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"[GAME (3DS)] Super Mario 3D Land"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Super Mario 3D Land'.
Wed 07/12/11 at 20:53
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
After what could charitably be called a ‘frosty reception’ to the 3DS back in March, Nintendo obviously had a long, hard think. Because of course it’s not like they’ve ever released a console without adequate first and third party support, right? I can picture the board meeting now, all folk scratching their heads at why Steel Diver or Super Monkey Ball 3D (the game I foolishly bought and completed on launch day) just haven’t done the numbers.

Then, after meandering for a few months, Nintendo released TLoZ:OoT - a game which almost certainly should have been a launch title. A sharp price cut followed, and now with the release of both Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 just in time for the consumer nightmare that is Christmas it seems that Ninty followers are finally being given the good stuff. It’s about here that I’d normally pose some rhetorical question concerning the quality of these titles, but I’d sooner just go on for a bit on how magnificent it all is.

Proudly sold as the first 3D Mario game built ‘from the ground up’ for a handheld, Super Mario 3D Land takes inspiration from pretty much the entirety of the series. The tanooki suit from SMB3 makes a comeback, as do the colourful abstract platforming worlds of Sunshine. The whole game has the polish of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the huge variety in visuals and gameplay is reminiscent of the Galaxy duo. The best Mario games are those that embrace the rich history of the series, yet find new ways to push an otherwise stagnant genre. SMB3DL does this admirably - even if the acronym is a marketing disaster.

As you would expect the worlds are bright and buzzing, popping with activity and colour. Never before has Mario looked so good – even more so when you turn up the 3D effect and see the clarity and depth of each area. Almost all feature some unique aspect featuring only in that level – a clever spin on an age-old mechanic, or a novel approach never seen before. Rarely does the game falter in providing an unrivalled platforming playground to run, jump and fly in; the whole thing feeling like some bonkers video game gymnasium. The controls are fluid (and streamlined compared to most 3D Mario outings), yet even with the reduced move set executing tricky manoeuvres across the ever-dynamic courses is a cause for utter elation.

Some early complaints centred around the game being too easy and compared to even Galaxy (which I found harder than the sequel) it wasn’t tough enough. Whilst the game offers support to newer players in the form of invincibility suits and automatic control after multiple lives are lost, I beg to differ – without wanting to spoil too much, I can assure you that things become extremely hard once you start aiming for all 3 Star Medals in the ‘bonus’ levels (and by ‘bonus’ I mean ‘the game, remixed, again’), and damn near impossible if you get as far as the mythical super-secret final stage. Sitting with a 5-star profile I’m still struggling with that gaming nightmare…

This is also a game perfectly suited to gamers like myself – those with jobs, and lives, and not a huge amount of uninterrupted time to sit down and have a ‘session’. This is the first game in a long time that I’ve taken out and about with me – playing the bite-size levels on the train to work, or during my lunch break. Seldom do I have the time to let a game take 50 or 100 hours away, and so the flexibility afforded by the game’s structure means it’s never an effort to play, for 5 minutes or 5 hours.

Of course, the game isn’t perfect. One or two of the new power-ups are really just a duplication of what was already there. The boss sections could have been more varied. Multiplayer of some kind would have been incredibly fun. But none of these, even together, are anywhere near enough of a down point to dwell upon. There’s simply far too much good stuff going on. Particular highlights include the propeller hat power-up levels (allowing Mario to whiz high up then float back to earth), the Boo levels (where Nintendo plays with your expectations of how all of SMB3DL’s gubbins work), and the pure platforming nirvana that is the floating-rotating-OHGODIFELLOFF platform levels.

Having now played the game for around 22 hours (almost at 100%!), it’s dawning on me that I haven’t played anything so intensively since… well, Super Mario Galaxy 2. The game is challenging without being stressful, bright without being twee, and mixes ideas without being incoherent. So often now games need to be about ‘the experience’ – ‘Brothers to the End’, ‘Finish the Fight’, all that pretentious nonsense. Super Mario 3D Land is about having fun, even when you’re failing. I still remember needing several decks of cigarettes to get through the nerve-wracking tension of something like Heavy Rain, and though it was ultimately enjoyable playing that kind of game all the time will eventually kill me. SM3DL is the antidote – the biggest stress I’ve got is a tower of Goombas needing a ground pound.

Whilst the genre may be experiencing a moderate resurgence through creative tools (thanks to the likes of LittleBigPlanet) and nostalgia (courtesy of the numerous HD remakes of PS2 classics), Mario titles are rare in that they are almost always extraordinary platforming games in their own right, where all the innovation is invested in making the core game better. Having seen other mascots fail to ascend from just two to three dimensions, it’s immensely satisfying to play Super Mario 3D Land -still doing platforming better than anyone else.

