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~Ephesians 5:16

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Super Mario 3D Land Review

Super Mario 3D Land is a special game. This is coming from someone who has played all the platformers, one who has been playing the Mario games for years. Super Mario Galaxy 2 came out a year before this game was released, you can see a lot of similarities between the two. Well, that's obvious of course since this game was developed by the same team that did the Galaxies. That's one reason alone to pick up this game. The first Super Mario Galaxy revolutionized Mario platforming, or heck, Wii platforming in general. It took the concept of Super Mario 64 and increased it ten-fold. You had the definitive Mario experience. Then three years later Nintendo unleashed the most unexpected sequel ever, Super Mario Galaxy 2. It took the greatness of the first one, and somehow made it even more enjoyable. I consider myself a pro at these games, I know the way they work. The first one I actually beat was Sunshine, way back when I got it in 2004. (A bit underrated if you ask me.) The point is, this game was the primary reason for me getting a 3DS. Yeah I expected a lot, as we all should. Since Galaxy 2, it had certain expectations to live up to. Once again, Nintendo has shattered those expectations and has delivered yet another modern classic.

I'm going to attempt to make the story sound more epic than it really is. "It begins when a terrible storm descends upon the Mushroom Kingdom. The next day it is reported that Princess Peach has been captured by Bowser. Mario is up the challenge, but the stakes are higher than ever as he journeys through dangerous lands for an epic battle royale against his mortal enemy." Yeah, the story sounds a lot more epic than it really is. The whole kidnap-Princess-Peach-thing won't be going away anytime soon apparently. By now I've accepted that. For a Mario platformer, you gotta think less of the story. The gameplay has always made up for a lack of plot. The first Galaxy had basically the same story, but managed be a space epic with actual emotion. 3D Land follows in those footsteps, but doesn't quite live up in that department. However, the gameplay, level design, soundtrack, and final boss makes this game one of the best small console games you will ever play.

I'm surprised at how fast and sudden the game throws you in. There's no tutorial stage, it just throws you into the first level, you're on your own. For pros like me, you will jump in with ease. For new players, it might be a bit tougher to get use to the controls. At first, the analog stick felt a bit strange, but after the first level, it feels a natural. It's Galaxy with a Super Mario 64 setting on a small console, it's the definitive 3DS experience. The gameplay is, in one word, fantastic. You can really have a blast controlling the red-hatted plumber. I remember sometimes how I was falling, but thanks to some insane wall-jumping and timing, I made it back onto the ledge. You can really pat yourself on the back at these moments.

Once again, you will play in some wonderfully designed stages. Some concepts are borrowed from Galaxy 2, such as the red and blue platforms, but remains its own thing for the most part. I noticed that some of the sound effects are the same ones from the Galaxies. It was awesome to see the Tanooki suit back in action, it is used wonderfully. Another new suit, boomerang, is pretty cool. I noticed that the game really decreased the amount of time Star power lasts. It was also a neat concept to have some of the enemies with the Tanooki suit. Mario shrinking down to size is back. I prefer the heath bar, but both work. Shrinking down does have a nostalgic feel.

The soundtrack is another amazing work of art. It really brings up the scope, like with Galaxies. While the soundtrack of this game doesn't compare to those, it's still stellar. I was surprised that Bowser Jr. didn't appear. The bosses in this game are really the only negative aspect. They are just two Koopaling wannabes, and just gell dull after the fourth time battling them. I would have liked to see some diversity in that department, should have brought in characters like Petey Piranha. Anyways, the part that made the game was the final battle between Mario and Bowser. This is by far their greatest battle yet. Thought the final battle in New Super Mario Bros. Wii was intense? Think again. The Star Coins make a proud return here. There are 290 to collect, so that adds to great replay value. Though I would have liked a better reward for getting all of them, the reward the game gives you is too simple.

Overall, as stated in the very first sentence in this review, Super Mario 3D Land is a special game. It's Mario platforming on the go, what more can one want? The 3D is nothing more than a gimmick, but it's a fun gimmick, it really brings the levels out. While the game isn't that challenging for pros like me, (not including the Special Worlds, the latter ones are really challenging) it's still a fun play. It's the definitive 3DS experience, and that is why it's going to get a perfect score. There are no major glitches to speak of, it's perfect platforming. Maybe if this was a launch title, the 3DS wouldn't have had such a slow start. Pick up Super Mario 3D Land, pro or newcomer, it is the most fun you'll have on a small console.


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