It introduces a new gameplay feature - Ability Panels.
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Bowser is sitting in his castle, very depressed over why he has tried to defeat Mario so many times but can't manage to do so. He confers with Bowser Jr. on what he should do. His son proposes that they invade the Mushroom Kingdom once more, but he has a new idea. Each enemy is only so powerful with its own abilities - what if they shared their abilities? They dream up the concept of Ability Panels from this and send the Koopa army through the Mushroom Kingdom.
They arrive at Peach's Castle for approximately the fifteenth time and kidnap Princess Peach once more while Mario sits and watches. He, Luigi, Toad, and Toadette decide to not stand for this and decide to find out the secrets of Bowser's success. They discover the Ability Panels and find out that they will be able to use them as well, prompting their adventure's begin.
Super Mario: Panel Panic will feature gameplay similar to Super Mario 3D World. The stages will be 3D and a little more open-world but still quite linear. There will be twelve worlds like in the original game, but there will be nine story worlds instead of eight, and only three secret worlds. Power Stars will also be the collectible instead of having to touch flagpoles.
The gameplay will be a little changed up. The mixed-items will no longer appear, but many items from the Mario series will appear to function with the Ability Panels. Speaking of which, finding them will work differently. Panels are found on walls and can be broken by using new items called Super Hammers. The walls, which are labeled, will show the panel.
Once picked up, each panel is kept, but once Mario collects more than four, he has to choose one to discard. This adds strategic planning to levels, as some will require four different panels to complete. Panels can be activated at any time during the game and are used by pressing either the up, down, left, or right arrows on the GamePad. They can work with power-ups in creative ways. There will also be four playable characters.
The world map will function like Super Mario 3D World, but instead of clear pipes, the map will be a little more interconnected, like in New Super Mario Bros. U. When a player approaches a level, the necessary panels will appear along with Green Stars, which will make a return from Super Mario 3D World, and the characters the player has beat the level as along with whether the player has collected the Power Star for the level.
|World 1||This is a quiet grassland world, with not much happening. Goombas reign supreme in this land, along with Koopa Troopas, and the basic types of Ability Panels are introduced. The boss is Goomboss.|
|World 2||A desert world where there are a lot of interesting occurences, such as twisters, quicksand, dunes, and a lot more features. A few levels even have exploration of ruins! The boss is TBA.|
|Koopa Troopa Panel: This panel allows the player to turn into a shell-like form, like the Blue Shell in New Super Mario Bros. They can use it to break bricks and kill enemies.|
|Piranha Plant Panel: This allows the player to transform into a Piranha Plant, although they are still mobile. They can chop up enemies just like using the Potted Piranha Plant.|
|Magikoopa Panel: The panel allows the player to use magic to attack enemies. Each blast has the effect of a Fire Flower.|
|Boo Panel: The panel works similarly to a Boo Mushroom in that it allows the player to go through walls. They can also go through enemies, but the player cannot touch any light source.|
|Lakitu Panel: This panel allows the player to take on a cloud briefly, similarly to the Cloud Flower, and drop Spinies on the course below. Some can be used strategically.|
|Dry Bones Panel: This panel allows the player to become a skeleton of themselves, which may not seem like much, but in places such as castles and towers, this panel can be helpful to traverse lava.|
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