Completed game, unlocked bonuses, collected >300 star coins. Bought at Morrisons for £24.99
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Wed 07/12/11 at 20:53
Regular
"previously phuzzy."
Posts: 3,487
After what could charitably be called a ‘frosty reception’ to the 3DS back in March, Nintendo obviously had a long, hard think. Because of course it’s not like they’ve ever released a console without adequate first and third party support, right? I can picture the board meeting now, all folk scratching their heads at why Steel Diver or Super Monkey Ball 3D (the game I foolishly bought and completed on launch day) just haven’t done the numbers.

Then, after meandering for a few months, Nintendo released TLoZ:OoT - a game which almost certainly should have been a launch title. A sharp price cut followed, and now with the release of both Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 just in time for the consumer nightmare that is Christmas it seems that Ninty followers are finally being given the good stuff. It’s about here that I’d normally pose some rhetorical question concerning the quality of these titles, but I’d sooner just go on for a bit on how magnificent it all is.

Proudly sold as the first 3D Mario game built ‘from the ground up’ for a handheld, Super Mario 3D Land takes inspiration from pretty much the entirety of the series. The tanooki suit from SMB3 makes a comeback, as do the colourful abstract platforming worlds of Sunshine. The whole game has the polish of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and the huge variety in visuals and gameplay is reminiscent of the Galaxy duo. The best Mario games are those that embrace the rich history of the series, yet find new ways to push an otherwise stagnant genre. SMB3DL does this admirably - even if the acronym is a marketing disaster.

As you would expect the worlds are bright and buzzing, popping with activity and colour. Never before has Mario looked so good – even more so when you turn up the 3D effect and see the clarity and depth of each area. Almost all feature some unique aspect featuring only in that level – a clever spin on an age-old mechanic, or a novel approach never seen before. Rarely does the game falter in providing an unrivalled platforming playground to run, jump and fly in; the whole thing feeling like some bonkers video game gymnasium. The controls are fluid (and streamlined compared to most 3D Mario outings), yet even with the reduced move set executing tricky manoeuvres across the ever-dynamic courses is a cause for utter elation.

Some early complaints centred around the game being too easy and compared to even Galaxy (which I found harder than the sequel) it wasn’t tough enough. Whilst the game offers support to newer players in the form of invincibility suits and automatic control after multiple lives are lost, I beg to differ – without wanting to spoil too much, I can assure you that things become extremely hard once you start aiming for all 3 Star Medals in the ‘bonus’ levels (and by ‘bonus’ I mean ‘the game, remixed, again’), and damn near impossible if you get as far as the mythical super-secret final stage. Sitting with a 5-star profile I’m still struggling with that gaming nightmare…

This is also a game perfectly suited to gamers like myself – those with jobs, and lives, and not a huge amount of uninterrupted time to sit down and have a ‘session’. This is the first game in a long time that I’ve taken out and about with me – playing the bite-size levels on the train to work, or during my lunch break. Seldom do I have the time to let a game take 50 or 100 hours away, and so the flexibility afforded by the game’s structure means it’s never an effort to play, for 5 minutes or 5 hours.

Of course, the game isn’t perfect. One or two of the new power-ups are really just a duplication of what was already there. The boss sections could have been more varied. Multiplayer of some kind would have been incredibly fun. But none of these, even together, are anywhere near enough of a down point to dwell upon. There’s simply far too much good stuff going on. Particular highlights include the propeller hat power-up levels (allowing Mario to whiz high up then float back to earth), the Boo levels (where Nintendo plays with your expectations of how all of SMB3DL’s gubbins work), and the pure platforming nirvana that is the floating-rotating-OHGODIFELLOFF platform levels.

Having now played the game for around 22 hours (almost at 100%!), it’s dawning on me that I haven’t played anything so intensively since… well, Super Mario Galaxy 2. The game is challenging without being stressful, bright without being twee, and mixes ideas without being incoherent. So often now games need to be about ‘the experience’ – ‘Brothers to the End’, ‘Finish the Fight’, all that pretentious nonsense. Super Mario 3D Land is about having fun, even when you’re failing. I still remember needing several decks of cigarettes to get through the nerve-wracking tension of something like Heavy Rain, and though it was ultimately enjoyable playing that kind of game all the time will eventually kill me. SM3DL is the antidote – the biggest stress I’ve got is a tower of Goombas needing a ground pound.

Whilst the genre may be experiencing a moderate resurgence through creative tools (thanks to the likes of LittleBigPlanet) and nostalgia (courtesy of the numerous HD remakes of PS2 classics), Mario titles are rare in that they are almost always extraordinary platforming games in their own right, where all the innovation is invested in making the core game better. Having seen other mascots fail to ascend from just two to three dimensions, it’s immensely satisfying to play Super Mario 3D Land -still doing platforming better than anyone else.

Completed game, unlocked bonuses, collected >300 star coins. Bought at Morrisons for £24.99

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