Community Review: Super Mario 3D Land

Community Review: Super Mario 3D Land

Surprise! I’m guessing most of you were expecting that we’d run a Community Review on Skyward Sword this week, but I haven’t had a chance to play it yet on account of my stupid wanting to be done with Skyrim first. Super Mario 3D Land? That’s like the anti-Skyrim. A game suitable for short bursts, a game that’s as engaging for an hour as it is for one single minute. It may actually be the perfect Mario handheld game.

Super Mario 3D Land has been billed as the missing link between 2D Mario games ala New Super Mario Bros. Wii — which was a massive success among all types of players — and 3D Mario games in the vein of Galaxy. Time will tell if the game succeeds in doing precisely that, but my feeling is that Super Mario 3D does an incredible job of leaping seamlessly between the two — it does an incredible job of teaching players how to leap into the third dimension.

I only have my wife as reference, a girl who loves New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but point blank refuses to play Galaxy. I haven’t showed her 3D Land yet, but I get the distinct feeling that she’ll love it. The game is easy to begin with but, more importantly, really guides you through specific level design. Super Mario 3D Land gives you the space of Galaxy, but the linear feeling of New Super Mario Bros. Wii. In fact, in the first couple of worlds, the game seems to slowly ease players from an almost 2D design to the more expansive spaces we’ve come to expect from the proper 3D Mario games. It’s masterful.

But still, as someone who has played every Mario iteration both 3D and 2D, Super Mario 3D Land still manages to feel like a charming, brilliantly designed, engaging game — even in the beginning stages. I’m loving the game so far. It’s easily the best game on the 3DS to date.

I’m currently on world 4, with the distinct feeling that best is yet to come.

How are you guys finding it so far? Let me know in the comments below.


  • I’ve actually gotten further than World 1-1, so that’s a good sign.

    Not that I find this stuff _hard_ or anything, I just don’t have the patience for the normal-sized Mario.

  • First 3DS game that i can have on full 3D and not feel that its screwing my eyes up

    i had to turn down pilotwings etc just a bit to be able to play it in 3D, but mario i can handle.

  • I have to admit I’m enjoying the game thus far, the levels are short in length which allows you, as you said to play in small bursts.

    As for the 3D, while I do think its nice and is easily one of the better games to utilise it, I still don’t think it adds too much to the game itself (but that might just be me) and honestly, and I know this is going to sound like sacrilege, I think Sonic Generations looks prettier in 3D.

    • See this is the thing. I realise that the run button is traditional in a sidescrolling Mario, but is it really necessary here? We have an analogue stick, let us use it to its full extent like in the full 3D games. I can play just fine anyway, but have the nagging feeling that it my jumps would be a little more precise if I didn’t have to hold down the damn button.

      Loving it otherwise though. It feel quick and fun and breezy, with trademark tight controls (other than my gripe above). I like the new parts where you get to jump down over edges and really feel the depth as you’re falling too.

        • No, I’m asking why they bother with a dedicated button at all? Especially if they’re after simplicity of gameplay. Just make it so that the full extent of the circle pad is the same as holding a button.

          It’s a pet peeve of mine in all 3D games. Having to hold a button to run seems redundant and just over complicates the interface when you already have analogue control.

          • While I agree with you in this case, I don’t think it would be a blanket solution for all games with a run/sprint button – in a lot of games you wouldn’t actually want to be running all the time, you would want to be using the “normal” movement speed most of the time and only run/sprint on odd occasions – and with an analogue stick its easiest to just push the stick all the way forward than to hold it somewhere in the middle all the time.

  • Awesome title. Love the short bursts. I wish it was a little harder- less lives, longer levels, more coins to collect. I find it strange that people like my girlfriend get headaches and or screwy eyes as I have never had that problem with any 3ds game to date.

    • Not really strange, though random. 3D isn’t a natural focal depth and some people are better able to cope. As far as I can tell, only a few people can do more than a couple of hours. I can’t do much more than 20 minutes without severe eye-strain. Thats with a good 3d game like Zelda.

      • i did about 4 hours of Zelda the other day without a break or any eyestrain on 3/4 3D so maybe it depends on how deep the 3D effect is

  • Mark, can you really be done with Skyrim? I’m going to play Zelda when I need a break, but I know I’m going to go back for more. 47hrs in and I’ve only done one of the guilds and become Thane of only two cities. Have only been to three of the cities as well. The game is crazy huge, and doesn’t lend itself to completion.

    On another note: opinions from Mario fans, is this game worth buying a 3DS for. I have no interest in any existing or announced titles otherwise. Or should I just keep playing New Super Mario Brothers wii?

  • I love it! Currently in world 2 (my son has gotten much further than this already) and it’s brilliant, looks great, plays even better (and yes I bought a 3DS just for this!)

  • Fantastic game!!! I’ve got about 200 star coins, can anyone confirm the final number? I’ve heard it’s around 333, but some say as many as 999!

    I need to finish this perfectly 100% 🙂

  • i was underwhelmed to begin with maybe because i was also playing Rayman Origins which is spectacular but now that i’m at S8-1 i can say that this game is excellent. Yes the levels are short and the first 8 worlds are easy but it gets a little challenging after that trying to nab all the star coins and having to speed run through the levels. It wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this game and with MK7 out this weekend wahooo.

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