A Review by Jeremy Hardin
As the first 3DS game to sell over 5 million units, Super Mario 3D Land is a huge success for Nintendo and the 3DS. Oh and folks, that 5 million mark was achieved in the first two months of release. As of the most recent NPD numbers, Super Mario 3D Land is in 2nd place on the charts. As usual Mario, a winner is you.
Gameplay and Controls
Mario games are not usually known for their deep story lines and plot twists. In fact, the story usually consists of Bowser and his minions kidnapping poor Princess Peach and it’s up to Mario to rescue her. This is true for Super Mario 3D Land as well and I have no complaints. In fact, forget the story. All I care about is some good old platforming fun!
Super Mario 3D Land starts off with a cut scene on a dark and stormy night with a tanooki tree blowing in the wind. The tree is covered in tanooki leaves which begin blowing away rapidly. Meanwhile, we hear Bowser’s laughter off in the distance. The scene cuts to daybreak as the last tanooki leaf blows away, just as Mario and the toadstools come rushing over. Mario and pals quickly notice a floating envelope off to the side of the tree and inside is a single 3D picture of Princess Peach in the clutches of Bowser, yet again. Thus, the game begins.
As we all know, Mario is a platformer and has been from the beginning. So you can be sure you’ll be spending the entire game traversing elaborate and cleverly designed levels collecting coins, powerups, searching for hidden areas and stomping the bad guys from beginning to end. True to the original Mario games, Super Mario 3D Land combines linear-based levels, with elements from the modern open world Mario titles, such as the backflips and butt stomps and moving Mario in three dimensions.
Your initial goal in ever level is to reach the flagpole at the end, nostalgia anyone? There is however, a secondary goal. If you have played the original Mario Bros game on NES, you may remember the higher you land on the flagpole, the higher score you achieved. In Super Mario 3D Land, if you reach the top of the flagpole, the flag itself raises to the top and turns gold! Oh but wait, there is more for all you completionist out there. A tertiary goal is the collection of the 3 Star Coins hidden throughout every level. These are actually necessary in order to advance further in the game, so don’t ignore them for very long. Every level is also time based, but I never found myself in a position where I was even close to running out of time, save for the end of the game.
At first, you will only have access to 48 levels. However, upon defeating Bowser and rescuing the princess, you will receive a letter showing that Luigi has been kidnapped. This sets off another rescue attempt, but this time it takes place in the hidden Special Worlds. After rescuing Luigi in the first Special Word, he becomes a playable character and you then have another 48 levels to complete before finishing the game. So, all in all you have 96 levels to beat and a plethora of star coins to collect. Yeah, you’re going to be busy for awhile. At this time, I have put in 34:59 and finally beat the game completely (that depends on how you look at it.) I didn’t get all the golden flags and I didn’t collect all 3 star coins on every level, but I came darn close to it!
Visuals and Sound
Sweet, sweet eye candy. I mean seriously, the 3D looks great and with the option to toggle between two different 3D Points of View (POV), everyone should be able to find the spot that’s just right for them. The graphics strongly resemble that of the Galaxy series, so we’ve got some graphical goodness right in the palm of our hands here! The character animations are fluid and the framerate, smooth as expected. The music is enjoyable and you may just catch yourself humming along with it after awhile. For me, the visuals and sound were a great package adding to the overall enjoyment of playing the game.
Concluding Overall Impressions
I expected nothing less than a great game when I heard about Super Mario 3D Land and I was not disappointed. Super Mario 3D Land has been one of the biggest hits on the 3DS and one of my favorite 3DS games to date. It’s a great game to pick up and play in short burst or for several hours at a time. If you haven’t purchased it yet, do yourself a favor and grab a copy today!
Final Score: 5 out of 5