“Super Mario 3D Land” brings the Italian plumber into the third dimension, literally, as the game makes use of the 3D capabilities of the 3DS without the need for glasses.
As fans can probably guess, the menacing Bowser has captured ever-helpless Princess Peach and it is Mario’s job to save her yet again. The overall format has not changed since the series began in 1985. Players must stomp through Goombas, Koopas and Cheep Cheeps alike through eight worlds with an encounter against Bowser at the end of each. Mario receives help along the way in the form of classic power-ups such as the mushroom and fire-flower, as well as new additions like the propeller hat, which sends players skyward when used. The Tanooki suit also makes a return, donning Mario in a raccoon ensemble and allowing him to whip enemies and slow his descent from jumps.
Players will need everything they can grab to stop Bowser and save the princess. Things start out simple enough in the beginning, refreshing nostalgic fans and easing new players in but soon add to the challenge. Gathering as many coins and green 1-up mushrooms is key to making it through the various levels without seeing the disappointment of the “Game Over” screen.
One of the biggest features of the game, the 3D aspect, works exceptionally well and should constantly be kept on, as the 2D alone doesn’t do it justice. The variety of situations that it allows adds to the fun factor but sometimes it can be troublesome due to the camera. Players may make a jump that appears to work only to realize that the intended target was in a slightly different spot and die.
Besides trying to make it to the end of a level, there are optional objectives in each stage. From finding hidden star coins used to unlock new levels, activating music notes to create a power-up and discovering hidden areas, there is plenty to keep fans busy.
After completing the main story, replayable levels become more challenging, 3D images are viewable and Mario’s brother Luigi, who handles somewhat differently, can be used.
Overall, “Super Mario 3D Land” is more of the same, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Fans will be pleased and new players will be drawn in.