
  • Motley – encountered in World 6-C: Motley Bossblob’s Big Battle
  • Queen Hisstocrat – encountered in World 3-B: A Banquet with Hisstocrat
  • Meowser

There are eleven (11) main Courses for you to tackle in this World, which are:

  • World Bowser-1: Spiky Spike Bridge
  • World Bowser-2: Plessie’s Dune Downhill
  • World Bowser-3: Cookie Cogworks
  • World Bowser-Train: The Bowser Express
  • World Bowser-4: Footlight Lane
  • World Bowser-5: Deepwater Dungeon
  • World Bowser-6: A Beam in the Dark
  • World Bowser-7: Grumblump Inferno
  • World Bowser-A: Motley Boss Blob’s Encore
  • World Bowser-B: Hisstocrat Returns
  • World Bowser-Castle: The Great Tower of Bowser Land

A Mystery House can also be challenged here:

  • World Bowser-Mystery House: Mystery House Claw Climb
World Star

Defeating Bowser at the end of World Bowser will restore all Sprixie Princesses to their respective lands, and this is effectively the end of the main storyline. However, if you are up for more challenges and unlockables after the end credits roll, you can come back to World 1 and find the Sprixie Princesses creating a Rocket for you to access World Star Here, the World is set in space overseeing the Sprixie Kingdom in the background. There are nine (9) Courses for you to try out here, which are:

  • World Star-1: Rainbow Run
  • World Star-2: Super Galaxy
  • World Star-3: Rolling Ride Run
  • World Star-4: The Great Goal Pole
  • World Star-5: Super Block Land
  • World Star-6: Honeycomb Starway
  • World Star-7: Gargantuan Grotto
  • World Star-8: Peepa’s Fog Bog
  • World Star-9: Cosmic Cannon Cluster

Another Captain Toad challenge is also located here instead of the main quest:

  • World Star-Toad: Captain Toad Takes a Spin
World Mushroom

In order to access World Mushroom, a number of Green Stars, Stamps, and Gold Flags will need to be accumulated first. Once done, the earlier Rocket will then allow you to reach World Mushroom next. You are still floating around the vacuums of space here, but World Mushroom’s layout is a mixture of different Courses completed previously throughout the game. There are only seven (7) Courses for you to complete here:

  • World Mushroom-1: Night Falls on Really Rolling Hills
  • World Mushroom-2: Spiky Mount Beanpole
  • World Mushroom-3: Deep-Black Jungle Drift
  • World Mushroom-4: Trouble in Shadow-Play Alley
  • World Mushroom-5: Back to Hands-On Hall
  • World Mushroom-6: Gigantic Seasick Wreck
  • World Mushroom-7: Broken Blue Belly Belt

Additionally, one Mystery House can also be found here:

  • World Mushroom-Mystery House: Mystery House Brawl
World Flower

After beating World Mushroom-7: Broken Blue Belly Belt, you will be allowed to enter World Flower World Flower is set on the same plane as World Mushroom, with harder versions of previous main Courses scattered throughout the tiles. There are currently twelve (12) Courses for you to complete this time around:

  • World Flower-1: Switch Shock Circus
  • World Flower-2: Floating Fuzzy Time Mine
  • World Flower-3: Piranha Creeper after Dark
  • World Flower-4: Faster Fort Fire Bros.
  • World Flower-5: Sprawling Savanna Rabbit Run
  • World Flower-6: Shiftier Boo Mansion
  • World Flower-7: Pipeline Boom Lagoon
  • World Flower-8: Blast Block Skyway
  • World Flower-9: Towering Sunshine Seaside
  • World Flower-10: Honeycomb Skyway
  • World Flower-11: Spiky Spike Bridge Sneak
  • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz 
World Crown

The final World in the game, World Crown can only be accessed after you’ve collected EVERY Green Star and Stamp, while also unlocking Gold Flags in ALL previous Courses in the game too. World Crown is located in the farthest regions of the cosmos, by which there are only three (3) Special Courses left for you to complete:

  • Champion’s Road
  • Captain Toad’s Fiery Finale (final Captain Toad’s Adventures level)
  • Mystery House Marathon (final Mystery House)

Each World will have its own number of Courses for you to complete, each Course hiding three (3) Green Stars which will need to be collected in order for you to advance through the respective Courses (or even other Worlds). There are also Stamps which can be collected by completing various Courses and Sprixie Houses in the game too, but they are now only usable in the Switch port of the game (for decoration in Snapshot mode) as Wii U’s Miiverse servers are now completely discontinued.

To note, there are currently three hundred and eighty (380) Green Stars to collect in total, while there are eighty-five (85) Stamps to uncover in the game as well (five stamps are only unlocked by beating all Courses using each playable character). With so many secret troves and hidden areas for you to uncover in Super Mario 3D World, you can be sure to have your hands full while enjoying the game during your spare time.

