Super Mario Bros. 3 brought the franchise back to the basics of the original Super Mario Bros. However, it also added some elements that change up gameplay and some that would become staples of the franchise.
Super Mario Bros. 2 was a Super Mario reskin of a different game, Dream Factory '87: Doki Doki Panic. Because of this, a lot of Super Mario elements were included, but the core gameplay was very different than the games that came before.
Super Mario Bros. 3 keeps some of the enemies from Super Mario Bros. 2, but enemies are not defeated by grabbing objects and throwing them. It's back to the jump-and-stomp method of the original Super Mario Bros.
The game also keeps all of the familiar elements from the original game including blocks, coins, growth mushrooms, fireball fireflowers, 1-UP extra life mushrooms, and invincibility starmen. However, it adds a lot more abilities, through suits Mario and Luigi can wear.
The most common new powerup is a leaf, which will turn the player into a raccoon. By running until a power bar fills up, leaping into the sky, and mashing the B button, the player can take to the air until the power meter runs down, at which point the player dropping rate can be decreased by mashing the B button to slowly ascend. A P-Wing power-up gives the player the ability to stay in the air through an entire level. The tanooki suit allows the player to have all the flying powers of the leaf, however, by holding the down button, the player can also turn into a statue. As a statue, enemies will walk right past you without doing harm.
There is also a frog suit for easier swimming and a suit that will let you fling hammers like a hammer brother and duck to deflect projectiles. Finally, if you step on the goomba in a shoe you can hop in the shoe and use it to hop over obstacles onto which you normally can't step.
This game brings in the Koopalings that guard each level, with Bowser, King of the Koopa guarding the final castle. Each level is now represented by a map, and sometimes you can skip certain levels or head a different way.
The map in this game and the large amounts of powerups make it a great game. The fun levels and final bosses make it memorable. All of this combines to make one of the best games in the Super Mario series.
Addendum January 28, 2023: I forgot about the alternate versions. Super Mario All-Stars for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System includes an enhanced remake of Super Mario Bros. 3 with enhanced graphics, on par with those in Super Mario World, enhanced sound, and enhanced music.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 on the Game Boy Advance is an enhanced remake based on the Super Mario All-Stars version, however, it has limited voice acting. It also has lighter colors than the Super Mario Bros. 3 in Super Mario All-Stars so that it is easily visible on the original Game Boy Advance, which didn't have a backlight.
There is also an arcade version for the PlayChoice-10. This version is identical to the NES version, except there is a time limit in place where the game will quit when time runs out.
5 out of 5