NEWS_Mario 3D

Review: Super Mario 3D Land

Review: Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo 3DS):

Super Mario is Nintendo’s best known and most played franchise ever made. You could always rely on the Italian plumber to have the time of your life. Year after year Nintendo released a new adventure but after a while Mario got divided into two different worlds. The 2D platform games such as New Super Mario on Wii and the 3D platform games such as both the Mario Galaxy games. Super Mario 3D Land for Nintendo 3DS takes the best out of these two worlds and combines it into a whole new and unique experience.

It’s safe to say that Super Mario 3D Land is the child of Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros. Although the game is very unique in its own way, it has inherited some characteristics form both its parents.

First of all Super Mario 3D Land is more like a 2D side-scrolling platform game than it’s a 3D game like Super Mario Galaxy. The reason for this is that the game just isn’t that big and it follows the world map-style HUB that NSMB also used. Each level you play is a different spot on map and the next level only unlocks after you finished the previous one. Something you’ll notice immediately is that Nintendo ditched the different themes for the different worlds. This time each level in each world will have its own theme. Therefor the game feels more like Super Mario Galaxy because you’ll have a lot of variation between the levels. One time you could dive into the ocean and the next time you could be floating on clouds. It’s all possible in this magical 3D land.

Although this variation keeps the game fresh, the levels still remain rather small. For those who expected to find levels that could compete with the ones from Mario Galaxy will be disappointed. The levels are smaller than usual and that’s a bit of a shame. Because they’re so small, you’ll progress very fast and you’ll see the end of each level faster than you would hope for. Nintendo tried to compensate this by making the levels unique and thrilling each in their own way. The real question however is, did they succeed?

I must admit that they certainly did succeed. The level design is one of the best found in a Mario game. Because the game is released on a 3D handheld, the developers went crazy playing with the 3D effect. This results in one of the most innovating levels ever. For the first time a lot of the levels will take advantage of heights and depts. When you’re flying, using a helicopter block, you’ll notice it’s a long way down for example. The 3D effect is also very helpful to estimate the distance towards an enemy or question block. Therefor you’ll perform better placed jumps because you can really see how far an item or enemy is removed from yourself.

Last but not least the 3D graphics can also create fun optical illusions. If you play the game in 2D for example you’ll sometimes notice a question block that you couldn’t reach whatever you did. If you switch on the 3D effect you’ll see that the block hovered over another block and you needed to jump in the other direction. The game is full of those little Easter eggs that can only be seen when you flip the 3D effect on.

But does that make the game playable in 2D as well? As many of you know, the 3D effect is often turned off after a while of playing, a lot of gamers will play this Mario in 2D. But that’s nothing to worry about. The game is perfectly playable in 2D and you’ll be able to finish the entire game without the use of the 3D effect. Of course you’ll miss out on a several hidden 3D effect but you don’t need those to complete the game

With or without the 3D effect, Super Mario 3D Land is without a doubt one of the most beautiful games ever released on Nintendo 3DS thus far. The game looks very bright and runs very fluently. It has a look similar to the Mario Galaxy games and that’s definitely a compliment for a handheld game. We can’t complain about the looks nor can we complain about the controls.

The reason why Mario remained king of the platform games all this years are the controls. The controls are very precise and that’s exactly what you’ll need in a game like this. When you make a jump, you’ll have to know where you’ll land. The controls are made to give the gamers the fun they’re looking for without getting frustrated when Mario didn’t responded the way they wanted to. We sure can’t complain about this segment in the game.

But, we must admit that not everything turns out to be perfect in this game. The game first of all is way too easy. A reason for that is without a doubt the Tanooki suit’s comeback. This famous suit gives you the ability to transform into a little raccoon. Using your tail you’ll be able to swipe enemies off the ground or the float for a limited time in the air. It’s this floating that makes the game more easy than ever before. You can easily float your way over obstacles and enemies and reach the finish line without a sweat. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the Tanooki suit was rare to find but in this game it’s literally everywhere.

You’ll find the suit in every level and even the enemies have raccoon tales. If we take a look at the story, it make sense why you’ll find those super leafs everywhere but it’s a bit of a shame really. It feels more like Nintendo overused the Tanooki suit. After a few levels you won’t be surprised to find a super leaf and that’s too bad. Because those leafs are everywhere, the magic of finding them is completely lost in this game.

Does Mario have other suits to compensate this? There is one extra suit that gives you the ability to throw boomerangs, it’s a nice addition but one new suit isn’t really something you’d expect to find in a Mario game.

A first sight the game isn’t that good after all, the levels are far too easy, there aren’t much upgrades and if you fail a level too much, you’ll have the ability to use a special item. This item will take you to the finish line straight away. More experienced gamers will reach the end of World 8 very fast. So this was it? That’s really the end of the game? Lucky for you, it isn’t the end of the game…. Yet.

After you finish World 8, Nintendo included a little surprise for the more experienced gamers. I won’t go into details on this one, I don’t want to spoil the moment but let’s say you’ll have a chance to prove your skills once more. You’ll unlock something that will give you a lot more challenges and enemies to face. Because of this you can divide the game into two different games. The first section of the game is for new gamers who wish to learn how to play a Mario game. The second half, after the finishing line, is  for the more experienced Mario players who still search some challenge.

We can conclude that Super Mario 3D Land isn’t the best Mario game ever released but it sure is a very decent game. It looks beautiful, you’ll find enough hidden stuff to collect and the game plays very fluently. The only downside is the fact that the game isn’t that hard, something that gets fixed at the end of the game however. All in all this 3D Land maybe isn’t that big but it will show you one of the most innovating level designs ever made in a Mario game. That’s definitely one of the reasons why Mario fans or fans of the platform genre must check out the magical land. You won’t be disappointed at all.

Game Rate: 8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.