Plethora Of Power-Ups

In the fight to save all the Sprixie Princesses, you will be faced with many types of obstacles and adversaries who are doing their best to foil your efforts as much as they can. Luckily for you, there are a multitude of Power-Ups which are scattered around the Worlds, each with its own distinct use and advantages. Here is a summary of the different Power-Ups that you can use to overcome the many challenges blocking your path:

  • Super Mushroom: This mushroom will make your character return to normal size (after becoming mini).
  • 1UP Mushroom: Increases your Life by 1.
  • Super Star: Temporarily makes your character faster and invincible.
  • Fire Flower: Your character is capable of throwing bouncing fireballs.
  • Lucky Bell: This Power-Up is an improved version of Super Bell, where your character drops collectable Coins after they fall from a jump (besides the other advantages of a Super Bell).
  • Super Leaf: Your character puts on a Tanooki Suit, capable of gliding longer in the air after jumps, and spin to attack enemies.
  • Super Bell: Your character wears a Cat Suit, and is able to run faster, climb walls, strike at enemies using claws, and jump higher/ further.
  • Double Cherry: Creates a clone of the character, mimicking every move and attacks.
  • Boomerang Flower: You are able to throw Boomerangs which can attack enemies.
  • Cannon Box: Puts your character inside a box where you shoot Cannonballs at enemies.
  • Propeller Box: Allows your character to hover/ fly.
  • Mega Mushroom: Makes your character become gargantuan, capable of destroying everything in your path (enemies, objects, etc.).
  • Goomba Mask: Your character wears a mask resembling a Goomba which makes most enemies ignore you.
  • Ice Skate: During certain Courses, you are able to equip Ice Skates to traverse terrain much quicker.
  • Invincibility Leaf: This Power-Up will make you immune to any damage whatsoever (except falling to death).

These Power-Ups are usually randomized throughout each Course in every World, but knowing which one you would want to collect and use can ultimately determine how you can win levels as quickly as possible. Try each one of them out today!

Diverse Enemies

Bowser’s minions in Super Mario 3D World are very diverse and vibrant too, as it has always been for every Mario game to date. From the upgraded Galoombas to the rolling Brolders, each unique adversary has its distinct attacking patterns, map presence, and scripted events to stop you in your tracks. Although the enemies are quite harmless in both appearance and damage, their numbers and persistent chase of your character can be an annoyance when you are trying to gather all of the collectibles scattered throughout a Course. However, the difficult aspects of the game – and also the most enjoyable – are when you finally go head-to-head against each of the Bosses of the Worlds.

Bowser’s ‘generals’ can sometimes be challenging to beat the first time around, but after subsequent playthroughs, you’ll be able to read their movements and attacks very easily afterwards. Here are the current World Bosses that you will encounter in Super Mario 3D World (and where you’ll encounter them):

  • Boom Boom
    • World 2-Tank: Bowser’s Bullet Bill Brigade
    • World 6-Castle: Bowser’s Bo-omb Brigade
    • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz
    • World Crown: Mystery House Marathon
  • Boss Brolder
    • World 4-Castle: Lava Rock Lair
    • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz
  • Bowser
    • World 1-Castle: Bowser’s Highway Showdown
    • World Castle-Castle: Bowser’s Lava Lake Keep
  • King Hisstocrat
    • World 3-B: A Banquet with Hisstocrat
    • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz
  • King Ka-Thunk
    • World 5-Castle: King Ka-Thunk’s Castle
    • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz
  • Meowser (final boss of the main campaign/ quest)
    • World Bowser-Castle: The Great Tower of Bowser Land
  • Motley Bossblob
    • World 6-C: Motley Bossblob’s Big Battle
    • World Bowser-A: Motley Bossblob’s Encore
    • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz
  • Pom Pom
    • World 3-Train: The Bullet Bill Express
    • World Bowser-Train: The Bowser Express
    • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz
  • Prince Bully
    • World 6-A: Prince Bully Blockade
    • World Castle-B: Prince Bully Blockade is Back
  • Queen Hisstocrat
    • World Bowser-B: Hisstocrat Returns
    • World Flower-12: Boss Blitz

Each of these Bosses will appear several times in the game, denoted by their World Courses respectively. With this knowledge in mind, you can now be prepared to face them once you reach each of their levels accordingly (some Courses do not provide hints of any Boss battles). Be wary, but also have fun!

Tips & Tricks

After going through almost all of the important basics of Super Mario 3D World, it is still worth noting that there are TONS of things for you to learn by playing the game yourself. If you’re ready to jump right into the action, here are some favourable tips and tricks which may ease your adventures throughout the game:

The Infinite 1UPs Exploit

– Super Mario 3D World is not considered a very tough game in all fairness, but you can still find yourself burning through lives extremely quickly if not careful.

– This is even truer if you are playing Co-Op with friends on either the Wii U or Nintendo Switch, with every player sharing the now-precious Life count.

