But what is this? It's a game that was already reviewed on SuperPhillip Central in the past, Super Mario 3D Land! Well, this milestone of a moment on SPC is perfect for this new type of review I have on the site. It's a Review Redux. No, it's not a redo of a review exactly, but it's more my returning to a game and posting my overall thoughts about it in the present. What changed? What stayed the same opinion-wise? That's the beauty of the Review Redux. (Also, between you and me, it also gives me an excuse to replay games without feeling like I'm wasting time not reviewing new ones!)
Check out this, the 700th review on SuperPhillip Central with my return to Super Mario 3D Land with pictures by yours truly! For SuperPhillip Central's original Super Mario 3D Land review, look no further than this link.
Two different tastes, 2D and 3D Mario, put together for one delicious gaming concoction.
In the early years of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo was really trying to sell the idea of autostereoscopic 3D to the masses. Some games did this better than others. Some used it for an "ooh" and "aah" effect that was while cool, didn't really affect gameplay at all. However, there was one game in the 3DS lineup early on that really showed that the ability to perceive depth with the stereoscopic 3D of the Nintendo 3DS system could very much improve the gameplay experience. Super Mario 3D Land not only sold the concept of 3D well by implementing a great sense of depth to judge distances to jumps and platforms, but it also provided some visual trickery as well to impress.
A new handheld made Nintendo want to have players engage in a new experience with Mario. I'm not just referring to the usage of stereoscopic 3D to improve the gaming experience. No, I'm also talking about the structure, the very foundation of Super Mario 3D Land. Its levels are obstacle courses like the 2D games with very little room for the intense exploration found in the 3D Mario games, particularly Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. In essence, Super Mario 3D Land is a mix between the 2D, fairly linear obstacle courses of the classic Super Mario Bros. line of games and the 3D movement more modern Mario games have possessed.
|Beginning levels have plenty of wide open space for Mario and players to get used to the controls.|
Mario does not have the same wide repertoire of moves as he did in past 3D Mario games. However, for a game like Super Mario 3D Land, all of these acrobatic stunts the plump plumber could perform aren't exactly necessary. He can still wall jump, he can still perform a long jump (perfect for launching himself across long chasms as well as reaching the top of the flagpole at the end of a given level), he can do his well known backflip, and he can do a side flip if you move the Control Pad in one direction and then quickly in the opposite while jumping. The controls might be more accessible to those learning how to play 3D Mario games with better fluidity, but by no means are they dumbed down to the point that veterans players will feel insulted.
|Mario and Bowser go back quite a ways. Like I said in my original review, you gotta admire Bowser's spunk.|
|I guess Mario isn't invited to this pool party. Goombas were always selfish creatures.|
Levels aren't necessarily left to right affairs either. Many times you'll be moving away from the front of the screen into the background, really selling that 3D depth I was talking about earlier. One level is set in a forest, having Mario leap on horizontal ropes to bounce up the side of a tree (of course while avoiding enemies like fireball-spewing Piranha Plants and invincible Fuzzies). Another has Mario jumping on rotating box platforms in a sky setting, requiring careful timing and precision so he doesn't get carried off into the abyss below. Then there are artifacts from Super Mario Galaxy, such as the platforms that flip whenever Mario jumps, or beat block platforms that appear and disappear with the beat played in the level. Additionally, enjoyable levels and mainstays of the 2D Mario series such as auto-scrolling levels, airships, ghost houses, and lava-filled fortresses will require Mario's attention.
|These donut lifts will give Mario a lift, but only for a limited time before they drop towards the abyss.|
Like the levels in the first eight worlds, the second eight worlds contain a collectible known as Star Medals. There are three of these placed in each level of the game, and many are hidden in some precarious locations. This is where an exploration aspect of Super Mario 3D Land comes in. Many levels have secret areas hidden off the beaten path, just outside of the player's view if they were just running through the level normally. Collecting these becomes mandatory for the second half of Super Mario 3D Land, as many of the later levels are locked behind these medals. If you don't have enough, you can't unlock these levels. This can be an annoyance if you haven't been collecting Star Medals throughout the game, because then you have to return to past levels to collect them. Not the most fun if your mind was set on continuing to make progress towards beating the game. That said, the Star Medals are fun to seek out and allows players to enjoy the level design even further, so why wouldn't you go after the Star Medals to begin with?
|Mario games and airships: these go together like a plumber and a Fire Flower.|
|Speaking of the Tanooki Suit, it's back, but it may make the game a little TOO easy for some players.|
There's a lot of beauty in Super Mario 3D Land. Sure, there's little time to take it all in when you're racing against the timer to beat each level, but just letting Mario's leg stretch out as you survey each environment shows an immaculate amount of detail for such an early Nintendo 3DS release. A particular pyramid level is an example where you wouldn't ordinarily even notice the insane detail of the pyramid bricks, chiseled with a complex pattern. Speaking of bricks, the rain-drenched bricks on the final tower you reach before facing Bowser in the final showdown are absolutely astonishing with their shimmering texture. I doubt I have to even go into how amazing the 3D effect of Super Mario 3D Land truly is. The game was built for it, allowing you to use two types of 3D, one that pops out the characters and environments while the other makes it so it's like looking into a box. In addition to the visuals, the music delights with a cheery and memorable main theme and other catchy tunes abound.
|That's right, Mario. Just stretch out those legs while we admire the scenery!|
[SPC Says: A]