Super Mario 3D Land Review (3DS)
The original Super Mario Bros was a seminal game. Not only did it spawn a legion of sequels, but it also catapulted the Mario franchise into the stratosphere in terms of popularity. It also happened to be the inception of my (and many others) life long Mario habit and still holds a very special place in my heart.
And though I’ve played many of the sequels, most of them diverged wildly from the original, expanding the world of Mario in many new and interesting directions.
All good things, but it does make me appreciate Super Mario 3D Land, as few games have evoked as much nostalgia for the original. 3D Land managed to capture the simplicity of the original Mario, with straightforward and short, yet interesting and challenging levels, simple graphics and minimalist backgrounds. But like all great sequels/remakes, Super Mario 3D Land doesn’t forget about progress and includes many of the features found in modern Mario games.
What I liked:
-It is simple, but not easy
While I use the word simple freely enough, I do not intend to imply easy. Though the levels do lean toward minimalist, they contain plenty of challenge and ramp up in difficulty quite nicely. There is still plenty of instant death, with the usual time limit and one save point halfway through, which make most levels require multiple attempts to complete.
But Nintendo doesn’t leave anyone in a lurch, lots of help is made available. If a level is failed five times an Invincibility Leaf assist block appears. This handy item turns Mario isn’t an impervious Tanooki. Though safe from monsters and fire, Invincibly Leaf does not save you from jumping to your death.
At ten failed attempts on a level the P-Wing assist block appears, which lets you simply fly over the entire experience. =)
The best thing about both of these is that they are optional. It is entirely feasible to simply ignore them and forge on ahead, which I did quite often, but was still so very happy to have these as back up.
-3d is not required
The game is in 3D but doesn’t require it. There are a few (very few) sections that benefit from having it turned on, but since the 3D made me feel a little lightheaded I played most of the game with it turned off.
This game is huge. It is actually twice as big as I expected since after completing the basic eight worlds, eight new secret worlds are reveled. Oh and Luigi is unlocked. But beware, no help is forthcoming in the secret levels. Make sure to stock up on lives!
What I didn’t like:
-Rescuing Peach again?
When does Princess Peach put on some pants and start kicking ass instead of always being the victim?
Judging distances in 3D worlds has always been challenging and since I played this game mostly in 2D I suffered from often missing my target due to misreading distances.
Though the game has one save slot for powerups, I would have liked to have a few more, but then there might never be enough powerup storage for my taste. =P
-Impossible to find coins
I tend toward the completionist gamer. In this case it means that I try quite vigorously to gather the three available star coins in each level. Most of them are fairly findable given a bit of effort, but there are those select few that I could not find without getting help online. The ‘how the hell was I supposed to know that’ stars. =/
Would I live there?
Oh heavens no. The only female characters in this world are princesses and they all seem to be rather useless. Maybe if I could chose to be a dragon turtle (isn’t that what Bowser is?)
Four of Five Mushrooms. Though nostalgia certainly added to my enjoyment of the game, its undeniable that Super Mario 3D Land is a fabulous 3D Puzzle Jumper. With its simplistic design and clever puzzles, Super Mario 3D has clearly benefited from Nintendo’s 20 years of Mario game design experience.
What do you think? Has Mario’s evolution been successful? Will Mario ever go out of style?