Video game players are familiar with the law of diminishing returns. Even as new entries in a series tirelessly improve upon their predecessors, our interest nevertheless wanes; with games, improved is somehow less exciting than new. Mario Kart 8 is a rare thing, then: the best entry in a series and the most exciting yet.
'The sacred river ran, through caverns measureless to man, down to a sunless sea,' reads Coleridge's poem, Kubla Khan, from which the game takes its name and setting. It already knows that you will take up the challenge and bravely attempt to measure these caverns. The better question, and the one that Sunless Sea asks in countless ways is: how?
To some, Super Mario may appear tired: a mascot whom Nintendo trots out every few years to sell another console with repackaged but fundamentally stale ideas. Super Mario 3D World is a fierce rebuttal to the accusation. Mario and his makers once again assert their dominance of spatial navigation games, displaying a rude abundance of ideas to delight, surprise and celebrate innocence and playfulness.