Here we have probably the most important launch the 3DS has seen yet. The 3D handheld has been on shelves for quite a while and gamers have been yearning for an original experience for their brand new device. Super Mario 3D Land needed to be a knock out of the park convincing everyone this is why you buy a 3DS, and I feel they have succeeded. Mario 3D Land might have started slow, but this platformer really surprised me with how deep and creative Nintendo can still be with 2D levels. Super Mario 3D Land should be on everyone’s watch list who have the 3DS or are looking to purchase one.
This game is a little hard to explain because it is a 2D sidescroller but opens up to 3D areas for Mario to explore. The camera is always fixed which is nice for those burned out having to babysit poor cameras in Mario games; this isn’t an issue here. The camera will actually re-position itself multiple times throughout a level in which you might not ever notice. Once you get going, you enter a familiar style of game that constantly rewards you with new challenges and interesting level design. Nintendo did a really great job with varying up the difficulty, although I will say it is a slow burn. The first several worlds I seemed to breeze through, which still bring their own enjoyment, yet I felt like the challenge wasn’t there. Don’t worry though, it ramps up in the later stages and really brings some demanding levels once you beat the game. Yes, the game has a whole new set of levels once you complete Super Mario 3D Land, another eight worlds.
Each of these worlds though only contain between 4-5 levels with an end level where the boss is located. These worlds fly by quick which was a disappointment at first until I discovered the “end” of the game was basically the middle. The boss battles are a little disappointing, only a couple different ones, but shouldn’t detest what is ultimately a fantastic Mario game. I especially liked the fights with Bowser that are a throwback to classic games in the series.
Mario games are known for having various suits and power-ups that change the game up. Your typical Mario powers are represented like the fire flower but this game also marks the return of the Tanooki Tail, which is one of the same powers that was used in Super Mario Bros. 3. While you can’t exactly fly with this power-up, you can hover for a couple seconds which makes this game much easier when in your possession. I relied on this entirely too much until I decided to scale back the use of it which makes the game more challenging.
This Mario game might be ripe with a classic formula yet Nintendo keeps the game bursting with newness. The level design is what sets Mario side-scrollers apart from its competitors. Nintendo creates these interesting levels that you complete in a couple minutes and invariably pump new ideas into them that are addicting and hard to put down. Do take breaks though, because my hand would occasionally cramp from the way I held the 3DS.
Gamers who have trouble viewing 3D images have nothing to worry about with Super Mario 3D Land. It only is useful in a couple of levels but never required. That being said, I played the entire game with the 3D on. It makes the game “pop” with it’s beautifully artistic worlds. Some of the levels are really great to look at, especially when Mario goes cliff diving and plummets, which is satisfying when you line up to stomp out an enemy.
This is classic side-scrolling goodness. Mario games do a great job balancing a general difficulty yet making you feel rewarded by overcoming some of it’s brutal challenges. These games are designed to be played in shorter spurts; once I would die several times in a level I would force myself to walk away. I would then come back and had next to no problems completing the same part I was stuck on. Most gamers have typically played a Mario game so figuring out if this series appeals to you is easy. I will say though I play about every Mario game that comes out and still tend to find this series refreshing.
The Nintendo 3DS has had a slow start, but I feel this marks one of the first important games to come out on this system. I can’t say it’s a must buy, but is really close for those who have already picked up a 3DS. The amount of content in this game along with the varying degree of gameplay makes this one of the best Mario games I’ve played in a while.