Expand the Roster – Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario Bros. 2 (a.k.a. USA) introduced gamers to a Mario game where every character behaved differently and had properties apart from one another. As the second game in the Super Mario series this break from the norm was not a surprising and was a pleasant change, which is why it became all the more upsetting when future titles would go back to having all characters move and act the same. However, Super Mario 3D World on the Nintendo Wii U brought this concept back in full force, allowing players to choose from the balanced Mario to the slippery Luigi, from floaty Peach to speedy Toad. It even expanded on the roster from Super Mario Bros 2 by adding Rosalina and her ability to double jump. All of these characters  allowed for a different platforming experience which encouraged multiple playthroughs of a level. So, one of my hopes, if they ever decide to make a sequel to Super Mario 3D World, is that the roster will grow even more and increase the amount of options for the players. It is not the easy though, as each character should feel somewhat distinct and add something somewhat new to the gameplay.

In this article I thought it would be fun to look at some potential newcomers that we might see. I believe a sequel would, at most, give us three new characters so I decided to focus exclusively on who I think those three would be. In order to figure out how these characters might play, I have looked through all of their prior appearances and games – as well as taken into account their personalities and what they are known for. So with that, this first character should be fairly straight-forward.



A recurring and adorable character from the Mario series, Yoshi was first introduced in a main-line Mario game, Super Mario World, and was popular enough to get his own spin-off series in the form of Yoshi’s Island. The spin-offs play a bit of inspiration for how Yoshi would work in Super Mario 3D World but it is not the focus. For example, Yoshi would not be able to lay and throw eggs. The mechanic is harder to pull of in a 3D space and is not really needed for this type of game.

Instead, our main inspiration for Yoshi will actually come from the DS remake of Super Mario 64. In this game Yoshi is one of the four playable characters alongside Mario, Luigi and Wario. He comes equipped with his flutter jump and tongue attack but no egg throwing. This game gives us a good idea of how Yoshi would work in a 3D space and so is key to understanding how he would play here


Yoshi’s main gimmick is that power-ups would not affect him in anyway. This was the case in Super Mario 64 DS where he would need to turn into another character to use the power flower. This is why Yoshi retains some of his abilities. He is easy mode, more so than Peach, but using him prevents access to some of the levels secrets like green stars and coins. He can still be turned into little Yoshi when he gets hit so a Mushroom can turn him big like the rest, however Yoshi could also eat 5 enemies to grow tall again, just like in Super Mario World.

As a final note, this Yoshi would be in his more upright form while the hunched-over Yoshi’s can still appear as a power-up. As Yoshi can’t use Power-ups he can’t ride them anyway. Each character could have his own coloured Yoshi (for example: Mario = Red, Toad = Blue) so they do not get mixed up with the standard Green. Yoshi is such a key character to the series that he is the most obvious pick on this list, but continuing off of Super Mario 64 DS there is one more character that needs no introduction.




Just like Yoshi, Wario is also a recurring force in the Mario universe who has his own spin-off series and his own gameplay style. He’s even had his own unique 3D adventure in Wario World for the GameCube. Super Mario 64 DS is the biggest influence but there are also elements from the Wario Land games that could easily translate into a 3D World sequel.

Wario is the heavier and goofy version of Mario and that would be represented here through his animations and general abilities. Wario is the slowest character in his walk speed however when he breaks out into a run he becomes an unstoppable force thanks to his signature shoulder barge. When this activates he know longer needs to jump on an enemies head to defeat them and he completely destroys the likes of Koopa Troopa’s, shell and all! Spiked enemies can still hurt him but crashing into blocks would break them. He even gets an extended jump like in Wario World if the player decides to jump out of this run.


To make up for this incredible strength attack, Wario has the worst jump in the game, even more so than Toad. He is the opposite of Yoshi’s easy-mode being a harder version of Toad to use, but with a bit of mastery he can become very rewarding. He gets power-ups like everyone else and can even break blocks in his little form, although he can barely reach them with his jump in this form.

Wario for me is the next likely candidate thanks to his popularity and prestige as a major Mario character. The only thing holding him back is Miyamoto’s comments that, as he originated from outside the main-line Mario games and had a different art-style, he is rarely considered to appear alongside Mario. Although it has happened before so it’s not impossible and Miyamoto even follows it up saying that 3D models negate this factor nowadays. With these comments in mind you may understand my decision for the next character on here.




Nabbit is the rabbit-looking thief who made his debut in New Super Mario Bros U. Since then he has appeared in a number of Mario spin-offs such as Mario Golf World Tour, Mario Party 10 and Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He even appeared as a stage hazard in Super Smash Bros for Wii U. Most importantly though, unlike most characters Nabbit has actually been playable before in a mainline Mario game, specifically the add-on to NSMBU: New Super Luigi U. This is the game that he will take the most inspiration from however it will not be to the same extreme.

