Accidental Innuendo: Mario rides right behind Peach in the Clear Pipe in the opening cutscene, therefore staring up her dress. The game makes a point of having him, Toad and Luigi look to the side for most of the scene, though.
Alternative Character Interpretation: The Sprixie Princesses. Trapping Bowser in a giant bottle for his troubles sounds funny at first, but how long do they intend to keep him there? If for the rest of his life with nothing to eat, then the Sprixie Princesses are pretty tough on crime.
Awesome Bosses: The battles against Bowser in his car. And especially the final battle against Meowser, the first time Bowser uses powerups to his advantage! The Hisstocrats and Motley Bossblob also qualify.
"Super Bell Hill", for being the first level in the game and introducing the well-received Cat powerup.
"Double Cherry Pass", for introducing the Double Cherry powerup.
"Switch Scramble Circus" brings a setting that rarely pops up in the Mario games, the circus/funfair one (the closest precedent in the platform canon was Pinna Park in Super Mario Sunshine). The visuals are very colorful, and the music is catchy. It becomes a first sample for later levels of this style, including boss arenas and the map world that houses the Final Boss battle.
"Beep Block Skyway" is a fun throwback to the space-themed levels that were hallmarks in Super Mario Galaxy, and provides a more challenging take on the Double Cherry powerup.
"Cookie Cogworks", for its colorful and tasty layout (sweet food). And it's surprisingly tricky, too.
"Hands-On Hall" is an oddball level based on how people in the west often confuse Japanese and Chinese culture. Not only are its look and sound subtly hilarious, the whole level also has a dungeon-like quality to it that requires you to explore and solve puzzles to progress.
"Mount Must Dash" and the "Honeycomb Starway/Skyway" levels should get special mention for being sendups to other genres: "Mount Must Dash" is a level based on Mario Kart, meanwhile the "Honeycomb Skyway/Starway" levels are based off of top-down shooters. Also, Starway and Skyway use a remix of the Gusty Garden Galaxy theme.
Fans are heavily divided between those who are happy with the revealed game as is and those who are disappointed and wanted a different kind of 3D Mario game. After the game's release, they're divided on whether or not the game deserves all the praise it's gotten, and whether or not it's as good as the Galaxy games.
What exactly is the game? Or more specifically, does it count as a "main 3D Mario" title or not? Fans are broken heavily on whether it should count or not. It has both multiple differences and similarities from the other console games like Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario Galaxy. According to a chart by Nintendo, 3D World, 3D Land, and the Galaxy games are in a different category from 64, Sunshine, and Odyssey.
Captain Obvious Reveal: To anyone who has ever played a Mario game before it should come as no surprise that the boss of World 7 is not the final boss.
Demonic Spiders: Parabones. They replace the normal Dry Bones, but they can fly, chase you down, and revive themselves if they're jumped on or swiped at.
Ear Worm: The 3D Worlds rendition of the Super Mario 64 slide theme. As you ride on Plessie, splashing down the rapids, this remix sounds more carefree and fun than ever before.
Peach in a Tanooki Suit due to her extended floating ability.
It was game-breaking enough that the Statue Leaf in the previous game rendered you invulnerable and able to destroy almost anything by statue-stomping, but here, the Lucky Cat Suit one-ups it with invincibility, so unlike other statue forms in the series, the suit's golden statue form is deadly to the touch, having the same effect as the Starman. The only trade-off being that you cannot move while transformed. You also get lots of coins, and thus, lives when pounding from a high location.
Rosalina herself is a game breaker. Not only is her jumping height on par with Luigi, her spin attack is incredibly useful as both an attack and a second jump in numerous (usually life-saving) situations. Plus, she's able to spin in Super and Small forms, giving her a big advantage over the other characters, who have no form of offense in those forms. It's so useful in fact, it may benefit you more to not pick up power-ups or deliberately take damage if you're already powered up to utilize the spin on occasion.
