Review: Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo 3DS)

Review: Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo 3DS)

The Super Mario franchise is irrefutably the most well known video game series in the history of the industry. The Mario Brothers have appeared in tonnes of games, but the Super Mario series has recently seen it’s 16th release.

Super Mario 3D Land is the 16th Super Mario game to be released from Nintendo since 1986. The series is best known for it’s easy pick up and play mechanics, colourful characters and scaling difficulty.

So how does Super Mario hold up after 25 years of releases?

The Review

Super Mario 3D Land is an interesting, mixed bag of fun for literally everyone. Playing through the games’ levels prove the developers “get it” – this game was specifically crafted for the handheld system.

That means the levels are short and sweet – very few take more than a couple of minutes to complete. In fact, this is one of the game’s strengths and speed runs is encouraged through StreetPass data transfers which allows you to compete against rival’s time to complete stages.

This doesn’t mean the game isn’t challenging, though. The game is actually made up of 18 levels – unlike the usual 9 in most Super Mario games. Each level contains 5 stages, which means you have 90 levels to get through if you want to fully finish the game. The later 9 levels separate the casual players from the hardcore – these are much harder than the first 9 levels and some stages are console-throwingly frustrating.

Super Mario games are known for flexing the muscles of new consoles, and 3D Land is no different. This game sells 3D gaming in a special way. It’s now easier to stomp on enemies, stages are crafted around 3D and there are a lot of hidden areas to be found for those who play with 3D “on”. All that said, the 3D aspect of the game doesn’t get in the way at all – the game is actually better in 3D, and it really sets the bar for future action/adventure Nintendo 3DS games from other developers.

Super Mario 3D Land comes complete with a bunch of upgrades for Mario to use through the levels. Your standard Super Mushroom and Fire Flower are back, and a fan favorite “Super Leaf” which gives Mario the ability to spin attack and hover over jumps is a welcome addition. In later levels, the “Tanooki Suit” is available, which gives “Super Leaf Mario” the added ability to turn into stone to avoid enemies. Mario can also use the “Boomerang Suit” to hurl boomerangs at enemies.

If there’s any fault in Super Mario 3D Land, it’s the low difficulty in the first 9 levels. Of course, those who complain about these have not actually finished the entire game, as Nintendo have more than made up for it in the special stages. One of the accessibility features of the first 9 levels is a special Suit with invincibility will appear if you die a certain amount of times. This doesn’t happen in the later 9 levels. Also absent in the special stages is the telescope feature which allows players in the early levels to look around using the gyro sensor to find the finish line. This makes it easier to figure out how to progress through the level.

Super Mario 3D Land is the must have video game of 2011, and if you still haven’t picked it up, you should do yourself a favor as it’s sure to become a fondly remembered, timeless classic.

The Story

You know the drill: Princess Peach has been kidnapped by that pesky Bowser and Mario must travel through the Mushroom Kingdom to find and eventually save her. The twist here is that a mysterious tree has appeared and is blowing Super Leaves all over the place, turning everything it touches into “Tanooki” – this is actually pretty cool because enemies will sport a cute tail and can attack accordingly.

Toadstools appear to help Mario along the way, but what about Luigi?

Super Mario 3D Land
Overall Impression:
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  • Yoshi25688

    I think it’s kind of spoilerish when you talk about the next 9 levels. That’s just me, and I guess most would have played it or would know by now. But I remember I was disappointed in how short it was, then I finished the ninth and was pleasantly surprised.

    Amazing game!

    I’m glad late is never too late for you when it comes to reviews. Numerous times your reviews have piqued my interest in a game I had forgotten about, good stuff!

    • AussieGamer

      I thought that when I was writing it, but I thought that there are so many reviews out there who either haven’t finished the first nine levels, or think too much of themselves – they complain about the ease of the game. Actually, one website gave the game 79% because it was too easy, but a month or two later changed to score to 89% because they later realised there were more challenging levels.

      So I think it’s okay to point that out – if you think the game is easy, wait until you think you’ve finished it! =)

      • Yoshi25688

        Yeah I agree with ya there haha!

  • SKY

    Gr8 Review! Gotta figure out how to subscribe to this site by email!

    • AussieGamer

      Thanks for reading!

      We’re currently thinking about an emailing list, for now though you can subscribe to our RSS feed – most email programs (like Mail for Mac, etc) support RSS (or you can always use Google Reader). The link is – that’ll give you the latest updates as they’re posted :)

      • SKY

        Dang your fast! Thanks!