– With that in mind, there is an exploit in the game where you are able to acquire ‘infinite’ lives very early on in the game, and here’s how to do it:

  • In World 1-2: Koopa Troopa Cave, once you start the Course, you will need to go straight into the Green Pipe to access the next area (you may skip the first Koopa along the way).
  • Dive through the first translucent pipe and go straight to the Purple Blocks which are closest to the MIDDLE OF THE SCREEN (avoid or kill the Koopa nearby, your choice).
  • Execute a Ground Pound on the Purple Blocks (again, the one closest to the middle of the screen) and you will access an area underneath it (one Koopa surrounded by four rows of Purple Blocks and Yellow ‘?’ Blocks).
  • Jump on top of the nearby Koopa to grab hold of its shell.
  • Bring the shell over to the cave entrance directly at the end of the wall.
  • Move inside the cave with the shell, and face towards the end of the cave wall (pressing the UP button towards the inside of the cave with your character’s back towards you).
  • Throw the shell against the cave wall AND JUMP immediately afterwards.
  • If done correctly, your character will continuously bounce on top of the shell endlessly while you repeatedly acquire 1UPs until your Life count is represented by three Crowns (equivalent to 1,110 lives).

– Make yourself a sandwich and some hot chocolate while waiting for your Life count to reach maximum, if you’re up for it.

Boomerang Flowers are both Offense and Utility

– It is an understatement to say that Boomerang Flowers are only usable for clearing out enemies on a map.

– Believe it or not, you can also collect items such as Coins by tossing the Boomerang instead, without needing to walk through them manually.

– This can be used on occasions where you need to defeat swarms of enemies but also want to collect precious drops or items lying around the screen as well.

– Now you’ll be grateful for picking up those Boomerang Flowers, eh?

Hidden Warp Zones to Skip entire Worlds!

– In obvious Nintendo fashion, there are certain Courses where a Red Pipe is hidden around the map, enabling you to skip Worlds entirely!

– In World 1-2: Koopa Troopa Cave, you can find the Red Pipe to skip all the way to World 2 by doing the following (have a Cat Suit ready!):

  • Near the end of the Course (after going through the Checkpoint), you will go through a long transparent pipe which has another branching pipe attached to it (filled with Coins) but leads to the same exit either way.
  • After leaving the pipe, you will find two paths for you to follow:
    • Another clear pipe at the bottom.
    • A cliff up top for you to climb/ jump over to (there will be a Koopa patrolling here).
  • There will also be a Yellow ‘?’ Block attached to the nearby wall too.
  • If you jump around the nearby wall (before choosing any path), you will uncover invisible Brown Blocks attached to the wall (easier access to the above cliff).
  • Choose to climb top, and defeat the Koopa if you want to.
  • Here, there will be a hole (clear pipe) on the wall. You will not go through here, but use this as an indicator.
  • Walk a bit further after the hole, but before the end of the cliff/ platform.
  • Using the Cat Suit, attach yourself to the wall (between the hole and the end of the cliff) and climb up all the way to the Red Pipe above!

– In World 4-2: Piranha Creeper Creek, you can also transport yourself straight to World 5 if done correctly (again, prepare/ use a Cat Suit):

  • Near the end of the Course, you will find yourself exiting the underwater segment of the level (after the Checkpoint) and standing in front of a waterfall of purple poisonous water (there will be circular platforms for you to jump on top of).
  • DO NOT jump on top of the circular platforms. Instead, climb the wall behind the Roulette Block to uncover another level above (using the Cat Suit).
  • This time, jump over the circular platforms (on the waterfall level above) and you will find the Red Pipe at the end!

Be mindful that you will not be able to completely acquire all the Green Stars and collectibles that you missed by skipping Worlds this way, so you will eventually need to complete all the skipped content either way in order to achieve full completion/ unlock certain rewards!

Jump on Clear Pipes to Save Time

– Don’t like diving into those transparent tubes found everywhere in Super Mario 3D World?

– You can save some time from collecting Coins inside the tubes by jumping on top of them and just running all the way through to the other side.

– One would question why you would want to do that, but hey, everyone has their own opinions!

Ground Pound + Jump Manoeuvre

– There are plenty of ways for you to reach heights in Super Mario 3D World.

– Still, if you’re up for a challenge, you can also combine your Ground Pound attack with a Jump directly afterwards, to perform a higher jump!

– Not only will you be able to defeat enemies this way, but you can simultaneously reach better platforms as well too!

– Practice pressing the Jump button immediately upon your character making contact with the ground (after executing a Ground Pound), and you’ll get used to it in no time at all.

Super Ground Pound

– Another effective way of clearing a map is by executing a Super Ground Pound as well, where multiple characters simultaneously use a Ground Pound attack which creates a shockwave to eliminate enemies.

– Use this to your advantage if you’re playing Co-Op with a friend and find yourselves surrounded.

– Some players have even said that using Double Cherries to clone your characters is also a good way to make a Super Ground Pound attack while playing solo, but you will just have to try it out for yourself in-game in order to find out!

  • 9.9Total Score

    What really is there to say about Super Mario that we do not already know? This installation of the acclaimed series does justice to its predecessors, as confirmed by its continued financial success over the years.

    • Graphics
    • Technical Quality
    • Replay Value
    • Addictive & Fun
    • THE GOOD
      • Genuinely fun
      • Energetic and maddening challenges
      • Genius level design and gameplay
      • You can't go wrong with Super Mario
    • THE BAD
      • The camera may be unreliable in multi-player mode
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