The levels of the game follows a similar play style to Super Mario 3D Land, which combines the free-roaming gameplay of 3D Super Mario games with the mechanics of 2D side-scrolling platforming games in the series, including a flagpole and timer in the levels. Up to four players may control player characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad. Additionally, Rosalina appears as a hidden, unlockable fifth playable character. Similar to their appearances in Super Mario Bros. 2, each of the characters possesses unique abilities and controls differently: Mario has balanced running speed and jump height; Luigi jumps higher and falls slower, but has lower traction; Peach can jump and shortly float through the air, but runs slowly; Toad runs the fastest, but cannot jump as high and falls faster; and Rosalina can use the spin attack move as seen in the Super Mario Galaxy games, but has the slowest running speed. The player can select any of the five characters to use before beginning a level, and up to four players may explore the same level simultaneously with each character, sharing from a pool of lives. Players are also able to pick up, carry and throw each other to either help or hinder their progress.
The levels of the game are accessed through a world map, in which players can explore to find hidden secrets or access bonus areas to earn more items or coins. Each level contains three hidden collectable Green Stars which are required to access certain levels, and each main level contains a hidden Stamp which can be used in handwritten posts to Miiverse within the game's community. Players can also view messages left by other players, both on the world map and after clearing a level, and can download 'Mii Ghosts', which are live records of other players completing levels. They are used to race against and sometimes hold gift prizes such as coins or extra lives. Additional Green Stars can be earned in Captain Toad levels, where players control Captain Toad, who cannot jump, as he navigates puzzle-like stages using the GamePad's functionality, and Mystery Houses, where players must clear a series of challenges with short time limits, as well as challenge levels, that have the player complete quick challenges in fast succession.
Along with several returning items from previous games, such as the Fire Flower, Super Leaf, Mega Mushroom, Propeller Box and Boomerang Flower, several items are introduced. The Super Bell gives players a Cat Suit, allowing them to run faster, perform unique attacks and climb up walls to reach new areas. A variation of the Super Bell, the Lucky Bell, allows the player to temporarily transform their character into a lucky cat statue that awards coins under certain conditions. Another new power-up are the Double Cherries, which make a clone of the player, allowing for more effective attacks and a higher chance of survival; the more Double Cherries the player uses, the more clones that appear. Players can also wear Cannon Boxes, which fire shots at enemies, Light Blocks, which can defeat ghosts and Goomba masks, which let them blend in with enemy Goombas. Players are also able to pick up various objects, such as bombs, baseballs and Piranha Plants, which can be used to defeat enemies or solve puzzles, and ride around in a Skating Shoe or on an aquatic dinosaur named Plessie.
|3D MARIO BANG|