How do you go about making a new Mario game? He can’t reinvent the wheel again like he did in Super Mario Bros. or Super Mario 64, because video games are just too set in their ways these days. He can’t upstage his Wii-era excursions into outer space for fear of getting repetitive. Speaking of which, there is no positive way to spin his fans’ weariness of New Super Mario Bros. either. Where do we go from here?

Super Mario 3D Land was well received and popular enough, so how about taking that idea and throwing about five tons of sugar at it? That’s exactly what Super Mario 3D World is, its handheld successor high on sugar like a five year old child. Everything about this game spews a delightful and hyper sense of imagination and could prove to one of the plumber’s best games in recent memory.

What makes it so special is how it captures the classic look of the NES series far better than any of the New Super Mario Bros. games. Thwomps, Kuribo’s Shoe, the Hammer Brothers, Tanuki suits. It’s a small observation, but even the character icons in the top left corner look as if they were pulled straight from the 1980s.

Points are making a comeback as well, and they have never played a huge factor in any of the 3D Mario games.

And of course, Mario can dress like a cat this time, and it’s downright cute. Climbing walls, dodging Bullet Bill, running with bombs. I never enjoyed the new power-ups from the Galaxy games, but this cat suit looks like a lot of fun.

The only thing that bugs me about this game is the glossy textures on the character models. Mario and friends look to much like plastic or glass, and the awkward texture doesn’t mesh well with how naturally Nintendo animated him in Super Mario 3D Land, Super Smash Bros, or Super Mario Galaxy 2. He just looks too fake.

It might not look so obvious when actually playing the game, and that aside, I have no complaints. Super Mario 3D World looks out of this world. This game is going to be huge for Mario and hopefully it will grease the rusty imaginations of his developers. They have been complacent for far too long and need to take a few risks.

Super Mario 3D World will be available on November 22nd exclusively for the Wii U. I wonder how many people will be skipping the Xbox One line to get their Mario fix at GameStop that day.