This Nintendo 3DS exclusive installment is the perfect fit for all age levels while offering detailed challenges and retrospective game elements. Super Mario Land 3D has unique interactions, smooth controls and endless exploration. The fluid automatic camera provides the best player assistance without hindering the player’s chosen game pace.
As players familiar with this game series know, Mario games always have numerous unlockables, hidden items, and currency – in this game players want star coins, used to access more levels. Each level includes three hidden star coins. Mario vets also know the familiar setup – Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and so Mario must rescue her…again.
This all-ages game eliminates possibly frustrating scenarios by providing player assistance and plentiful checkpoints. Players can be speedy, thorough, or somewhere in between as they conquer the world map, which features a linear interface, with eight worlds containing several stages.
Harvest numerous extra life “1ups” in hidden areas and visible spots requiring special actions to access them. Red coins, originally from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, also have 1ups or power-ups. Players can also mark save files with their Mii characters. No multiplayer mode, but that matches the gameplay perfectly since only one player can view the 3D effects. Level lengths are much shorter, which also matches the handheld console gameplay.
Enivronments cover land, air, and sea with a nice blend of 2D and 3D. Yoshi, the Mushrooms, and an unlockable Luigi all compliment Mario who is certainly capable on his own as he swims, flies, dives, and uses other interactive objects.
The tanooki suit, the raccoon-like suit originally from Super Mario Brothers 3, returns for Mario and even enemy characters. Just grab one of the many slowly falling brown leaves. This special suit gives Mario some helpful aerial powers and offensive attacks with the tail.
Novice players get a great advantage with the kindness of completion. Finish a level or playing unlocked challenge stages after conquering the game to unlock the white tanooki suit, which appears after six failed level attempts and gives Mario invulnerability from enemies. Still having problems? Players can look for a special item transporting Mario right to the level end. Other suit variations and special interactive items provide help and entertainment.
The new boomerang suit allows Mario unique long distance offensive attacks that can be even more helpful if players avoid catching the boomerang. The propeller box, originally from New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Use fireballs to light torches for accessing even more special items.
Use L or R to crouch; y or x to dash and b or a to jump. Jumps expand by using walls and crouches. Players can roll with L or R and Y or X or “ground pound” with L or R in midair – the perfect way to loosen items or startle enemies. Side somersaults, used while dashing with the circle pad and A or B, are helpful in boss battles.
The flexible controls and navigation enhance the experience. Movements with the smooth circle pad combine with the touch screen item access (players can also toggle among items) keep the game going at a fast pace.
Players may experience some depth issues, but they become easier with more familiarity to the maps and 3D effects, which enhance the experience and do not strain or hinder it. Judge distance and space by using shadows. Enjoy the special effects in 3D like the ink splatters.
Players can also toggle between 2D and 3D using the up and down button on the directional pad while the right and left button move the camera so Mario can check out the lay of the land. Players can also access special binoculars to get a closer look…no coin required. Developers incorporate the gyrometer here, so players can easily move where they want and zoom in and out using the L and R buttons. Some shooting, slingshot or throwing challenges using the gyrometer would have made great additions.
The basic boss levels involve conquering Boom-Boom (male or female) or Bowser in familiar ways. Boss challenges increase as players advance, but more variety in the boss fighting itself could be improved. StreetPass elements include mystery boxes that can be traded to other players (even if they don’t have the game yet) once conquered. The music cover familiar melodies with a few fresh tunes while the sound effects reflect each environment well, especially the echo in underground areas. A memorable, highly recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) experience and an essential Nintendo 3DS game library addition.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler