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LTTP: Super Mario 3D Land

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I always build a list of at least three games I wish to play when I’m considering a platform for purchase. Super Mario 3D Land was on that shortlist for the Nintendo 3DS. It was developed by the same team who brought the Super Mario Galaxy games to the Wii and I was looking at it as the game that would validate the Nintendo 3DS’ existence.

I wasn’t unable to play entire 3DS games with the 3D option on before Super Mario 3D Land. (That was a lot of 3D in a sentence). I wasn’t able to maintain that ideal angle and lose the 3D effect. I didn’t have that problem with Super Mario 3D Land; I was able to maintain the 3D for long stretches and I was able to recover it quickly if I ever lost it.

I wouldn’t say the 3D was essential but it was helpful and I preferred playing the game with the option on. There were plenty of visual flourishes that were only enjoyable in 3D — they were effects that 3D movie makers indulged in as well. I hope you find coins flying into your face enjoyable.

I thoroughly completed Super Mario 3D Land; I completed both the regular and special levels. I don’t know why they should even be considered special levels because my opinion of the game would be drastically different without them. I divided Super Mario 3D Land into thirds. The first third of the game was charming but incredibly easy. Then there was a third of the game which contained the more interesting and intricate levels that Super Mario Galaxy was known for. The remaining third were ho-hum.

I was pleased with the return of the airships, the Koopa kids and the Tanuki suit. I wasn’t as pleased with their routine approach to boss battles. One of the many areas Super Mario Galaxy excelled with was the boss battles which was why I was disappointed after each Koopa kid encounter. They barely took advantage of the fact that they were in a new game let alone in 3D.

But as always, it was the journey that mattered. I found the most enjoyment with the special levels and the challenges they provided. The Purple coin challenge wasn’t present though, so nothing too exact was asked of me.

I’m of two minds when I think back on Super Mario 3D Land. I couldn’t help but expect this game to be a mini-Super Mario Galaxy. I wanted it to be this amazing and revelatory adventure like the team’s last big Mario outings. Coming from that angle, Super Mario 3D Land was at best a home made video or post card; it was a reminder and not a replacement.

But then I look at the title and recalled the eye opening experience of playing Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins on the original Gameboy. I reminded myself that Super Mario 3D Land was also an amazing achievement. Nintendo brought a piece — it may have not been the best piece — of Super Mario Galaxy and shoved it into a handheld console.

I was slightly disappointed and, at the same time, quite amazed at what Nintendo put together here.

Highly Recommended

Ratings Guide

For more information on Super Mario 3D Land, visit the official website.


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