Super Mario 3D Land review

Review of Super Mario 3D Land video game for the Nintendo 3DS rated 9 out of 10
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There’s no getting around the fact that the core Mario games are and have always been exceptionally good. Super Mario 3D Land is the first game made specifically for the 3DS and what you get is a mix of the gameplay you’d expect from the likes of Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy wrapped up in a level format similar to the classic Mario games or if you’re a handheld gamer, New Super Mario Bros.

You can probably guess what the story is but in case you don’t know, Mario is rather keen on Princess Peach and once again the evil Bowser steals her away and locks here away in his castle. It’s up to you to make your way across the treacherous Mario Land in order to get her back. You’d think by now she’d have a restraining order on the moody lizard fella!

Initially there are eight worlds for you to run and jump around and each of these are split into five levels along with special areas and gift boxes you can run into in order to collect power ups and coins. New powers include the Mario Tanooki suit which looks like a raccoon where Mario can jump and hover as he falls back to earth by kicking his legs. He can also get access to a boomerang in order to take out foes, hid in a cardboard box with a propeller attached to it so he can spin to higher places and of course get flower power and throw fireballs at his enemies. The touch screen is used to activate one stored power-up and this time, if you collect a new one, it swaps automatically with the stored item so you can swap it back at a later date. There’s also a handy box that appears after you die a few times on a level which gives you invulnerable Tanooki powers which is definitely a better option than having the game play through the level on your behalf. You’ll still die if you fall out of the screen!

I have to be honest and say that usually I can’t get on with the 3D mode of the 3DS. Most games I play with the 3D switched off as I find it a distraction. However, for the first time the 3D is actually very good in Super Mario 3D Land and doesn’t send my eyes all wonky. With a touch of the d-pad you can even change the depth of the 3D even further to cater for how you wish to see things. There are also some gift boxes which make use of the 3D to show you where platforms actually are in 3D space where, if you look in just 3D, you actually see an optical illusion where things aren’t all what they seem!

My only gripe is that the game is actually a little too easy. This is the first time I’ve managed to collect all the large coins in the game without too much difficulty and you begin each stage as big Mario - even going through a checkpoint automatically makes you big again. Things do get a little tougher though once you enter the ‘special’ levels and this doubles the initial playthrough time and is a welcome addition where you can play as Luigi.

Super Mario 3D Land is a no-brainer for the 3DS. If you like games your games to be perfectly balanced and provide lots of short, sharp entertainment on the move then this is the game for you. It gets an almost perfect 9 out of 10.

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Related: Super Mario Galaxy 2 review, New Super Mario Bros review

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