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Super Mario 3D World: Beginner’s Guide, Power-Up List, Infinite Lives

Mario returns in another brilliant adventure. But do you need help? We've got some great hints and tips to get you up and running!

By USgamer Team. Published 4 months ago

If you're playing Super Mario 3D World and need some help, here's where you can get started. Be warned. This is not an easy game to get through, and you'll need some good old-fashioned gaming skills to get all the way through to the end. And if you want to get 100% competition, you've got your work cut out for you. Below we've got a starter's guide to get you up and running, followed by a power-up guide. And then finally, we've got a video that shows you how to get infinite lives, should you need that many!

So let's get started!

There are five heroes in the game, each of whom has their own strengths and weaknesses. At various points during the game, you'll need to play as each one, since there are switches in the game that can only be activated by a specific character. Here's a quick run-down of each character:

  • Mario: The most balanced character in the game. Although he doesn't excel in one particular area, Super Mario 3D World was essentially designed around his skill-set, so he's without question the most ideal hero to play as.
  • Luigi: Mario's green-clad bro has the highest jump in the game.
  • Princess Peach: She's the slowest character in Super Mario 3D World, but Peach can hover for roughly two seconds, making her a great hero to have while making dangerous leaps.
  • Toad: He can't jump very high, but Toad is the fastest character in the game.
  • Rosalina: This Super Mario Galaxy alum makes a welcome appearance in 3D World, thanks in large part to her Spin attack that she can use standing still, jumping and moving.

How do I change characters in Super Mario 3D World?

Select a level, and just before it begins (at the Course Start Screen), press the B button and use the left analog stick or D-pad to cycle through the available characters, then press B again to make your selection.

Can I store power-ups in Super Mario 3D World?

Yes! You can store up to two Power-Ups per level – the one you have, and the one on the lower left portion of the screen. Swap between the two with the [ - ] (minus) button.

Why is this important? Let's say you need to climb walls as Cat Mario (via the Super Bell Power-Up), but also need to attack enemies with the Boomerang (via the Boomerang Flower). Just press [ - ] when you need to switch. Don't forget that you'll lose your currently held Power-Up if your character gets hit by an enemy of falls into a pit.

Is there a Super Leaf in Super Mario 3D World?

Yes! Lose five consecutive lives and the Super Leaf box appears. Hit it and grab the leaf to become invincible throughout the entire level.

However, using the Super Leaf means you won't get the sparkling star atop the flagpole next to the level on the World Map. You'll have to replay the stage without the Super Leaf to get that.

How do I get 100% completion in each level?

There are a few things you need to do:

  • Track down all of the Green Stars (there are usually three per level).
  • Find the Stamp; you can attach Stamps to your Miiverse posts.
  • Reach the top of the goal pole. Note that the Super Bell is a great power-up to have, since Cat Mario can actually climb to the top of the goal pole.

More Super Mario 3D World Tips

  • The weather in the Super Mario 3D World main menu changes each time you quit the game from the World Map.
  • Climb trees to find coins and Power-Ups.
  • Activate the Checkpoint Flag to receive a Mushroom.
  • Run through bushes to grab the occasional gold coin.
  • You can attack a Conkdor bird from the rear to avoid its beak attack.
  • You can push tiny Goombas backwards by blowing into the Wii U GamePad microphone.
  • Blow into the Wii U GamePad microphone to see invisible blocks.
  • Walk up to stunned enemies and Mario will dispose of them with a kick.
  • Pick up the Double Cherry to add another Mario to your team. Now you have double Claw Attacks, or Fireballs if you prefer. Are the characters too far apart? Walk into a corner to form a triangle, or along a wall for a straight line.
  • Tired of slipping on ice? Crouch by pressing and holding the ZL button, then tilt the left analog stick to move Mario without the threat of sliding.
  • Collect green + Clocks to add 100 seconds to the timer. Smaller blue clocks add 10 seconds.
  • With the Cannonball Box item, press and hold the Y button to charge your attack.
  • Enemies are not impervious to spiked rollers and projectiles.
  • Chase after rabbits for bonus items.
  • Fireballs ricochet off walls and other objects.

So long as you reach the Checkpoint Flag, you'll keep all Green Stars collected, even if you die; providing you continue from that midway point. That said, it is sometimes a good idea to collect the second Green Star and then activate the Checkpoint Flag. Saves you from having to grab the same Star repeatedly. Keep in mind not all courses allow this.

