Following the feline-filled debut trailer of Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo presented an in-depth tour of the game behind closed doors at E3 2013. Game Rant got a chance to play through several of the new levels and try out some of the new gameplay elements of Super Mario 3D World. Read on to find out more about the upcoming Wii U exclusive.

Much like previous Mario games, each character comes with their own unique attributes. Mario is an evenly skilled all-around character, while Luigi can jump higher, Peach can use her dress to float for longer durations, and Toad is a faster character with a shorter jump. 3D World marks the first time a 3D Mario title has offered co-operative gameplay (or competitive, if that’s how you roll), though it feels much more similar to the Wii’s Super Mario Brothers as opposed to something like Super Mario 64. Gamers who fall behind off-screen will once again return to the action via bubble, and can shake their controllers to give their return to action more haste.

Super Mario 3D World Preview

The Wii U Gamepad takes on a much less prominent role than it did in Super Mario Bros U, and gamers playing from it will feel much more like a traditional Mario Bros player than they will a platform-spawning messiah. Instead, players can poke areas of the world from the gamepad’s touchscreen in the off-chance they’ll uncover hidden secrets, but that’s as far as the GamePad will differ from a regular controller.

The main new feature of the game is the adorable-as-dickens Cat Suit, which allows players to go on all fours and move around as cats. The cat-suited characters move around at a faster pace and can use their claws to scale high vertical cliffs which are otherwise insurmountable. Lingering on the cliffs too long will make the player lose their footing, and the resulting claw-aided slide down the cliff is adorable. Players transformed into cat mode can also perform a pounce-and-roll attack at nearby enemies, making it more of a practical transformation instead of just a map-exploration bonus.

E3 2013 Nintendo Showcase Cat Ears Mario Yoshiaki Koizumi Koichi Hayashida

Yoshiaki Koizumi & Koichi Hayashida show off Cat Ears Mario

On another level we tried, players are required to work in tandem as they ride a giant Yoshi down a treacherous river. All the players must press the same direction at the same time to make Yoshi begin turning left or right, encouraging vocal communication between players and leading to many moments where one second of better communication could have earned them a red star or a secret path. The level was unique and stood out, but it also felt much shorter than the rest.

Hopefully the full game will include a large number of these more varied stages. Given the track record of previous Mario titles, it’s likely this will be the case. At the end of each level, the high scores are tallied and players may proceed to the next world or replay older levels.

Super Mario 3D World Gameplay

While the gameplay is fun, Super Mario 3D World may leave some fans feeling like it’s a game which was originally meant as 3DS sequel to the similarly titled Super Mario 3D Land, but was brought to the Wii U to help aid a console in need of more quality content and multiplayer options. While the game doesn’t seem like it will steer the series in any bold new directions, it should provide plenty of quality entertainment for a group of friends while Nintendo invariably works on a more game-changing Mario┬átitles in the background.

Super Mario 3D World is set for release exclusively on Wii U this December 2013.

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