Jigsaw Combo Review: Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Collector’s Puzzles


Listen up, fellow jigsaw geeks–there are new puzzles to assemble!

USAopoly has followed up on its fantastic Legend of Zelda Hyrule world map puzzle from last year with a fresh pair of licensed Nintendo jigsaws based on two of the most highly regarded titles from the Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda franchises. Sadly, video game themed jigsaw releases are few and far between, so having two new ones to pick from at the same time is kind of a huge deal if you’re as much of a fiend for putting together puzzles as I am.

Both puzzles consist of 550 pieces and share the same dimensions, only the Super Mario Bros. 3 puzzle is a 24″ x 18″ landscape orientation compared to the 18″ x 24″ portrait format of the Wind Waker puzzle. The pieces are somewhere in the ballpark of an inch, an average size that makes assembly accessible to most age groups. Anyone 10 years old and up should be good to go, though naturally completion time will vary for everyone. Averaging I would say an hour a day, each puzzle took me about a week to finish, and I like to think I’m a pretty good jigsaw piecer-togetherer.


The Wind Waker puzzle is the easiest of the two as the color patterns and distinct border lines are easier to sort and systematically progress from the edge pieces to the center. On the Super Mario Bros. 3 puzzle the checkered bottom third is a tricky challenge. Trying to sort through a bunch of same-looking black and white pieces and match them up based primarily on the subtle angle and thickness differences of the squares is no easy task. Though not to the same extent, filling in the stampeding Koopalings on the left side requires keen observation since their turtle bodies are all similar. You really have to pick up on their unique hairstyles, teeth patterns, and wand colors, which is harder than it sounds when you’re dealing with small jigsaw pieces.

Once completed, both puzzles show themselves to be worthy of sealing and hanging, that is if you’re into immortalizing your jigsaw achievements as framed wall art for your geek cave. The Wind Waker puzzle is a glorious stained glass window depiction of Link battling the Helmaroc King over the Great Sea. The vivid colors, especially in the Helmaroc King’s splendiferous plumage, are so visually arresting once the puzzle is whole. You’ll feel like you’re going to the Church of Zelda putting this one together. Unless, of course, you aren’t a fan of Wind Waker‘s toon-shaded art style, and in that case, as Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank would say, you’re dead to me.

And what’s not to love about the Super Mario Bros. 3 puzzle? Mario’s front and center, looking all happy-go-lucky in his raccoon getup despite being angrily pursued by Bowser and the Koopalings. He’s obviously having a blast soaring through the air, while Luigi frets as only Luigi can as the Italian plumber bro actually doing the hard work leading Princess Peach and Toad away from the Castle of Koopa. Colorful and expressive, the image perfectly conveys the Mushroom Kingdom charm of the Mario universe.

USAopoly’s other Nintendo puzzles have been based on more modern games like Mario Kart 8, New Super Mario Bros. U, and Super Mario Galaxy, so it’s nice to get a throwback to the retro 2D classics for a change. Hopefully from here they’ll also begin to branch out beyond Mario and Zelda to other franchises like Donkey Kong, Kirby, Metroid, and Super Smash Bros. I’d be down for some Chibi-Robo, Fire Emblem, and Pikmin jigsaw love as well, but those series just don’t have the same broad appeal.


USAopoly’s Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker puzzles are great on so many levels. Obviously they’re perfect for gaming collectors and Nintendo fans. Their charming, colorful imagery and mid-level complexity should appeal to adults and kids alike. For only $10 a pop, they’re also a cheap form of brain- and vision-exercising entertainment with more value than going to a movie or buying a full price video game, especially this time of year when you’re probably looking for indoor activities away from the summer heat that won’t break the bank.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker is currently available at Amazon.com and GameStop. However, I’m not exactly sure about the status of the Super Mario Bros. 3 puzzle. The only retail listing I can find is on Amazon, but for some reason it’s selling way overpriced at $50. The USAopoly page still lists it as coming soon, so my only guess is that it has not yet been widely released to retailers. I’ll update this review if I’m able to dig up any more specific information regarding availability. [Update] I’m told by USAopoly that the Super Mario Bros. 3 puzzle is currently available as an in-store only product from GameStop, Kmart, and some other specialty game/toy stores.

Disclosure: Retail samples of the Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker collector’s puzzles were provided to VGBlogger.com by USAopoly for review purposes.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!