Need power-ups? Here's a list of every Power-Up and Item in Super Mario 3D World.

Super Mushroom:

  • You already know this one, right?

Cat Mario?

  • Claw: Y (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), 1 (Wii Remote), B (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)
  • Pounce: ZL + Y (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), B + 1 (Wii Remote), Z + B (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)
  • Claw Dive While in Midair: Hold Y (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), Hold 1(Wii Remote), Hold B (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)
  • Climb Walls: Tilt L after jumping towards a wall (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), press D-Pad after jumping towards a wall (Wii Remote), Tilt analog stick after jumping towards a wall (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)

Super Leaf Tanooki Suit

  • Tail Attack: Y (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), 1 (Wii Remote), B (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)
  • Tail Spin: ZL + Y (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), B + 1 (Wii Remote), Z + B (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)
  • Float Down in Midair: Hold B (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), Hold 2 (Wii Remote), Hold A (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)

Boomerang Flower

  • Throw Boomerang: Y (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), 1 (Wii Remote), B (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)

Fire Flower

  • Throw Fireballs: Y (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), 1 (Wii Remote), B (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)
  • Double Cherry: Seeing double? Don't worry, there's nothing wrong with your vision. Picking up the Double Cherry adds another Mario (or Peach/Toad/Luigi) to your team, depending on the character you chose.
  • Mega Mushroom: Your hero becomes super sized with this Power-Up. Not only can he or she smash through objects, but also enemies without taking damage.

Propeller Box

  • Fly Upwards: Hold B (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), Hold 2 (Wii Remote), Hold A (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)

Cannon Box

  • Supercharged Shot: Hold Y, then release (Wii U GamePad/Pro Controller), Hold 1, then release (Wii Remote), Hold B, then release (Wii Remote and Nunchuck)
  • Lucky Bell: Same as Cat Mario, except you can turn into an invincible golden statue.
  • Beam Box: Shines a ray of light in the direction you face. Lights up dark portions of a stage and permanently destroys Boos.

Super Mario 3D World Items

  • Gold Coin: Grab 100 of these to receive an extra life.
  • Blue/Red/Green Coins: You'll see these coins after jumping into or touching a Star Ring of the same color. Then you must collect all the coins before time runs out. Red coins produce a Power-Up, while Blue and Green coins usually lead to a collectible Green Star.
  • 1-Up Mushroom: Always collect these green mushrooms to score an extra life.
  • + Clock: The big green one adds 100 seconds to the timer, while the little blue ones add 10 seconds. Sometimes that's all you need to reach the Goal Pole.
  • Super Star: Makes Mario and friends temporarily invincible.
  • Green Star: Levels feature three of these hidden collectibles, while sub levels (World 1-A, for example) contain one. You'll need to get them all as part of 100 percent completion of the game. On top of that, you must have a specific number of Stars to unlock key levels in the game.
  • Stamp: There's one hidden in every level, though you'll also be able to snag one here or there. Then you can attach these Stamps to your Miiverse posts.
  • Ice Skate: Found in the snowy levels, the Ice Skate prevents you from slipping on ice with the tradeoff of reduced jumping ability.
  • Goomba Mask: Put one of these on to fool enemies into thinking you're one of them!
  • Koopa Shells: Did you know Mario and friends can ride inside Koopa Shells and destroy enemies? Pick one up with the Y or X buttons, then hold the ZL or ZR buttons. You may also find rare gold shells that produce a ton of gold coins when kicked.

Finally. If you're stuck and need to cheat, here's how to get 1,110 lives – and you can repeat this trick for more if somehow you manage to waste that many:

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This article was compiled with help from Prima Games

You can find many more hints and tips, plus strategy guides and over 65,000 cheat codes, unlocks, achievements, trophies, Easter eggs and secrets at Prima Games.

The best community comments so far 3 comments

  • CK20XX 4 months ago

    Does Rosalina make the Tanooki Suit redundant? She already has an effective spin attack as a default move, so why would she need a raccoon tail? Even its ability to slow falls seems like it would only be a little more useful than her built-in double jump.

  • Jaz_Rignall 4 months ago

    @CK20XX The Tanooki Suit works well in very, very specific situations, but for the most part she can hold her own.

  • binger102 4 months ago

    I am wondering if the power-ups collected in the mushroom houses are stored somewhere for later use (like the other Super Mario for Wii and WiiU)? I'll get like 4 things but am unable to use them all, or am unable to find where they are stored.

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