Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D Land is a game you need to buy for your Nintendo 3DS, just like any Mario platform game, but as so often is the case, it’s not only because it’s a classic series but because it’s more than worthwhile checking out. Amongst other things because the makers didn’t go for the easy option and made a handheld version of Super Mario Galaxy or abused the 3D possibilities of the 3DS.
It gets better. The devs went back to a Mario who walks just a tidbit slower and can’t perform a triple jump. The result is a platform game that will please hardcore veterans as well as newcomers with the right amount of challenge, innovation and nostalgia.
Nostalgia as the structure and level buildup are very classic, the time limits return and you get a side-view instead of different camera viewpoints. But beware, that doesn’t mean the third dimension doesn’t get used on the 3DS. On the contrary, there are some parts with top-down view in which Mario in a rather funny way jumps towards you, there are some optical illusions used to test your skills and thanks to the 3D effect also the side view gets a pleasant, almost toyish look.
There are also some other innovations and of course the levels are filled with nice findings. You can get an invincible Tanooki package if you die too many times in a row; an aid for those who are a bit clumsy with the buttons. Unfortunately we didn’t find any other power-ups that are truly innovative. On the upside there are surprises like stages that unfold themselves, parts under water and references to Zelda.
After Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii the game does feel a bit more classic and there are fewer challenges and additional reasons to play longer than you hope. Nonetheless this remains a platform game in which fun, variation and tight controls rule and nobody will remain unaffected by the many funny and small finds.
Thanks to the combination of innovative features that get introduced by the 3D and on the other side the going back to earlier Mario games this episode feels different than all its predecessors. Although we miss a bit some of the wonder from Super Mario Galaxy this has again become a top title that doesn’t disappoint in any way and will please young and old.