Console: Nintendo 3DS
Date Released: Nov 13, 2011
Date Reviewed: Jan 3, 2011
* New power-ups
* All new maps, levels, new bad guys.
* Bright, colorful designs, challenging, rewarding game-play, a chance to try a new concept in gaming.
* currently can only be played on a handheld
* No first person view, some levels have” binoculars” to use to look around but not all levels, and its really for a specific purpose other than just planning where you want to go.
* Seemingly in this day and age, DLC and multiplayer options are expected to accompany the purchase of a new game. If this is you, be warned of the lack of purposeful multiplayer modes or options
Presentation : A
Graphics / Animation / Sound
Super Mario 3D Land has the standard Mario sound effects from Jumping across pits to collecting coins. Not much has changed in that area, but then again, do we want it to? Nintendo always does a nice job keeping the nostalgic feel while changing the game just enough to keep it interesting. This coupled with the 3D effects of the system present a smooth flowing display starting with the title screen, which updates and changes depending on how much of the game you’ve finished.
The levels and backgrounds are colorful and vibrant, displaying an incredible amount of detail presented within your viewing screen. It is clear that the Nintendo team spent a considerable amount of time integrating the entire game design with the 3D effects adding to the game-play. I was under the impression that perhaps just a coin or fireball would stand out, but there is an insane amount of the level used in the 3D portion of the animation and atmosphere.
Single Player : A
Game mechanics / Length / difficulty
Another aspect I was concerned about was the control. While, for me at least, holding a 3DS starts to cramp my hands after awhile, the button mapping is comfortable and precise. I had no problems landing on enemies or performing pinpoint jumps sometimes required to reach secret areas. This all plays a big part in playing handheld games, and speaks a lot for this one. One down fall, I found though, was the lack of a first person view mode, where I could visually explore ahead and plan my attack. While this isn’t a necessary feature to complete the game, there are a lot of areas I would just jump into blind, hoping there was a platform to land on.
3D land has amazing pacing. While playing through 3D land, the levels gradually increase, including the placement of star medals. Each level has 3 star medals, and certain amounts are required to progress through the game and reach later stages.
The level design is incredible. There are a multitude of special levels to unlock (Think Super Mario World) and man do those levels get tough. There is also something to be said about the rewarding experience of the ‘clapping’ mechanic, in which the game literally claps for you when you acquire achievements. Its something different then say, a small sound effect, and really adds to the atmosphere.
Multiplayer : C
Game mechanics / features / Online features
Keeping in mind that this is for a new handheld system, and it is a Mario title, there really seems to be only one online feature, and that is the street pass function. This has more to do with the 3ds system itself as it is hell bent on you carrying it around, and swapping data with other 3DS users. In this particular game you can swap mystery boxes containing bonus items. While this is something, it has slight practical game value, as you can get most of these items by simply going back and replaying levels containing them.
Replay Value : A
Lasting appeal / Bonus Content / DLC / (If retro does it stand the test of time?)
There is nothing like getting stars next to your profile name on the title menu, it’s a driving factor to complete ALL the levels with all the appropriate characters, including the special levels. To 100% complete this game takes hours and hours of finding hidden medals or racing against a shadow character to the end. Not only will it keep you pursuing those stars on your profile name, because it’s a portable title its easy to pick up and kill a few min if your waiting for a movie to start, or getting your tire changed. (think about how many times you’ve played the first level of Super Mario Bros. for NES)
Super Mario 3D land might be hard to adjust visually to the first few times you play it because, of the new concept of the handheld, but hey, so was Mario 64. The game can be played without 3D, so its nice to have the option. But even with a low 3D setting (adjustable 3D slider on the 3DS) , it is quite rewarding to see fireballs and coins fly at you out of the screen. The 3D aspect is designed very well, but not necessary to enjoy, though it does deepen the experience.
Don’t let lack of multiplayer features or DLC make you not want to play, as the reason we play Mario games is to run to the flag pole and save the princess. It’s a Mario game. And it’s a great one.
Overall : A