Super Mario 3D Land Review
An amazing blend of 2D and 3D platforming.
The Nintendo 3DS has several great titles out for it already, such as Ocarina of Time 3D and Starfox 64 3D, but it still lacks an original game that offers an experience you can’t find elsewhere. Super Mario 3D Land comes in to fill that gap as it’s a core Super Mario game that combines the great 3D Platforming of the Galaxy series with the more retro 2D side-scrolling of the previous iterations in the franchise. Early previews of the game showed us that the game was promising, and I was quite positively overwhelmed by the final product. Simply put Super Mario 3D Land brings the best of 2D and 3D Platforming into one outstanding package.
As with every Mario game, the story is the same old routine. Mario finds out after a stormy night that Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser. This leads to Mario immediately following the trails left by Princess Peach in order reach where she is being held captive and save her. Throughout the journey you will go through a series of world and levels that vary in both the enemies fought as well as design and feel.
While many other games before it simply used 3D as an aesthetic, Super Mario 3D Land incorporates the 3D effect to the core of the game. The game is made from the ground up with 3D in mind and hence does a fantastic job of giving you a reason to have that 3D slider up. For the most part the levels are designed in a mixture of 2D side-scrolling and 3D Platforming. There are however certain puzzles that can only be done with 3D effect on as it’s needed to solve them correctly. This huge emphasis on 3D is great and even though I don’t usually game on the 3DS with the 3D always on, I found myself enjoying it quite a lot.
There are 8 worlds in total in the game with each usually having 5-6 levels with a boss level in the end. The amount of diversity in both level design and level visuals is brilliant and you never seem to feel that the levels are repetitive as each world and level offers new ideas. While the levels are shorter compared to other Super Mario titles they have a lot of depth in them and you often find yourself coming back to get all 3 hidden golden stars and exploring parts of the levels you missed. On the other hand boss battles in the game feel extremely repetitive as it just seems to be fighting the same bosses over and over again each time you complete the world. This doesn’t redact a lot from the game but it would have been nice to see a much more diverse array of ways to fight bosses throughout the game.
As you play through the various levels in the game Mario can get a variety of power-ups that help you along the way. For example, the Tanooki suit gives Mario the ability to glide after jumping as well as a spin attack on the ground while Boomerang suit enables Mario to throw boomerangs at his enemies. These different power-ups enhance the gameplay experience as they feel quite diverse from each other while offering a unique way to approach the level.
Completing the game takes around 6 hours and once done there are still optional levels to unlock and Golden Stars to collect. You also unlock Luigi as a 2nd character to play as after you finish the game which you can use to play any level in the game. Super Mario 3D Land also supports Street Pass which when turned on enables you to share different hidden items with other people as well as play against them or with them in a series of challenges. This addition does offer a new way of playing the game and could be quite fun if you know someone who also owns the game.
Nintendo did quite an amazing job with Super Mario 3D Land by making an excellent title that is tailor made specifically to use the capabilities that the 3DS provides. Impeccable use of 3D, brilliant level design and diverse environments and stages are all reasons why the game is such an enjoyable experience. Super Mario 3D Land is a highly recommended purchase for any 3DS user out there and a great incentive for new users to join in on the fun.