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Content Warning: This game is rated E and is as clean as every Mario game. Nothing to worry about.
Needless to say, I LOVED Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U. When I found out that 3D World stemmed from 3D Land well… I had to play it! I picked up a 3DS this year and besides Pokemon, this was the game I wanted to play. So, do I love it as much as I loved 3D World?
Bowser kidnaps Peach and now Mario is going to save her. The only thing to really comment on here is that after completing each world, you get sent a picture of Bowser torturing Peach (in a fun, harmless way). Some of them are amusing, and they seem to get Mario’s heart pumping. It is an easy way to entice you to continue playing on to the next world.
Super Mario 3D Land is a strange game to describe to someone who has never played it. Imagine a 2D Mario game, but created into 3D Worlds. You have a midway checkpoint to reach and three large golden coins to collect in each level. These can be hidden and require exploration to find. Sometimes they can be as simple as just having the skill to reach them. Either way they are necessary to collect.
There are eight worlds with six levels each. This means there are forty-eight total levels. Pretty nice if I might say so myself. The sixth level of every world requires a certain number of large golden coins to unlock. This isn’t really much of a problem as you usually have the number of coins in one play through.
Actually, the game is quite short. You can only play as Mario and the power-ups are nothing you haven’t seen before. Some of the levels are inventive, but there wasn’t really much of a challenge. I completed all eight worlds in about threeish hours… Then you defeated Bowser and the day is saved.
Except, the game is almost self aware that it was pretty easy. How is that so? Eight more worlds unlock and are dubbed the “Special Worlds” and holy cow… They ramp up the difficulty.
You unlock Luigi along the way, and he can jump higher, but still it is a challenge. The eight worlds are redesigns of the original eight and will kick your butt unless you stay on your toes and at the top of your game. I found myself legitimately challenged in these worlds. You think you are home free after Special World seven. After all, you have two hundred and twenty coins of the two hundred and seventy possible so far, you finally are on the home stretch.
Then you see the first level of Special World eight… It requires two hundred and forty coins! Dang! What was a three hour easy romp turns into a twelve hour challenge pretty quickly. Now when I say the game turns into a challenge, I mean that in the best way possible. At no time are there cheap deaths.
Everything is on you and you feel a sense of relief and accomplishment upon the completion of a Special World level. Finding and acquiring all three golden coins in each level requires real gaming skill and exploration. I must say that the Special Worlds singlehandedly made this game much better.
Also, I need to admit that the thirty second timer levels made me play Mario in a way that I have never played a platformer, and that includes Sonic. The speed and urgency are ramped up, and I loved it.
Super Mario 3D Land is definitely an aesthetically pleasing game. The vibrant colors and worlds keep everything a joy to look at. Bland, brown shooters become all the more unappealing afterwards.
The main overworld theme is so catchy I found myself humming it when I wasn’t playing. Darn you, Nintendo! I have nothing bad to say about anything in this section, whatsoever.
I highly recommend this game to anyone with a 3DS. I picked it up on sale for fifteen bucks, but I would have still paid the thirty dollars it typically runs for. A very enjoyable twelve hours, and I can see completionists enjoying the search for all of the golden coins. If you already played 3D World then this is a step back, but then again this was released two years before that game.
The Bottom Line
A must own for any owner of a 3DS.