When it comes to the platformer genre there are no better known series than the Mario games, which have been consistently great since
When it comes to the platformer genre there are no better known series than the Mario games, which have been consistently great since the original Super Mario Bros was released in 1985. A simplistic formula that involved a plumber running, swimming, jumping through two dimensional levels towards a goal and on occasion a confrontation with the main antagonist Bowser. It worked because it was fun, easy to play and had a great difficulty curve. Mario entered the third dimension in 1996 on the Nintendo 64 where gamers could run in any direction they wanted, though the formula changed from traversing linear worlds to reach the end goal to revisiting levels to complete different missions and earn stars which were needed to progress through the game, it worked brilliantly with Super Mario 64 being another classic Mario game that would not only prove platformers could in fact work in 3D, but they could also be just as fun and charming as their 2D predecessors.
Fast forward fifteen years and the Mario games (Spinoffs excluded) still rely on these basic platforming formula and tight controls and as a result the games are still vastly enjoyable.
Super Mario 3D Land is Mario’s latest adventure for the Nintendo 3DS system, which takes inspiration from Super Mario Bros. 3’s level design and power ups and re-imagines them in tightly designed linear 3D levels. Experienced gamers will quickly plough through the first few worlds in Super Mario 3D Land without too much frustration or difficulty. The last couple of worlds pick up the difficulty significantly which is a nice change of pace from the breezy earlier worlds. The difficulty really picks up when the game continues on past world eight, as players find all the levels are revamped with more obstacles and harder enemies. The game even borrows some of the harder trial ideas from the Super Mario Galaxy titles too, it functions as a second harder playthrough.
Despite the tight and often linear level design the game is open to some exploration as players hunt for the three star coins carefully hidden in each level and a plethora of secrets to discover. A player could easily rush through the games eight worlds in a few short hours if they so wished but the star coins, secrets and extra difficulty worlds will keep completionists coming back for more and provide many more hours of platforming entertainment on top of the core game.
As expected the controls are tight and responsive. All the staple Mario moves have found their way in there such as the triple jump, long jump and ground pound. This title sees the return of the beloved Raccoon and Tanooki suits as well as the classic fire flower and some new power ups. The power-ups slightly spice up gameplay but they are rarely necessary, except for reaching some of the hidden star coins within the game.
Should you buy it?
Super Mario 3D Land is a fantastic game that feels like a charming blend of two different gameplay styles of Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros into one tight and fun package. There is a reasonably diverse range in levels and while the game’s first few worlds, Mario veterans may still find challenge in it’s later levels and the post game content. Mario’s latest outing is a great platforming title which offers hours of fun that every 3DS owner should add to their library.
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Release Date: 18/10/2011