I don’t think there’s been a Super Mario game I haven’t enjoyed. From the very first game way back in 1985 on the NES up until today, every platforming Mario title has been thoroughly enjoyable.
Super Mario 3D Land is no exception.
Years ago when Nintendo realized that people were craving a traditional side scrolling platforming Mario title, the company car out with New Super Mario Bros. The game was a huge success for Nintendo and spawned sequels on the 3DS, Wii and Wii U.
This game takes all of the best elements of those games and takes it to the third dimension. Sure, there is Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, but those games were a whole new gameplay experience in themselves.
Super Mario 3D Land is at heart a side-scrolling platformer. But instead if simply moving from left to right, you can also move towards and away from the screen. And with a predominant three quarter camera angle you can freely run around in most levels.
There are also levels where you travel towards and away from the camera, not to mention some of the cannon work which was first introduced in the previously mentioned Super Mario 64.
One level which I really enjoyed was actually inspired by The Legend of Zelda, which was presented in a top down style of the old school Zelda dungeons. Very cool stuff.
The one change to this game, which sets it apart from the others, is the difficulty. By Mario standards, this game is very easy.
The older side-scrolling Mario games were hard especially some of the later levels. Even the newer games had a bit of toughness in their level design. Maybe it’s the way the 3D levels are designed, the more space to avoid enemies, less area to fall into pits or just a casualty of the game, but a great number of the levels are fairly easy. Especially when you have the racoon tail and can flutter in the air.
There is even a little helper feature that pops up after a while. If you die a set number of times in a row on a single level, indicating that you are having a tough tone beating it, you will eventually be greeted with a glowing block when you restart the level. Collecting it will give you the racoon tail as well as invincibility for the duration of the level. This is great if you just want to get passed a level, but feels somewhat anti-climatic when you use this tool to beat a castle. Of course you can always forego the help, but let’s face it. When you’re on your tenth straight time trying to beat a level you’ll take all the help you can get.
One of the things which the developers have done to make the game a bit easier include making the mid-level flag, which not only serves as a continue point, but also acts like a super mushroom if you’re small Mario.
While the game is a bit easy, there are a good number of levels. Not only in the main game, (SPOILER ALERT) but after you beat Bowser and the game you unlock a whole new series of levels to play, and thankfully the difficulty is ramped up a bit.
There are also a few other surprises in store once you rescue everyone’s favourite princess.
All of the items you’ve come to know in the games make an appearance in the game, as well as some new ones. You’ll see the fire flower and racoon tail, with a boomerang flower making its debut.
Another element which makes its return are star coins, which you collect in each level. With some out in plain sight, and others a but more hidden, finding the coins actually has a purpose. Some level need to be unlocked before you can access them, or pass by. And doing so costs, you guessed it, star coins. So if you don’t explore levels thoroughly enough the first time, you may have to go back and take another look.
Overall Super Mario 3D Land is another great Mario game. While some of the levels aren’t too difficult, they are still very fun and satisfying to play. You’ll be playing this game for a long time.