Gameplay in this game works very similar to previous Mario 3D games, although it is much more open-world, similarly to Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. The game's main hub is Mushroom Metropolis, which has a lot of features and is the main location of the game.
Gameplay works similarly to most 3D Mario games, and includes common techniques such as ground pounding, wall jumping, and backflips. A new addition to the series is Ability Cards, which have certain inscriptions on them that can give the characters temporary abilities.
Another addition to the game was gravity variation, which could be used to solve puzzles. Upon going through a gravity portal (colored green or blue depending on the pressure of the gravity), the player's gravity would change, creating a whole new gameplay. To exit gravity mode, the player would have to go through a pink de-activation portal.
A total of 5 characters are playable in the game, similarly to Super Mario 3D World. The multiplayer system is somewhat downgraded from Super Mario 3D World, now only featuring up to 3 players playing, with 2 playing the game and 1 doing Boost Mode (optional).
There are 5 playable characters within the game, with 2 being default and 3 being unlockable. Each character has stats (spread between Jump, Power, Speed, and Stamina), with each of their's total stats being 210. Each has a special ability as well.
Mario is the famous hero of the Mushroom Kingdom. Often, he has to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser. This time, he has to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser by saving the ancient Mushroom Crystal!
Mario's stats are overall very well balanced, making him perfect for beginners. He has average stats all around.
Can do a Star Spin, allowing him to gain extra height or to hit enemies.
Luigi is the overshadowed, cowardly brother of Mario. He's overall very forgotten and/or unknown compared to his famous brother, despite going on adventures with him a lot of the time. This time, he's going to put that all aside and adventure with his brother!
Luigi has a perfect jump stat, and a decent stamina stat. His power stat isn't to great, however, and his speed stat is average.
Can Scuttle Jump, allowing him to fall down slower than most characters after a jump.
Toad is the speedy friend of Mario. Toad is a notable member of his species, being a part of various games and adventures with Mario. Toad is now going to jump into a brand new adventure with his speedy tactics!
Toad has a perfect speed stat, although his stamina is average, and has a mediocre jump stat and terrible power stat.
Does not slip on ice.
Wario is normally a greedy rival of Mario's, but is going to help him keep the Mushroom Kingdom in balance this time around!
Wario has a perfect power stat, although his stamina and speed stats aren't particularly good and his jump stat is average.
Wario's ground pounds can cause small shock waves that can cause damage.
Waluigi is a good friend of Wario's and a rival to Luigi. Normally, Waluigi is off doing things benefiting him for his greedy needs, but he's decided to help the gang with saving the Mushroom Kingdom!
Waluigi's stats are good for the most part, with great jump stat and a decent speed stat, although he is rather weak and his stamina is average.