Published on February 28th, 2012 | by octaneblue4
Review: Super Mario 3D Land
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo, Brownie Brown
Release Date: November 13, 2011
The Nintendo 3DS had a shaky launch primarily because the lack of very few noteworthy titles available at the time. It was hard pressed to recommend its purchase right away. However, with several quality titles on the way, early adopters had some hope for their new 3DS systems. One of those titles was a new Super Mario title, Super Mario 3D Land, released in November 2011. This brand-new adventure combines elements from past titles with some from more recent ones: the result is the first must-own title on the Nintendo 3DS!
In Super Mario 3D Land, Princess Peach is once again captured by Bowser, and it’s up to Mario to set out on an adventure through various worlds to rescue her. It’s the same basic story formula that populates many Mario titles, but the story here isn’t really that important – it’s the gameplay that matters, and Super Mario 3D Land most certainly delivers on that front.
The gameplay can best be described as a combination of the New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy titles. Mario will be running around many levels that are reminiscent of the galaxies from the latter title, but there are plenty of 2D sections very similar to the former games as well. For each of the levels, you will go from the starting point to the end, which is indicated by the classic flagpole. Not surprisingly, along the way, Mario will have to deal with various enemies and obstacles to obscure his path to the end. And just like past Mario titles, there are items to collect to assist with getting through the levels. Classic items such as the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman are found in the game, with a noteworthy return of the Tanooki Suit from Super Mario Bros. 3. Grabbing a Tanooki Leaf changes Mario into the aforementioned suit. With it, Mario can whack enemies with his tail, and float down slowly to ease descents.
Super Mario 3D Land is easily one of the most gorgeous-looking games on the 3DS. and it is definitely a premiere title to show of the handheld’s power. The game also makes the best use of the 3D feature thus far. For instance, there are puzzle sections in which you’ll guide Mario through a maze that is ripped right from an M.C. Escher picture. The 3D helps guide you through to the goal. Also noteworthy are sections in certain levels in which Mario will fall from an extreme height to land on a platform. Playing these parts with the 3D on is really exhilarating, and you can get an accurate perception of where Mario is going to land. Of course, the entire game can be played with the 3D turned off, but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you go with that route. The game also features some great tunes as you’re playing, with some tunes being remixes of tracks from past Mario titles that longtime fans will certainly recognize and appreciate.
Veterans may not have too much difficulty with a large majority of the levels here. Yes, there are some rather difficult ones encountered, but if one has gone through games like Super Mario Bros. 3, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the Super Mario Galaxy titles, Super Mario 3D Land may not seem too difficult. Nevertheless, there is so much fun to be had here. The game is certainly appealing for newcomers as well. Super Mario 3D Land does not feature a multiplayer mode. While the gameplay would make it somewhat awkward for a co-op mode, a nice little multiplayer distraction, similar to the minigames in Super Mario 64 DS would have been a nice addition. The games does, however, support the StreetPass function, which exchanges course completion times, items, and Star Medals from nearby 3DS systems of owners of the game.
Early adopters of the Nintendo 3DS had to wait some time for a game of this caliber, but the wait was absolutely worth it. Super Mario 3D Land makes fantastic use of all of the features of the 3DS. And with the engaging combination of 2D and 3D gameplay, mixed with neat level design, beautiful graphics, and a good amount of replay value, Super Mario 3D Land is a highly recommended 3DS adventure.
+ Great gameplay
+ Fantastic use of 3D
+ Nice amount of replay value
– Lack of variety of bosses
– May be somewhat on the easy side for longtime players
– No multiplayer mode
Score: 4.75 out of 5