Date Completed: 5/6/2012
The 3DS is looking a lot better than it did a year ago. Several firmware patches have added functionality that was unforgivably missing at launch and the game lineup finally has several hit titles. Super Mario 3D Land is Mario’s first outing on the system and if Mario based platforming is your thing this game delivers.
The game follows the traditional tried-and-true Mario formula. The princess is kidnapped by Bowser, Mario must traverse through 8 worlds to the final confrontation with bowser where his jumping over stuff skills will land him the babe.
The biggest difference in gameplay I noticed from previous Mario titles is the re-introduction of tails. Similar to Super Mario 3, Mario can get a Raccoon tail upgrade, but it doesn’t stop with Mario. It appears that everything else in the Mushroom kingdom also get a tail upgrade. Everything from Goombas to Ghosts to Trees can be seen sporting a raccoon tail upgrade. For a fan of Super Mario Bros. 3 this is a dream come true.
The 3D effect is used to maximal effect in this game. Many areas in the game would be extremely difficult to play without 3D. There are many sections where Mario is descending vertically with the camera placed above him. Multiple areas have large projectiles being shot at Mario that must be avoided and having that extra sense of depth is almost necessary. There are also several corridors to run down that look amazing. This is the first game I’ve played on the 3DS where 3D actually helped gameplay.
The game isn’t without its problems. The levels are short – about 2 minutes each. I was able to beat an entire world while my wife took a quick bath. I understand that the game is meant to be portable, but I would have liked longer levels with state saves much more than tiny, bite sized levels. The other big issue I had is that the game was easy. I rarely died except when my view was obscured by a crummy camera viewpoint or when I accidentally ran off the level. Much of the game is presented in a hybrid 2D/3D perspective and using the 3DS analog to run in a straight line can be frustrating.
Overall I enjoyed the game and I recommend it. There is a second quest and bonus content that offers additional play time beyond the main game quest. I’m not getting into that right now ( Thanks to the kids my gaming backlog is unbelievably long) but next time I’m on a plane I’ll probably bring the game with me.
- Excellent use of 3D level design
- Return of elements from Super Mario 3
- Quick and Easy
Is it fun: Yes
Length: ~4 hours (Main quest only)
System: Nintendo 3DS
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