Hello to you all! My schedule says it's time for another review, and so I am bringing you one today on the lesser-known 3DS title, Super Mario 3D Land. It's a very underrated game, mainly because it changed the gameplay of the series from a 2D side-scroller to a 3D platformer. However, it makes the change in such a way that it still feels like you are playing a Mario game. Like any Mario title, the story is almost always the same. Princess Peach gets kidnapped, yada yada yada, and you then try to rescue her by getting to Bowser's Castle and stopping Bowser. It's a repeated formula, but it's plain and simple.
Old dog, new tricks.
One thing that I noticed with this new entry to the series, is that it DEMANDS the 3D to be on, unlike some of the other games on the 3DS at the time. It looks gorgeous, even if you are playing it in 2D mode. However, playing in 3D gives you more immersion and it is easily my favorite part about the game. The graphics are also way, way better than any Mario game we have seen before, and the design looks fairly similar to Super Mario Galaxy. It's one of the BEST looking handheld titles I have seen in a long time. Mario looks better than ever: the new models for the enemies look bold and outstanding and every single aspect of the design of this game is beautiful. I can't stress enough about how much handheld gaming has evolved over the last decade. Before, we had a SNES in our hands. Now, we have something much better.
But does the new 3D platforming work? In a one-word answer: Yes. Many fans cringed about the new style of gameplay, but in the long run, it performs the same if not better than the side-scroller style of gameplay! The best part though, is that it keeps the Mario flavour. You are still trying to get to the end of the level to slide down the flagpole. The execution of this mix of familiar concepts with new gameplay is done so flawlessly that it almost feels like a different game. I can assure you, however, that this is what the Mario fans were hoping it was going to be. The world is MUCH more colourful than it ever was, as the game uses dynamic and eye-catching shades of many colours. Heck, even the headliner image for this review looks much better than any logo we have seen before. It fits the game perfectly, blending everything in superbly. It is amazing, and surprisingly advanced for a handheld.
The music and sounds have all been upped significantly, and the new soundtrack is awesome. Many new pieces of the game have been given new sounds, such as the footsteps you hear when characters walk. The quality of the sound is very good for a handheld game, and every part about it is amazing. Again, it's all done in such a way that it still feels like you are playing a Mario game while having a new experience. The game does have one "leech on the belly" however, and that is challenge. Even if you have not played a platformer before, it's still surprisingly easy to play. There is no a challenge mode, which was a huge disappointment for me, as you could call me a hardcore fan of the series who likes the extra difficulty. While the last world is quite hard, the first 1-5 worlds feel quite easy, even though there were a couple spots where I died multiple times. Nevertheless, the game gives you overpowered power ups for dying over and over! After 15 or so deaths, you can fly to the end of the level! Clearly the challenge aspect of the game is not up to par. The level design, however, is utterly the best we have seen since the first Mario Galaxy game. They are dynamic and varied, with each world having a different theme, such as a desert-level or a snow-level. It's something we have seen before, but with the new 3D platforming, they look and play great.
The game looks and plays surprisingly good for a handheld title.
New power ups have also been added, such as the fan-favorite Tanooki Suit from SMB 3. It's a small addition, but it's nice to see that Nintendo cares. Super Mario 3D land is an interesting beast. It blends everything we thought we knew about the previous Mario games, throws them in a blender, and we get to drink the delicious smoothie that is this game. The 3D aspect, the design, the colours, the graphics, and familiar themes/concepts are blended in together so well that it feels like an entirely different game! It's an outstanding entry to the series, and it really shows what platformers in general can still accomplish. It should be in any 3DS library by a long shot.
Aside from a couple of small things, with lots of content, loveable graphics, and great music, this game is amazing. It certainly earns my "must-play of the month" badge as well as a score of 9.4 out of 10. It's a very good entry to the franchise, and if you have not played any of it, I suggest you steal your friend's 3DS play the game all night. I thought Mario was dying, and this game proved me wrong. He still has lots of heart left in him, and with that, I close off this review. Thank you for reading as always, and don't be afraid to send me a suggestion sometime via PM. I will do any game on any console, from retro to next-gen.
"It's a me, Mario!"