In New Super Luigi U Nabbit could not use power-ups however he was immune to all attacks, only dying from bottomless pits and other insta-kill attacks. Just like Yoshi, Nabbit cannot use power-ups however this is not because he is easier to play as. Instead he is about the same as Mario in speed and jump, if not a bit faster, but the amount of coins Nabbit can obtain is much higher. Every power-up and every enemy kill nets him more coins than anyone else, fitting his thief motif. This makes Nabbit a rewarding final character if your aim is to get max lives or a high score. As a side, Nabbit is no longer immune to enemy attacks but he does not shrink when hit. Instead he loses coins and when he runs out of coins he loses a life instead. So you better be careful.

The reason I feel like Nabbit has more potential than some other Mario characters is for the same reason that Rosalina became playable before some other big names in the series. Nabbit is not only popular in his own right but he is the latest character to originate in the mainline Mario titles. 


I could have done some more characters and maybe one day I will but this time around I just wanted to focus on these three characters as I feel like they are the most likely. Sorry Daisy and Waluigi fans, maybe they will get there chance another day. But until then let me know what you thought about this article. Are you hoping that any new entry into the 3D Mario series will introduce more new characters? Do you like the sound of the characters I described and can you think of any interesting ways other characters might play? Let me know and more in the comments below.

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      1. I guess it really shows how long it has been since I played that game haha. Fair enough although I still don’t expect either to show up. Maybe egg throwing but it’s a lot harder to control in a 3D space where the camera can’t manuever over the shoulder like in 64. But then maybe they could figure out some way, this is Nintendo after all.

        1. I imagine they’d just have to change the egg throwing to work like other 3D land/world projectiles rather than having Yoshi throw them in an arc as he does in his home series. Egg throwing would probably be similar to using a boomerang except the egg would travel in a straight line rather than returning to the user. If I recall correctly that’s basically how they worked in 64 DS too.

          1. It actually locked onto the nearest enemy I believe. It worked fairly smoothly, but a lot of people seem to have missed the mechanic entirely. Also, limit of one egg at a time. I think it could work well.

  1. Ya know, Donkey Kong hasn’t been in an actual main series Mario game that wasn’t Mario Kart or Mario Party, not since the original Donkey Kong 25 years ago, which is funny since he’s always advertised as a Mario character. I think DK and even Diddy Kong would be great additions that would fit in pretty well.

    Also, I know this is unrelated but I think it would be rad if the Metal Cap was brought back to replace the Power Star, since it was basically the power star in Mario 64 but way cooler and better

    Also WALUIGI

    1. I’m actually of the opinion that they may do a Donkey Kong 3D Country at some point. Same kind of style but with DK, Diddy, Dixie and cranky. I might do an article on it at some point but I know that someone at Retro expressed interest in the idea.

      Also I know people want Waluigi and Daisy but I honestly don’t expect either of them. I was also struggling of finding ways to make them unique without it breaking the level design, which was the hardest part of this article.

  2. I’d certainly like to see more characters playable in future Mario titles, though I don’t think its all that likely. The cast of characters that appear in mainline Mario platformers tends to remain fairly stagnant without much variation, rarely adding new characters to the mix. This is even more true in recent years. Yoshi and Nabbit seem like possibilities but even Wario has only managed to appear in 2 Mario platformers, Mario Land 2 and 64 DS. The latter of which is just a remake while the former isn’t even considered a mainline game depending on who you ask. Which isn’t to say I don’t see Wario as one of the more likely candidates, but beyond the three listed here and maaaaaybe Toadette I’m having a hard time thinking of any other characters that might have a feasible shot.

    Characters like Waluigi and Daisy have been locked into spinoff territory for some time, with no indication they’ll break out anytime soon. Donkey Kong likewise tends to have very little to do with Mario outside of the original Donkey Kong games, Mario spinoffs, and the Mario vs Donkey Kong series. There are some one-off characters who have appeared in the mainline platformers like Il Piantissimo from Sunshine and The Chimp from Galaxy 2, but Nintendo seems wholly uninterested in bringing such characters back considering they don’t even show up in the sports/party/kart games. I suppose they could give us a generic character named after their race kinda like Toad, perhaps a Luma, or a Penguin, or one of those fairy things from 3D World, but that seems like a bit of a cop out. About the only other option I can think of is making villains and enemies playable, as there are certainly plenty of iconic ones with a big role in the main Mario series, but I’m not sure that’s a bridge Nintendo will want to cross.

  3. Great article, it has flaws that has been noted in other comments but it shows that the “Super Mario 3D World” formula could use more characters. and those seems like “safe bets”, I mean, clearly Yoshi and Wario have their own personal “maneuverability” that give them a distinct playstyle. So making them unlockable characters in the future could be great to add replayability to the games.
    Waluigi, Daisy and Nabbit don’t have that kind of own playstyle, but I’m sure that the developers could make them playable and fun to surprise us. that’s the difference between us and the developers, I say it humbly, I mean, I wasn’t expecting Rosalina as a Character, even less as a playable one.
    But as a exercise, it’s great to try to foresee what could we get in the future, and even better if you expose it with arguments and not just fanboyism =)
    Keep it going!

