Super Mario 3D Land is the first title to be touted as a killer app for the young Nintendo 3DS. For months now the best the system has had to offer was rehashes of games found on other systems like Super Street Fighter IV and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time which while are still solid games after making the transition to the handheld system they are far from being an original game. The Super Mario Land series was big hit with all three of its installments on the original Gameboy with each being even better than the last. Does the Super Mario 3D Land continue this great tradition of giving gamers on the go their fix of Mario platforming or does Mario fall short this time?
Super Mario 3D Land is different yet familiar from other Mario outings that have come out before it. There are inspirations from both 3D and 2D Mario games alike to create a fun fusion of both types of games in one package. This might start to sound like I’m describing New Super Mario Bros but this game takes far more queues from 3D Mario games where New Super Mario Bros just takes bits and pieces here and there to make a 2D Mario game with some borrowed elements from the 3d games like wall jumps and ground pounds. It’s shares a lot more with Super Mario 64 than NSMB where you’re in a full 3d world with 360 degrees of control. You can’t however use the analog stick to control what speed you’re walking or running at. In a normal 3d Mario the analog is sensitive to how far it’s being pressed in a direction instead here you only walk or you can hold down X or Y to run, there’s nowhere in between. While I would have preferred most sensitive movements it does work and probably is easier to pick up for people are more used to classic Mario games. Since X or Y is to run you can probably imagine that A and B is to jump completing the classic Mario control scheme. The only non-2d game control would be L and R where you’ll duck like in Super Mario 64 to do backflip or long jump forward. That aside if you’ve played Super Mario Bros 3, you can play this game. Speaking of Super Mario Bros 3, this is where a lot of the inspiration for the game seems to have come from. You’ve got the Raccoon Mario, Fire Mario, a Boomerang Mario that reminds me a lot of Hammer Mario and the Tanooki Mario, from Super Mario Bros 3 power ups. The Raccoon Suit is fun to float around the levels using your tail; the fireballs however can be a tad hard to aim. To add to that a lot of the level design feels like recreations of levels you might have seen in Super Mario Bros 3. Most worlds end with an airship that’s exactly like the ones found in Super Mario Bros 3. In essence it’s a portable 3D Mario Bros 3, which definitely invokes that retro feel while at the same time feeling totally new. The goal posts are the same as the ones in New Super Mario Bros along with the extra power ups you collect that you access anytime time from the touch screen. Overall it’s quite a mix of new and old will satisfy the appetite for anybody looking for either.
The story is as basic as Mario games can be, Bowser has kidnapped the princess and it’s up to you to save her. You go through 8 worlds of about 5-6 levels each. A lot of the levels are like I said, throwbacks to Super Mario Bros 3 and other Mario Bros games. The level design is fun and will throw some new twists with the classic Mario Bros game feel in a 3d world. The first time you play them the game it won’t be all that hard, if you fail the level a couple times, a random power up will spawn at the start, lose a few more and you’ll get an invisible Raccoon Mario suit and then if you’re still dying you’ll have the option to teleport directly to the end of the level. While all these helpers are optional they do make sure that anyone can beat the game. Lives are plentiful and you should have no trouble accumulating them to get a large number of lives quickly. The real challenge only starts after you’ve beat the game for the first time, after that you gain access to the special levels. The special levels are versions of the original game that’s harder than the first time around. All the helpers that would get you to end of the level are gone and it’s up to you to make it on your own skill. The difference would be akin playing Super Mario Bros and then playing the much harder and not originally released in North America game The Lost Words (or Super Mario Bros 2 in Japan). In fact the evil mushroom that takes you down power up instead of up from that game is even in the Special Mode. The Special mode has to be my favorite part of the game as all the levels are shuffled up, with added enemies, obstacles and sometimes you’re even just given 30 seconds to complete a level where you must collect 10 second time increases to finish the level with the time given. I had plenty of incentive to play the harder version of the game and had even more fun than my first time through.
The graphics look great in the normal 3D mode probably on par with maybe Super Mario Sunshine when it comes down to the graphics. You watch the action from a fixed isometric view, while you can move the camera around a little bit with the D-Pad or touchscreen controls it’s mostly for show and doesn’t really help much. Thankfully the levels are designed with the isometric view in mind so it works out. Mario looks great and just as much details has been put into the enemies and the levels backgrounds. Since this is a 3DS game obviously there is a 3D mode, while it can be cool at times its rarely that useful and simply a gimmick when you want to check out game with the obligatory 3D mode .The music also brings a great level of nostalgia with remakes of plenty of songs from older Mario games to give this 3D game even more retro appeal, if you’ve played Mario games before then listening to some the songs will definitely bring back memories with these awesome new takes on the songs.
Super Mario 3D Land is easily the best 3DS game on the market today. The blend of old and new create a great game that offers something new to table while at the same time bringing a lot of memories. Instead of games like Mega Man 10 this brings the series forward while embracing the past bringing new experience in a year full of sequels that do nothing to add from the games before it. While this may not be a singular reason to buy a 3DS there is no reason to not get it if you already have one.
Click here to buy Super Mario 3D Land online from EBgames.com
Click here to buy Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS New or Used for a great price from EBGames.com