3DS Review – Super Mario 3D Land

Title: Super Mario 3D Land(SM3DL)

Genre: Platformer/Action

System: Nintendo 3DS

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo

The start of the holiday season( Early, yes I know) is upon us and the savior of the 3DS is here and he is a plumber from Brooklyn named Mario Mario. The release of Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS marks the beginning of the holiday season and after Mario comes Zelda and after Zelda, more Mario. This is just the appetizer before the main course and in this case, Mario could be the main course. Enough of these puns, let’s get on with it, Nintendo presents Super Mario 3D Land. Better dress warm, because it’s about to get awesome in here.( God, did I really just type this)

SM3DL has a pretty straight forward story. All the Mushroom kingdom Tanooki Leaves have blown off the trees and what a shock, King Koopa gets his scaly hands on them. What do you think he did next? Oh, yeah, kidnap Princess Toadstool, yet again. The game has that retro feel to it so I decided to refer to the characters in their old-school monikers. Hell, the back of the box even says “Classic Mario action with a modern twist!” That’s code for Mario is going back to his roots for gameplay and power-ups and that isn’t a bad thing. The game looks great. Mario looks like he has set the bar for how 3D games should look, just like he did in Mario 64. Setting the bar pretty high for others to follow. It took a little bit to get used to the controls but once you do, it feels like you have been playing a classic Mario title rather than one that was recently released. Going back to the 3D, the cut-sceens after you beat a end-of-level Koopa Castle or Air Ship look fantastic. It may only be 3D pictured rather than action, but Koopa and the Princess look like they could jump out and hit you right in the face.

Has anyone missed the feel of NES Mario games? If the answer to that question was “yes,” then Super Mario 3D Land is the solution you’ve been looking for. SM3DL crams in almost all of the good things from Mario’s past and uses them in fun, creative ways. Like I said before, it takes a little getting used to Mario being able to run and perform moves off the run but once you get the feel for the game, it’s really fun. Mario 1 lends the flagpole goal at the end of the level as well as the King Koopa fights where he’s blowing fire at you and the only means for stopping him is hitting a switch to knock him in the lava. After he falls in the lava, he turns back into the flunkie he gave the Tanooki Leaf to, ready to fight another day. Modern twist is Koopa can transform using the Tanooki Leaf as well. What a twist. Mario 2 lends the ability to charge-up a jump when you crouch down to jump hire. It looks like the game got most of its look from original Nintendo games, but it got some help from other Mario games as well.

It looks like the people at Nintendo love Mario 3 just as much as I do because most the framework for SM3DL is based off of Mario 3 and what’s wrong with that? Nothing! The Tanooki Suit makes its comeback, only in Mario 3 until now. Toad houses were recently brought back into the Mario franchise so why not use something that was instrumental in making Mario 3 great. End-of-level boss Boom Boom was brought back as well as his female counterpart Pom Pom for Mario to fight on the Airships. The game screams Mario 3 and it shows. A new power-suit combo, the Boomerang Brothers suit makes its debut in 3D Land and it looks and feels like it was a member of the franchise for years. Item storage, another Mario 3 component was brought on as well as the P-leaf item for players to use if they got stuck in a level. The game borrows most of the good parts from Mario 3, viewed by most of the Mario fan base as the best Mario game in the series. With the return of the Tanooki suit, Mario is able to transform into the new Boomerang Brother. Red coins to collect from Super Mario World 2 a back as well. Collect all five to get an extra guy. The check point marker from Super Mario World is back as well. Will there be a Yoshi sighting? Only time will tell. The game also brings back a lot of retro music and as you know I’m a sucker for good old-school music. SM3DL has modern variations of music from Mario 3 and other classic Mario games. This was an unexpected surprise that should be welcomed by all Mario fans.

Now with every good game, there are good points that makes the game good and some not-so-good points that hurt the game. It wouldn’t be a Mario game without a time-limit to beat the level, now would it? That gets problematic in the beginning of the game because you’re still learning the moves and controls but there is enough extra time around the level to never run out. Super Mario 3D Land could be seen as “too easy” but I think that goes along with the times. Games are just easier nowadays and SM3DL is no exception. The levels aren’t that long and when you die too many times in a level, the game gives you a power-up block to gain a power-up to help or the P-Leaf to become immune to damage and coast through the level. The controls take a little getting used to and the hardest part in that regard is that Mario can run and perform moves off of the run. Combine that with the 3D landscape and it is really difficult to land a precision jump. I found myself misreading a jump because I couldn’t tell what plane of the playing field it was on and going too far under it and falling. Chalk it up to the game makers not being as familiar with the 3D as they will be in the future. It is these reasons that I’m giving Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS a 9/10.


Super Mario 3D Land is a great game and a great first step into three-dimensional 3D for Super Mario. It brings back a lot of great memories I had playing Mario 3 and other Mario games growing up. If this is any indication of how many modern ideas Nintendo has for Mario, then he should be able to save the 3DS just like everyone expects him to. The game has great music and it was great to see the return of the Tanooki Suit and see a newcomer, the Boomerang Brothers’ Suit. When is the Sledge Brothers’ Suit coming, it’s only a matter of time. However, with every first step into new technology, there are ups and downs. Super Mario 3D Land has plenty of ups as well as some downs. Controls take a little getting used to as well as running in 3D environments. Once everyone gets the hang of Mario moving in 3D, it will feel like we have been doing it our whole lives. If this is your first foray into Mario then it’s a good starting point because it has most of the good things from Mario’s past. Mario for Life! Live Long and Prosper, my little Bambinos.

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