I spent several hours this past weekend playing deep into Super Mario 3D Land for Nintendo 3DS, Mario’s first big new adventure since Super Mario Galaxy 2 blasted onto Wii in May 2010. You’ll have to wait until Wednesday to read my Super Mario 3D Land review when the embargo lifts, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share some fun observations right now.
First, a little crash course for those of you who aren’t familiar with Super Mario 3D Land. As the name implies, Super Mario 3D Land is a 3D single-player game for Nintendo 3DS that will be in stores this Sunday, November 13. It’s an all-new game built from the ground up, and the first 3D platforming title to arrive on 3DS.
Oh yeah, the Tanooki suit returns and will play a big role in the game from the very first level.
Here are those fun observations I promised, and check back Wednesday for my complete Super Mario 3D Land review.
Up in the Air
There are some levels in Super Mario 3D Land where fear of heights is not an option. If turned on, the 3D effect adds to the depth of these levels and puts Mario in vertical spaces he’s never been in before. One of these levels in particular is one of my favorites as Mario starts out really high and must make his way down toward the end.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
Mario brings all his standard moves to Super Mario 3D Land, but he’s also got a new one: rolling. Like a somersault that lasts several rotations, Mario can roll around to plow into enemies or pick up a little speed. It’s not a required move to use, but is a fun one.
Levels designed to explicitly take advantage of 3D are noted as such with a small little 3D icon in the lower corner of the screen. There are usually puzzle block rooms that resemble a Q-Bert board, where you have to jump up the blocks to get to a coin medal. They can be completed in 2D, but are much easier to figure out in 3D, especially as they increase in complexity deeper into the game.
The clock is back, but this time it’s game-wide and not part of bonus levels. You can still get through each of the world’s levels without having to stress over the time. When looking for well-hidden coin medals beginning in World 3 or other secret areas, the clock can become your worst enemy.
Playing through Super Mario 3D Land uncovers nods – big and small – to multiple past Mario games. Half the fun is discovering them, so you won’t find any spoilers here!
– Dan Bradley
Click here to pre-order Super Mario 3D Land for $39.99 at Amazon.com.