  4. I liked your article! I have to say, I imagine Waluigi to be an even lighter Luigi in the sense that he would retain his “air-swimming” ability allowing him to cross large distances, even avoiding enemies if he wishes to. The downside is that Waluigi’s air swim technique, if used to the max, renders him totally UNABLE to jump for a couple of seconds at a time, which may prove to be an occasional hindrance if used repeatably. That being said, he should not spam this technique. He also gains access to his famed tennis racket, though I should mention while it can keep enemies at bay, it requires multiple hits for an enemy to be defeated by it though it allows him to attack without getting too close.

    As for Princess Daisy, I imagine her to essentially be a more faster (and somewhat more athletic) Princess Peach. She would use the Superball to throw at her enemies for extra damage though she has a limited supply of 5 balls. After this, she would either need to defeat 15 enemies or wait about 15-20 seconds for the balls to be usable again. Also, as a surprise and at the same time, a call-back to her appearance in Mario Party 3, Princess Daisy would also have access to a variety of physical attacks, such a punch-punch-kick combo attack, an even a mock-Shoryuken.

  5. Haven’t played 3D World but I’d love for Yoshi and Wario to be playable in a Mario platformer again (although I’d prefer it be a traditional 3D Mario). Yoshi would be fun, and I prefer playing as him directly rather than him being a power-up. I will mention though that Yoshi could in fact lay eggs and throw them in Super Mario 64 DS. Also he could use the Power Flower to get Fire Breath, just like how Mario, Luigi and Wario were all affected differently by it. I think it’d be cool to see Yoshi use power-ups like the Fire Flower. Since the attack button for tongue would probably be the B button like how it works with power-ups, Yoshi wouldn’t be able to eat enemies if he has a Fire Flower or some other suit, balancing things out. I like your idea about eating enemies to get back to normal though.

    Wario’s definitely gotta have his shoulder barge, but maybe he should also have a more powerful ground pound too. Something that has a little shockwave or stuns nearby enemies? Anyway he really needs to show up in the platformers; I Loved how he was playable in 64 DS and it sucks how he only appears in spin-offs in the Mario series these days.

    Not really keen on Nabbit. I don’t know why it I always found it odd how some special enemy got promoted to playable in a Mario platformer. I guess it’s just me but I don’t get the push for him. I think the coin mechanic is pretty cool but how many coins does he lose when he gets hit? Seems like it’d be hard for him to die by enemies.

    As for other potential playable characters I gotta say if Waluigi ever had an opportunity to be playable in a main series Mario game, it would definitely be one where there’s already plenty of playable characters. His tall lanky build I think wouldn’t work in something block-based like 3D World or a 2D Mario game (since characters tend to be two blocks tall and Waluigi would be three, it would mean you wouldn’t be able to create tight spaces in level design), but in a full 3D Mario game I think he could work. As for abilities, maybe the ability to grab ledges would be useful? Could save you from a fall or reach hidden areas you couldn’t normally access like a hole in a wall with no other way up?

  6. I like all three of these choices, though since Wario is typically cast as a villain, I don’t know if he’d fit in platforming right next to Mario. Yoshi is a pretty safe choice, and I’m not familiar with Nabbit outside of Smash, but it sounds like a good idea to me.

    If I may respond to the general trend I see in the comments, I don’t think Waluigi or Daisy are all that likely, but for different reasons. Waluigi has the same issue with Wario where he’s typically the bad guy, and Daisy doesn’t seem different enough from Peach. Even if you were to use smashkirby’s idea of making her more physical, these games don’t really accommodate that type of character. I haven’t played 3D World yet, but if it’s like other Mario games, then defeating enemies was never the main challenge as much as the platforming was. If a new character would be introduced, I think they’d need to change the way you approach the platforming rather than the enemies.

  7. Neat ideas. I’d love for more characters like these to be playable in future Mario platformers. These three are pretty much the only ones I realistically see joining the roster. I’m still salty that Wario made no appearance in New Super Mario Bros. 2…

    1. “I’m still salty that Wario made no appearance in New Super Mario Bros. 2…”

      Same here. They make a Mario game focused on gold and coins and don’t even make their gold and coin-obsessed character show up. Nintendo baffles me sometimes.

  8. This is a great idea for the next 3D Mario Game. Although I’d rather have the NX entry be more grand in scale having a 3D World Sequel with this much replay value would be phenomenal. It’d also be exciting to see Wario in a main series Mario game.

  9. As Yoshi and Wario’s entry is agreeable, Nabbit’s idea is quite interesting. His mechanic of using coins as his protective materials, which you mentioned that the coins can protect him once he’s hit by touching enemies or attacks, does look similar to Sonic’s rings. The rings in Sonic does have a similar effect too, which Sonic can lose rings by being hit as his temporary protection, but instantly kills him if he had none. It may sound like a ripoff, but that’s not what I mean, but instead respectively. I think Nabbit using the similar mechanic of Sonic’s, can be quite an interesting which no other Mario characters can do.

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