Friday, 2 December 2011

Super Mario 3D Land - Review

 The 3DS has been getting a lot of bad press recently. The Software has been under fire as not enough original titles available. That the best titles are available are just remakes of old games (Which are amazing, by the way!) The price drop led to speculation of the consoles failure. More recently, criticism towards the use of the 3D effect in the games and how most people do not use it.

How do Nintendo go about fighting these negatives? By turning to an old friend of course! It seems that a Nintendo console almost isn't taken seriously until Mario has his own game. This year though, we are treated to two games starring Nintendo's leading man. First, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 at the beginning of December.

Super Mario 3D Land is an entirely new game and is not a rehash of a previous title. Although, the game is full of tributes to the earlier titles, Super Mario Bros. 3 in particular. It all starts off the way you want all of them to start. As soon you insert the cartridge, Mario's voice greets with "Super Mario 3Dee Land!" and you cannot help but smile. That first smile is important; because it’s going to be there for whole time you are playing.

The Mushroom Kingdom is once again in danger. This time not only has Bowser kidnapped Princess Peach, he has also stolen all of the Tanooki leaves from the Tanooki tree. Can Mario rescue the Princess and defeat Bowser and his Tanooki powered army? In case you don't know the Tanooki leaf is what gives Mario his Racoon suit, complete with whipping tail.

The game is split into eight worlds. Each of the worlds is made up of six levels. Each level has its own theme and most of them have a unique twist. These range from traditional mushroom kingdom levels to haunted houses to underground dungeons and twisted castles. Favourite levels of mine include the level full of switching platforms which flip direction with your jump. This means that when you jump the platform you were on is going flip away from to the next position in front of you. This makes for a very tricky challenge. That is the beauty of this game is when you are being challenged to nasty section of platforms, you never get annoyed as you are enjoying the game so much. The game deals with problem sections by handing the player a special power-up to allow them invincibility, if they lose five lives in a row. Even if that does not help the play will be given a super power up which transports them to the end of the level. This makes things easier for younger players (and older too!) and makes sure that the player is always going forward and achieving.

The levels are quite short in some cases, but this actually helps the game. It is so easy to pickup for a quick blast. It feels like a nod to the iPhone style of gaming. The level design is incredible with so many tricks and gimmicks to make sure the quest to save Peach is never dull. New powers for Mario also crop up in the form of the Boomerang suit and the propeller box. The suit allows Mario to throw Boomerangs and is very useful for taking out stacked enemies. The propeller box shoots Mario high into the air and then gently floats him back to earth, the levels that incorporate the Propeller box are huge vistas in the sky with Mario launching and floating between carefully spaced platforms, which take the shape of some familiar items.

The 3D is really well utilised in this and at no point have felt the need to turn it off. There is even a switch in game to change the projection of the 3D to suit the user. The switch allows selecting whether the effect should balanced between increased depth and increased foreground effects. The 3D is quite useful to help with timing jumps which are going in to the screen.

Sound is a triumph. Every Mario hallmark is there. The classic Mario tunes are brought back to life fantastically. In several levels the music is actually in time to required jumps that you need to make.

Every aspect of the game is astounding and it’s what you expect from a Mario title. I would even go as far as saying that this is without a doubt the best Mario game I have played (I have not played the Galaxy games!). This game signals the arrival of the 3DS and with Mario Kart 7 out this very week. It’s a good to be a 3DS owner right now.

Verdict: 10 out of 10 (The 2nd best reason to get a 3DS)

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