The touch-screen integration with the Game Pad. It allows you to break blocks, freeze enemies, and reveal hidden blocks and coins by tapping things on the screen. It also allows you to hit some enemies and potentially defeat a select few without even approaching them. Snow Pokeys can be defeated by tapping their segments, Galoombas get flipped over, and you can even defeat Bullies by tapping them to knock them back. This makes the Prince Bully fights hilariously easy, as all the character needs to do is kick him when compressed, since you can squeeze him into the pipes by tapping him repeatedly. Flipswitch panels can be activated with the touchscreen too, making Switch Scramble Circus and other levels with them incredibly simple. Oh, and bombs can be dragged-and-dropped to where you want them, and detonated remotely by tapping them again.
The Octoombas. They've once again gotten stronger, as they now spit three cannonballs in rapid succession, and can only be defeated by a Ground Pound. They are also almost always on moving platforms, making killing them frame-perfect. In Champion's Road, they can cause more early deaths than one would imagine, either by trying to kill them or avoid them. Thankfully, they're only in a select few levels.
The Fire Piranha Plant in the final Captain Toad level. The level itself already requires near-perfect timing, so when something in the center is spitting fireballs at you the whole time, it can ruin your timing and even drain your gameplay timer. If you're not lucky enough to deflect its fireball back at it with the Game Pad, it's going to be a stressful time.
Goddamned Boss: The fight with Bowser in World Castle. Yes, it's basically the same fight as the World 1 boss, but this time you've got loads of hazards on the road, with pitfalls as a bonus. This sounds fine on paper, and the fight comes coupled with Awesome Music, but Bowser will stall his Tactical Suicide Boss traits with fireballs. It's not bad at first, but as he takes damage, he will spit out more and more fireballs before his bombs, which takes a lot of time. Oh, and every time his car jumps, his attack pattern resets. It's not a joke that there's Anti-Frustration Features in it being possible to hurt him with boomerangs.
Back when Sonic Colors came out (as well as Sonic Lost World), people accused it of ripping off Super Mario Galaxy; well, now it looks like Eggman is no longer the only one to have his own interstellar amusement park.◊ It also has all the colors of the rainbow used to make it, and the final boss fights using your powerups against you. To top it all off, the final battle ends with fireworks in the shape of the villain's head. All of these are part of the finale of Sonic Colors.
There are levels with dash panels that are reminiscent of some 3D Sonic levels.
Remember the signpost flying away in Crisis City: Act 1 in Sonic Generations? The same thing happens to a Goal Pole in "The Great Goal Pole".
Bowser's final stronghold, The Great Tower of Bowser Land, is an enormous skyscraper decorated with his image in neon lights. In the live action movie, Koopa's headquarters was an enormous (double) skyscraper decorated with his emblem in neon lights.
It Was His Sled: Rosalina is an unlockable. Nintendo didn't even bother to keep it secret after the game had been out for a while. She was even shown in the end of a Nintendo Direct right before the game's release.
The golden coin train is often referred to as the hype train.
On /f/, the music for Beep Block Skyway is commonly associated with "pppu~", a NSFW flash animation depicting Peach and Rosalina plus other female characters. NSFW scenes change every three beeps.
Whenever a well-known Let's Player starts playing, expect the Miiverse to be full of messages cheering them on.
When a Miiverse user named Andrew posted "this game is fun but i hate my parents," it got frequently parroted and reworded in the Miiverse boards for this game and other Wii U games, particularly Splatoon.
The Sprixie Princesses, especially the green one. From the opening cutscene, where she asks Mario and the others to help her and explains how Bowser's already kidnapped the rest of them, to her eventual rescue, where she happily waves a toy mallet around before opening the pipeline to World 2. Seriously, you'll wanna give her a hug.
Plessie, which favorably reminds players of Dorrie and Yoshi.
Cat Goombas◊. They make little "meows" and they don't even try to chase you because they are too busy playing around and having fun. It might make you feel bad for harming the little fellas.
The individual "bossblobs" used by Motley Bossblob to create the giant clown form. They're just little round blobs with eyes, and they're rather cute.
The beeping chimes that play when Touchstone platforms are activated with the touchscreen.
Narm Charm: Although Meowser is a formidable threat, his design and name are incredibly silly. The overly dramatic reveal of his fluffy, whiskered face shows that Nintendo was, at least, a little self-aware about it.
