Super Mario 3D Land Review


Nintendo EAD




Nintendo 3DS







Release Date:

November 13, 2011

-Jovan St. Lawrence

Super Mario 3D Land is the latest platforming adventure in the Mario franchise and it does not disappoint. Nintendo has really delivered on their promise to make Mario’s first 3D adventure to show off what the 3DS hardware is really made of. In depth 3D gaming has never been fully captured quite like this and I’m glad Nintendo were the ones to do it.

Mario 3D Land is the first 3DS game to use the 3D aspect of the handheld to its full capacity. There are many platforming sections throughout the game that utilize the 3D slider. You can also use the D-pad to flicker pop out or sink effects on the 3DS top screen to better suit the area you’re in at that given time. Of course, you can play through the entire game without having to use the 3D effect, however, it makes things unnecessarily difficult for the player. Nintendo has made it clear that this game was designed to be played in 3D, you simply can’t experience the full game otherwise. 

There are 8 total worlds in 3D Land. However after the eighth world, there are bonus levels to platform in. The idea is to get as many gold medals in each and every level to advance from world to world. If you’re unable to advance any further at a certain point, you must go back and replay levels where you may have only collected one medal or none. These medals are carefully hidden throughout the course of traversing these levels. Due to the brilliant level design in this game, some medals are much harder to find than others. Although, the levels are beautiful looking and engaging (which shouldn’t be a problem for Nintendo since they’ve been doing it for 25+ years now), I personally found the majority of them to be relatively easy. Don’t let that sway you, these levels are loads of fun and they combine a lot of old school Mario with the new. Music blocks, flagpole checkpoints from the  Galaxy series, disappearing platforms and flip switches are all back in this new Mario installment.

Those classic Mario power-ups we know and love have also made a triumphant comeback in 3D Land. The propeller box and fire flower are back and they prove to be very useful, especially in the later levels. The all new boomerang suit allows Mario to throw countless boomerangs at enemies at various angles. It also bounces off walls and brings down flying enemies at the right height and angle. The tanooki suit also returns from its original game in Super Mario Bros. 3. The Tanooki suit allows you to float and attack enemies with your tail. Unlike in 3D Land, the original appearance of the Tanooki suit allowed you to fly, although hovering suffices for this game. After the eighth world, creativity and diversity in level design goes into overdrive. The difficulty becomes more harder and it’ll take quite a bit more to hold on to those precious power-ups you’ve tried so hard to keep for so long. Collecting each and every hidden medal is no easy feat either. In fact, I applaud anyone who has fully 100% this game.

StreetPass allows for timed challenge rooms where you unlock special, mystery boxes. You also race to collect all the gold coins and/or defeating all the enemies before time runs out. StreetPassing with other 3DS owners makes for great replayability in almost every 3DS title as far as checking friends’ leaderboards to beat their time. 3D Land is no different when it comes to the lasting appeal set by StreetPass. The gyroscope also comes into effect as well. The gyroscope comes useful when you look through a set of binoculars to see a captured Toad carrying either a 1-Up Mushroom, various power-up, or even a hidden medal and casts it off in any direction for you to find it. Tilting the 3DS in the direction will move the binoculars to the place where you last saw whatever it is that Toad threw.

Super Mario 3D Land is by far the best looking 3DS game. The textures and shading are so crisp and make for a glitch free experience. The levels are great to traverse through, the power-ups are great to use, and the difficulty slowly but surely rises to make for an even more engaging experience. If you have a 3DS and haven’t yet picked up Super Mario 3D Land, I suggest you do so immediately. It’s the best selling 3DS game for a reason.

The Pros:

  • Amazing and creative level design
  • New and old power-ups blend in seamlessly with platforming
  • Beautiful 3D effects and gameplay
  • Mario has never looked better on a handheld system
  • StreetPass offers lasting appeal
  • Special worlds raise difficulty and proper challenge
  • Novice gamers can pick this up easily

The Cons:

  • Many levels at the beginning are far too easy
  • 3D feels a bit forced at times