Quick Review: Super Mario 3D Land

Game: Super Mario 3D Land
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date:
Japan – November 3, 2011
North America – November 13, 2011
Europe – November 18, 2011
Australia – November 24, 2011
Platform(s): 3DS
Review Platform: 3DS
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Platforming
PEGI – 3+

I have to admit, as much as I like the 3DS, there really haven’t been many games on it until lately. Thankfully, we get games like this now. The newest Mario game has been out for awhile, but a lot of other games have come out lately. Is is worth buying for yourself or for a gift for Christmas? Let’s review, shall we?

It’s a Mario game. So it’s the normal “Bowser captures Peach, Mario has to go and save her” fare. This time, Bowser steals all the leaves off of the Tanooki tree, gives them to his minions and leaves a floating letter behind to brag to Mario. Mario gets his Italian butt into gear once again to save the day. As usual.

I love the graphics in this game. They are sort of a Super Mario Galaxy Lite look, which is far from bad. Everything looks sharp, crisp, and lively. The 3D effects (touched on in the next section) really help everything out as well. I also love the fine details in the backgrounds and random things like plants. At times it feels like this isn’t on a handheld at all.

~3D Effect~
In some 3DS games, the 3D is just there for show. You can turn it off and it’s pretty much the same game. In 3D Land, the 3D effect really helps. In gameplay, it allows you to determine distance, where you will land, etc. I turned it off once, and I found myself dying on parts that were really easy with the 3D on. It also adds little effects. In one level, there were bubbles floating around in the background, and they really popped out at you.

Ah, the classics! A lot of older music is back, espically songs from Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s nice to see them back again, a lot sounding even better then before. The new music for the game is also very well done as usual. The only annoyance I have is that a lot of the same music is used over again in a lot of levels, and the music from Galaxy seems to have just been ripped and put on without any remixing. Can’t complain too much though; it was good the first time.

The controls are very smooth and responsive. I never found myself yelling at a missed jump because of them (normally it was my own fault). I still find it annoying where they place the run button, much like they did in New Super Mario Bros., but this is just a minor irritation. The only thing the touch screen is used for in this game is to store an extra power up, and to change the camera angle for a brief time.

This is where the game really shines. Put Bros. 3, Galaxy, and New SMB into a blender, and you get this! (maybe) The game is, like everyone else says, a “2D game in 3D”. The game plays more like the older games: short levels, focused on timing of jumps and keeping good power-ups that you find. Yet, it has the 3D “flashy moves”, such as the long jump, crawl, etc., as well as elements that simply just wouldn’t work in a pure 2D game.
There are 8 worlds (in the main game), with different levels in each, ending in a Bowser Castle or an Airship. There are Toad houses where you can get power ups (they disappear after using them), as well as a new addition called Mystery Boxes. These store extra coins and star medals to help you on your quest. The thing I like about the game is that each world isn’t themed like normal Mario games are. There can be a bright, beach themed level, then the next one will be an ice one. Each level ends with a grab of the flagpole. Try to get to the top of the flagpole in every level!

The power ups and suits this time around all have very good uses. There is the standard Super Mushroom (in this game, you have a “health bar” like the 2D games, not a health meter like 3D games), and the Fire Flower. The Tanooki Suit allows you to float slowly, making jumps easier. (If you complain about no flying, think about how the game is set up. It works this way.) And the new Boomerang Suit is simular to Fire flowers only you can use the boomerang in different ways. There is also the Propeller Block that you use in certain levels. and maybe a secret suit…

I do have a slight complaint about the gameplay. If you die 5 times in a level, a box pops up. If you hit this, you gain a White Tanooki suit that is pretty much like an endless Star Power. While I know it is there for gamers who may have a hard time playing the game, it feels like an easy way out (since you can get the Star Coins with this as well).

~ Length and Replay ~
The main game, for veteran players, may feel a bit short. Levels seem easy, and you can get though the game fast. Or did you? The “aftergame” is even longer and well worth it. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s very well done.

Every level have 3 Star Coins you can collect. To get farther in the game, you need to collect at least a few of these. Getting all the Star Coins adds more difficulty to your gameplay.

To sum up, Super Mario 3D Land is a very fun, slightly challenging, and surprisingly fresh game. If you are looking to pick up a game for the holidays, don’t pass this by!

Rating: 9.5/10

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