The controls are easy to learn and use. You can also use the tactile screen to keep an extra item which can be a life saver a lot of time.
The difficulty of this game is well balanced, however, there is one problem that breaks it which will be explained later in this review.
With time, the game becomes harder and harder, but in a good way. If you’re unable to beat a level and lose 5 lives, you will gain access to the White Super Leaf so that Mario can take advantage of the White Tanooki suit. This will make Mario invincible and the level will be a lot easier to play. It’s perfect for those who are learning how to play or if they’re finding the level hard.
One thing that breaks the difficulty of the game is the Stone Super Leaf. If you finish the game and get access to the Special World, there is a Stone Super Leaf. What is the difference? Well, when you jump and press L (or R), you will become a stone statue for a limited time. This will make you invincible to attacks and hide you from normal enemies, breaking the difficulty of the game and making it too easy (including when fighting bosses).
The game has excellent level designs. Almost every level will be a wonderful experience to the player. The only level I didn’t liked was ‘World 7-1’ where you can actually skip the level and win in less than 10 seconds. In addition, getting all the star coins can be really challenging because some of them are very well hidden.
Players also have access to little challenges for stars and they can be acceded once per 24 hours. This is a nice touch, but those are a little limited in quantity sadly.
Once you finish the game, you gain access to the Special Worlds. The Special Worlds are basically the same levels just a bit harder with minor changes and speed running versions of the bosses. It’s also possible to unlock another character and it’s Mario’s green twin brother, Luigi.
I just needed to add this category because I have to explain the 3 different suits for Mario (or Luigi if you unlocked him).
When you begin the game, you start off with Super Mario (the tall Mario). If you get damaged, you will be transformed to the shorter version of Mario. Touching a checkpoint or red mushroom transforms Mario/Luigi back into Super Mario/Luigi.
If you touch a fire flower, you will get the Fire suit. This classic suit is simple, the only difference you can find are the fire balls.
If you touch the Super Leaf, you will get the Tanooki suit. This suit allows the character to attack with his tail and float for a limited time period.
Lastly, there is a new suit that was introduced in this game, but sadly not so much used – the Boomerang suit. The only difference between the Fire suit and this one is throwing boomerangs instead of fire balls, but with a good addition. The boomerangs can hit more than one enemy while also having the ability to collect rings and star rings, which is very useful in a lot of levels.
The graphics of the game are great. It’s one of the best looking games from the eShop. The shading and the textures look great, being a brilliant and colorful adventure.
The 3D effect is good in this game, but sadly some levels will have a strong ghost effect. When this ghost effect doesn’t exist, the experience using the feature is good. Sadly, playing special parts of the game can be a little more difficult with the 3D disabled, such as bonus levels. This isn’t really important, but new users with a Nintendo 2DS might find it very annoying.
The interactivity of the game is also awesome, for example when you find toads in the levels, giving you an item or some hints, when using the microphone or shaking the console in the photos of the story, make this game a stunning experience overall.
However, sometimes, the draw distance of most of the enemies can be noted when you’re playing, which can be the only bad part of the game’s graphics.
The quality and variety of the sounds in this game are outstanding and really enjoyable to hear. The melodies in the levels are also a nice touch.
The music soundtrack is really good, but the main problem with Mario games is the recycled music. You can find new songs, of course, but I bet at least half of the game’s soundtrack is recycled. There is nothing wrong with that, but fans of the series can get tired of hearing the same songs in every game. However, it’s still memorable and a pleasure for your ears.
The voice acting, well, the little voice acting the game has, is good. If you play with Luigi, for example the last level, the voice of Peach when calling Luigi is too much forced (because the mouth animations is for Mario). This isn’t too much important, but it’s horrible to hear and ruins the experience a little when you’re using the green brother. For example, when playing with Mario, Peach says “Maaariooooo!” and that sounds good, but when playing with Luigi, her voice will be something like “Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuigi!”, and that sounds really horrible.
The presentation is good. They show you a short, simple and adorable story with some good 3D cutscenes.
Sadly, they don’t show you the controls of the game unless you wait for title screen to finish and watch them. Learning the controls is a piece of cake, but it’s still negative points for the presentation.
The game is also translated (common for a game by Nintendo), based in the console language configuration.
VERDICT: 90/100 (Masterpiece)
Super Mario 3D Land is one of the best games for the Nintendo 3DS. There is no reason for not playing it, unless you don’t have the console. After two years from its release, this game still shows what the 3DS can do and how much fun you can have while playing it.
Here’s a short version of this review:
+ Excellent gameplay.
+ Excellent controls.
+ Excellent graphics.
+ Excellent level design.
+ Excellent camera.
+ The Zelda and Donkey Kong references.
+ The hidden secrets.
+ Good little details with the microphone and the gyroscope.
+ Good music.
+ Tanooki suit is back.
+ New Boomerang suit is good.
= Too much nostalgia references.
= The 3D effect looks good, but some levels have a lot of ghost effect.
= Recycled music.
= The short but excellent explained story.
= The amount of levels.
= Ship bosses are easy and repetitive.
= Some times, you can see the draw distance of the enemies.
– If you want to know the controls, you must wait until the title screen ends.
– The voice of Peach when you’re playing the game is too forced.
– The game difficult can be broken.