Super Mario 3D Land Review

Mario’s latest outing, this one for the 3DS, offers the platforming goodness you’ve loved from Super Mario Bros. on the NES all the way through New Super Mario Bros. Wii.  Or that you will come to love, in the event that you are just getting started.  The familiar run and jump action, supported by the flawless controls the series is known for, is back, and is complimented by strong visuals and as much of a challenge as you can put up with.

If there is a fault to be found in this game, it’s that it does rely too much on those elements you already love.  The addition of the third dimension, apart from changing up the visual style, doesn’t really enhance the gameplay all that much.  The best thing I can say about it from a gameplay perspective is that you can still play the game just fine even if you turn off the 3D as I did.  Speaking as the webmaster of a Mario series fansite, unfortunately, a game such as this adds little to the fandom.  3D does not translate into fan fiction!  There’s just a few new characters, items, and level types to be found in the game.  I expect a few interviews with new boss gal Pom Pom and an influx of enemy characters with raccoon tails, and that will be about the extent of the impact of this game on Lemmy’s Land.

Mario 3D Land tries to please all with a difficulty curve that ranges from embarrassingly easy to brutally hard.  The theory is good but I worry that in the end few gamers will be pleased throughout.  The early worlds are so easy that experienced players will find themselves in world 7 before they know it, without feeling much of an impact.  There are much steeper challenges to come, but they soon become so difficult that it becomes incredibly tempting to start each level as Tanooki Mario, with another Tanooki Leaf in reserve.

This trick is so easy to do, since you can move around the game map so swiftly and it is so quick to clear a simple level and gain those power-ups, that I think you’d need a lot of will-power to play through the entire game without doing this.  But at the point when you do this, the game changes from run and jump mechanics to jump and float…  Not the kind of action Mario has earned his stars for.  Speaking personally, if all that was needed was to clear the stages, I think I could have avoided taking the cheap way out.  But getting the Star Coins, which are needed to unlock courses, almost seems to require doing so if you don’t want to start hemorrhaging lives…

Mario 3D Land offers the action and charm we’ve come to expect from Mario, but doesn’t have the wow factor that recent hits NSMBW and Mario Galaxy 2 delivered, as the gameplay is not as fresh as it would have us believe and the Tanooki Leaf makes it too easy to break out of the core mechanics of the game.  I found this game to be better than the first New Super Mario Bros, for DS, which for me just didn’t have that special spark.  But 3D Land is closer to NSMBDS, for me, than to NSMBWii or Galaxy 2.  I would give it a solid 8.5 out of 10.

So what does that mean?  Well, if you have a 3DS and are a fan of the platforming genre, then this one is a no-brainer.  Basically if you consider yourself a gamer and have a 3DS, you’ll enjoy this game.  But if you don’t have a 3DS and have been waiting for a reason to get one – and by all rights, that should be me, since this is only the second 3DS-exclusive game I’ve played – then I don’t think this game is so amazing that you should run out right now and buy the system.  I would consider the Galaxies or NSMBW as compelling reasons to grab a Wii, but I don’t think this game is at that level.  When the 3DS’s library matures to the point that it makes sense to pick it up, then I would certainly go back and get this game.  Until then, there are plenty of other Mario games you can rediscover to tide you over.

Did you like this submission?
If you would like to send some feedback to the author of this submission, please complete this form.

What's your name?
This is required.

What's your Email address?
Only enter this if you would like the author to respond.

How do you rate this submission? 
Please rate on a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being best.

Does this submission belong in Little Lemmy's Land?
Little Lemmy's Land is designed to include the top ten percent of submissions.

Would you like to see more from this author? 

Comments and suggestions: Stunning, fast, FREE!
FREE feedback form powered by

Want to review a game yourself? Email me!
Go back to Lemmy's Reviews.
Go back to my main page.