Power Up Letdown: Any Power-Up as Rosalina. Rosalina, in her Normal and even her Small forms has a spin attack that also functions as a pretty useful Double Jump. However, grabbing one of the advanced powerups (Fire Flower, Super/Lucky Bell, Tanooki Leaf, etc) erases this ability. While it is nice having an extra power (and an extra hit point), players playing as Rosalina may face of dilemma of forgoing powerups or risk losing her useful Spin Attack.
Scrappy Mechanic: While it was also a problem in the New Super Mario Bros. games, the added dimension makes the camera an even worse problem in this game when playing with multiple people. It also seems nearly random which player the camera decides to follow.
Special Effects Failure: The game makes use of some truly beautiful textures, filters, and special effects, as well as running at 60FPS, but it comes at the price of the draw distance. The Savannah levels, which are wide-open fields akin to the worlds from 64/Sunshine, suffer from glaringly obvious pop-in even at a short distance away from objects. It's a minor but very off-putting mistake in an otherwise flawless engine.
That One Boss: The second and third Motley Bossblob fights, due to him gaining a Shockwave Stomp attack that is difficult to dodge due to the many times he jumps. The Dual Boss fight against Hisstocrat and Queen Hisstocrat during Boss Blitz is difficult as well.
Grumblump Inferno, a stage that requires you to run on crystalline blocks that are like Tox Boxes you platform on, that turn on their sides over lava. Some are rectangular, forcing you to cross to the small ends at times. Granted there is a trick to beating it (don't jump, run along it as it turns). But for first timers or multi-players it's an absolute nightmare.
World Crown-Crown (Champion's Road), which definitely lives up to its name.
Any level that solely involves riding on Plessie since he's a little hard to control.
Chainlink Charge, where it is very hard to get all 3 stars without falling to your death multiple times.
Cakewalk Flip has red and blue platforms that flip with each jump you take. Not helped by the fact that there is a Ring Burner in the way of getting the 3rd Green Star in this level.
Broken Blue Bully Belt will make you wonder if the designers were on something when they were designing it.
Cosmic Cannon Cluster, due to the very difficult section of the level where you're required to bounce off cannonballs fired by a wall of cannons to reach the top.
Boss Blitz is one level where the default 500 second time limit is incredibly stingy. The Dual Boss Histocrat section is probably the worst of the lot, given its RNG elements and forced longevity.
That One Sidequest: The Five Bonus Stamps (the portraits of each playable character, including Rosalina). To unlock them, you have to clear every single level with all five characters. If you're only going for one character (such as Rosalina), then it isn't so bad... but if you plan on going for all five, then the quest becomes a living hell. Especially with Toad.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some players don't take kindly to this seemly replacing the Mario Galaxy style of gameplay and its adventurous/epic atmosphere. And others who prefer the explorational style of 64 and Sunshine aren't happy to see another console game take up the linear style.
Unexpected Character: Rosalina. Even when a trailer prior to the announcement told everyone that she was a character, it still took everyone by surprise.
Win Back the Crowd: Depending on who you ask, the game itself is an example of this.note Many people legitimately liked the New Super Mario Bros. games when they were released. When it was first announced, a lot of people were not impressed and already wrote it off due to it not being a game in the vein of Super Mario Galaxy or being "Super Mario 3D Land HD". Or New Mario Bros crossed with Mario 3D Land. But when the October 1 trailer went up, it changed a lot of people's minds about the game and restored interest to those who are/were tired of Mario platformers because of the New Super Mario Bros. series. Then the game actually came out and blew folks away with the amount of thought and creativity put into the title along with new visuals and music. It actually feels like a new game rather than a retreadnote Which some felt the New Super Mario Bros. games were with new power ups thrown in. The multiplayer aspect certainly helped as well.
The Woobie: Koopa Troopas. All of the enemies simply chase you around and are stomped by Mario but Koopa Troopas are made a lot more sympathetic. When you jump on them, they slide out of their shell and then they start frantically chasing after it. If they are unfortunate enough, you can steal or destroy their shell which causes them to stop for a second and sink their head down in sorrow. And, then, the little trooper still chases after you, despite his predicament. Avoiding to jump on them would be easier if it weren’t for the fact that you can now ride inside of their shells.