SUPER MARIO 3D LAND REVIEW
See why Nintendo believed in a 3D system.
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Jan 16, 2012 14:56 (Jan 16, 2012 14:56)
Written by: Alex
Mario's status as an icon of gaming is well earned. Nearly every core title in the 'franchise' has innovated and moved gaming forward, demonstrating clearly what Nintendo's vision for their console has always been. And they manage to do this while consistently being charming, accessible, well made games.
"Super Mario 3D Land" is no exception to this pattern. Its solid platform game play is backed up by imaginative worlds, exuberant style and a use of 3D that (while not essential to play) enhances the overall experience.
Even Mario knows it now. After Mario Galaxy it became obvious that even the developers are acknowledging the ridiculous nature of Princes Peach's constant abductions. Opening with the pretty in pink princes being yet again dragged off by the Koopa King Bowser and Mario sets off after her.
As he does so a strong wind blows scattering the autumn leaves of the Tanooki tree across the land, softer years of fans begging for the return of the Tanooki suit Nintendo has finally given them what they want in spades. The leaves descend across the game's eight worlds and everyone gets their hands on them. Cue Goombas and Koopas with racoon tails filling the world.
It is past this tail filled mayhem, Koopa Kids and Bowser, which Mario must fight his way through to rescue Peach. Wonderfully familiar and a little comforting, it is an ideal frame for the new gameplay twist 3D land introduces.
3D or not 3D?
Super Mario 3D Land holds close to the Mario ethos and feel while managing to layer on those small surprises and tweaks that make the franchise titles so special. Retaining the run and jump mechanics of all classic Mario titles, changes to the basic rules of play are unchanged with controls that feel instantly familiar despite necessary alterations to accommodate a new perspective to the action.
With a pulled out fixed perspective angles Super Mario 3D Land is the first 3D Mario game to really take control of the camera, locking the view to a pulled out third person. Initially this did cause a few problems with lining up attacks but it was an issue I still overcame, and was very happy to. Spending time with the viewing angle soon reveal it's importance and brilliance. By controlling the games perspective Nintendo have been able to manage the player’s interactions more completely than in any recent Mario title creating a far tighter experience.
Super Mario 3D Land makes some of the best use of 3D yet on the small system. From its perspective puzzles to the ability to choose between 'inny' and 'outty' 3D at a touch of the d-pad the game makes great use of the systems 3D function but manages to remain true to Nintendo’s promise that depth functionality is never vital to the experience. In any situation where 3D forms an integral part of a puzzle there is always a guide/camera button to alter the view and reveal the truth of the situation. One of the early puzzles that stand out (if viewed in 2D) sees a seemingly solid arrangement of blocks, but when walked across Mario falls through an unseen hole. Standing on an in game button shifts the camera angle forty-five degrees revealing the perspective trickery that formed the illusion of a solid path where blocks were in fact out of line. While the 2D solution is not as elegant as the 3D option that instantly reveals the trick, it still works well to facilitate both modes of play.