Super Mario 3D Land is the embodiment of everything good when it comes to handheld gaming: dazzling 3D graphics, innovative use of the tech and some truly engaging gameplay. Essentially, it’s a feast of bite sized offerings of the immense and colourful world of Mario we’ve all come to know and love. As always, you’ll be controlling the world’s favorite red plumber on his quest to save his princess from clutches of Mario’s arch nemesis, Bowser. Man, the things we do for love…
Mario’s latest outing does not disappoint and delivers some well thought out and innovative platforming. The size of the levels are big enough to be engaging but not overwhelming. This fact along with it’s lightning quick interface makes this Mario title the perfect fit for the 3DS’s pick-up-and-play mentality. The game even utilizes the 3DS’s Streetpass function by downloading bonus stages from other 3DS’s in close proximity. In Japan, I bet this feature works like a charm but in South Africa I think you’d be hard pressed to find yourself in this situation very often.
And did I mention how EPIC the 3D looks? If I didn’t, let’s just say it’s fairly mindblowing! Often, the whole aspect of 3D comes across as a tacked on feature, but it is easy to see that Nintendo has built this title from the ground up with this feature in mind. Giant, spiked pillars come spiraling out of the screen and coins float mesmerizingly in mid air with many of the levels tweaked and angled to squeeze the most out of the added sense of dimension – Super Mario Land 3D is definitely one of the best examples of what games can accomplish in a 3D setting.
One of the best uses of the 3D is in conjunction with the 3DS’s motion sensors where players can use the 3DS as a telescope – the depth works great and it feels as if you are looking right into the 3DS itself. The only thing I had a bit of a problem with is that the camera angles can be a bit fidgety and it is often tricky to backtrack a level when the camera angle is fixed steadfastly in a forward direction.
Although Mario hasn’t acquired as many new power ups as previous titles, this shortage is definitely compensated by the creativity of the the colorful and exuberant level designs. The wacky and whimsical surroundings and inhabitants of each level reveal well planned and cleverly thought out gameplay, and navigating each world was a blast. One downside is that there just seems to be too few levels and before I knew it I had sped through half the game (and I didn’t even use a warp hole!).
You can’t go wrong with this new Mario adventure, especially if you are a sucker for a good platformer. It is easily one of the top games on the system and definitely maximizes the 3DS’s features. Hopefully, Princess Peach will be kidnapped again very soon so that we can pay a second visit to Mario’s 3D haven!