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3DS  header logo

Super Mario 3D Land

For: 3DS

Star quality

Product: Super Mario 3D Land | Developer: Nintendo | Publisher: Nintendo | Format: 3DS | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Super Mario 3D Land 3DS, thumbnail 1
It was disappointing when the Nintendo 3DS didn't launch with a truly killer title to play on it. In fact, it's even more disappointing that we've had to wait eight months for a true Nintendo classic to pop up on the system.

And here it is, in the form of the world's favourite plucky red plumber and his Goomba-bashing, fire-flowering, flagpole-jumping antics.

Super Mario 3D Land is not the best Mario game ever. It may not be the best handheld Mario game. But it's still an absolute delight, with ideas taken from past titles in the franchise, merged together with some excellent stereoscopic 3D concepts.

If you've already bought a Nintendo 3DS, you don't really need to read this review - you were always going to buy Mario anyway. But it's nice to know that you're finally getting that quality, original 3DS title that you've been waiting for.

Chomp chomp on this

Super Mario 3D Land won't surprise you very often. It offers gameplay that's a mix of New Super Mario Bros, Mario Galaxy, and hints of other past titles.

It works because the blend is spot-on. Levels are usually linear in their layout, with worlds hovering above falls into oblivion and featuring a variety of classic Mario enemies scattered about.

The game looks fantastic, with graphics that are on a par with Mario Sunshine. The stereoscopic 3D is used to great effect, too, with special 'Mystery Box' levels that purposely mess with your mind and place platforms in such a way that you can't tell which are in front and which are behind Mario.

For those people who find the 3D effects nauseating, Nintendo has found a solution. Pressing up and down on the D-pad allows you to choose the type of 3D you want - the effect can go 'into' the screen or come 'out' of it. One of the two is bound to suit you.

Hopefully, more games will pick up on this feature, as it genuinely could make the console more accessible to more gamers.

Catching a Tanooki

The Tanooki tail power-up features heavily in 3D Land, allowing Mario to hover slowly downwards and bounce to greater heights that he usually can.

You'll find that the power-up is available during pretty much every level, and you'll use it often. It adds a dimension to Mario's handling, making this Super Mario 3D Land feel palpably different from a lot of previous Mario titles.

The tail isn't the only blast from the past, as 3D Land is packed with nostalgia-inducing material. Goombas, Whomps, Chain Chomps, secret warp zones, flagpoles at the end of each level - it's all been built to accommodate both new players and Mario veterans.

Levels are also timed, similar to the very first Mario title - although it's easy to forget this since you'll rarely even come close to running out of time, even when you go hunting for those last few Star Coins in each level.


Super Mario 3D Land is a rip-roaring success, and will no doubt fuel hundreds of thousands of 3DS purchases this Christmas.

You should note, however, that Mario enthusiasts will most likely be left wanting more rather quickly. You can romp through the main storyline in around four hours, even if you're taking your time and collecting the Star Coins.

Without spoiling anything, the extra bits you unlock will then take you another four hours to complete. Overall, to see everything and collect it all, we're talking a total of ten hours of gameplay, which is rather short for a Mario title.

It's also one of the easiest Mario games ever released. During our entire playthrough, we died fewer than 50 times, and rarely felt challenged.

The Star Coins barely add any replay value, either, as they're so easy to find and collect. We ended up grabbing more than 80 per cent of the coins during our first run-through without even trying that hard. They're rarely hidden, and usually just out in the open in easy-to-reach areas.

These issues aren't enough to bring down the experience, however, especially when you factor in the little secrets hidden here and there and the StreetPass functionality.

Super Mario 3D Land is exactly what the doctor ordered, and yet another unsurprisingly great addition to the Mario canon. If you haven't bagged yourself a Nintendo 3DS yet, now might be a good time to do so.
Super Mario 3D Land
Reviewer photo
Mike Rose | 14 November 2011
Time to dust off that 3DS and let Mario do what he does best - Super Mario 3D Land is pure entertainment from start to finish
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Nov 2011
Post count:
rickoshay | 21:36 - 17 November 2011
Dying platform? It ain't even started. I think the platform that will decline as a SERIOUS gaming platform is the iOS platforms. More people moving to Android, botched 4S launch and a device that's really not very good for gaming.

For an entertainment device iOS is better. For gaming the 3DS smacks the iPhone into next week. The games on iOS cost a fraction of the price and lets be honest...are really not as good. Compare Rayman 2 on both - I've got it on both platforms and I wont play it on the iPhone - rubbish touchscreen controls which when you use them block most of the screen...or on the 3DS with hardware controls...AND 3D where it's a great game and playable.

And I have both. So I talk from experience.
Nov 2011
Post count:
Weum67 | 19:49 - 17 November 2011
The director of the game stated that it has just as much content as the Mario Galaxy titles. Just broke up into smaller intervals over more shorter levels. It is by far the best Mario handheld game to date, and on par with the likes of Galaxy 1&2. This and Mario Kart 7 will do for the 3DS what the Mario and Mario Kart titles did for the slow starting DS, and help to make Nintendo King this holiday once again. Putting it in a great spot for the countless 3DS only titles that will be launching early next year. They are Twomps not Whomps :p
Nov 2011
Post count:
Weum67 | 19:48 - 17 November 2011
They also take after the development teams huge success Mario Galaxy 1&2
Nov 2011
Post count:
Weum67 | 19:43 - 17 November 2011
I consider myself a seasoned Mario player. I can run through any of the main titles with ease. The author of this is correct in that fact the game is easy the first time through. Stupid easy really, not to mention if you die 5 times you get a white Tanooki suit that makes you invincible, or die 10 times to get the classic P-Wing which will allow you to just fly through the whole level. But you may find the game a tad more difficult the last world or so depending on your skill level. Id like to add the Bowser fights are a really cool reworking of the classic nes style Mario encounters with a 3D twist. Making it the coolest encounter with everyone’s favorite evil turtle…lizard king thing, next to the finally in NSMBW. But back on track, it‘s the second play through that will put even seasoned veterans on edge. One of the more challenging Mario experiences I’ve had to date. The levels are mostly the same, with minor changes to the terrain increasing the difficulty, while a few are totally new reworks of the level. They also take after the development teams huge success Mario Galaxy 1
Sep 2011
Post count:
homerojay | 15:14 - 16 November 2011
Love the game. I've only had it for a couple of days, but I've enjoyed it more than any other 3DS game so far.
Dec 2008
Post count:
klouud | 17:03 - 14 November 2011
Does anyone have dust on their 3DS? Its too new to have dust on it. This game alone is probably reason enough for people to buy this dying platform. As much as I am tempted, I'm not gonna do it tho.

This franchise is my favorite... sady face...