Super Mario 3D Land is a 3D Mario platformer that came out in November 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS (retail version; as of 2012 the game is available from the Nintendo eShop as well). Unlike earlier 3D Mario games, the style of 3D Land is essentially a blend between 2D and 3D Mario: Many elements, from linear level structure to Super Mushroom-based health to old-school power-ups like the Tanooki Suit, have been implemented into the 3D games for the first time. It's best described by Shigeru Miyamotohimself as "...more like a 3D Mario that plays like a 2D Mario game."The premise is that a tree full of Tanooki Leaves is stripped of its leaves in a violent storm. When Mario and some Toads check the tree on the next day, they receive a letter from Bowser that he captured Peach again. His minions have also used the Tanooki Leaves to gain flying and spinning powers. Mario then sets off to save the day once more.Despite the name, this has nothing to do with the Game Boy game or that series as a whole beyond being a part of the same overall franchise.A Wii U sequel with 4-player co-op multiplayer, Super Mario 3D World, was released November 2013.
This game provides examples of:
Actually a Doombot: The False Bowsers. They can be told from the real deal by their Tanooki tails.
Anti-Poop Socking : After playing for a while, a message comes up reminding to take regular breaks.
The most convenient methods of finding more power ups are the Mystery Boxes, which refresh daily, or the Toad Houses, which are only restocked outside of getting a Game Over by going outside and finding Streetpass hits.
Arc Symbol: The Tanooki tail, seen on the logo, many of the enemies, and even false Bowsers.
Art Shift: The pictures Mario receives throughout the game resemble the drawn artwork of the early Mario games, notably from Super Mario Bros. 3 onwards.
Aside Glance: Bowser makes one right before the ground beneath him and Mario breaks before the final battle.
Auto-Scrolling Level: Now with 3D areas! This game handles the traditional auto scroll a little differently: You are no longer "pushed" by the boundary; you can go past it. But once you're offscreen long enough, the game considers you dead.
Bag of Sharing: When switching between Mario and Luigi, each retains the active and held power-up the other had.
Bedsheet Ghost: Peepa, a new type of ghost that appears alongside the standard Boos. They mostly appear in groups, but tend to move around less than Boos.
Boss Arena Idiocy: Bowser keeps up the tradition of installing devices in his castles that are specifically designed to ensure his downfall. In this game's case, they're bridge-destroying buttons with his insignia on them that dump him into searing lavanote similarly to the axes from the original game.
In an unintentional example, Bowser never bothers to see that Mario can easily just walk on the railings of the bridge that can easily collapse with a press of a button.
Cap: The maximum number of lives one can carry is 1,110.
Chekhov's Gun: Cardboard cutouts of enemies and power-ups appear frequently throughout the game, most often to fool you into thinking it's the real thing. When you finally "defeat" the real Bowser, you find Peach stranded atop a castle. Or so it seems...
Convection Schmonvection: In addition to the series' usual use of this trope, one of the game's levels (specifically, S2-3) has water coming from a lava pit.
Copy And Paste Environments: The majority of Special World levels are repeats of earlier levels, but with harder enemy/platform placements, shorter time limits, Cosmic Mario chases, etc.
Cutscene Power to the Max: Mario and the Toads all using Tanooki Suits to fly Peach back to the castle. It's a double moment in that Tanooki Suits couldn't fly that far originally, even if Mario skipped all the stages, and the suit's flight abilities weren't available in this game.
Crapsaccharine World: Say hello to world 8-2, a lush, grassy meadow filled to the brim with flamethrowers.
Damsel out of Distress: Peach, of all people. As the photographs you get during the course of the game show, while she doesn't actually succeed in escaping from Bowser and his army, she certainly isn't above trying to kick some Goomba ass in her attempts to escape.
Dark Reprise: The Power-Up fanfare gets a minor chord version that plays in the cutscene showing the Goombas using the Magic Leaves.
Death Throws: As usual in 2D Mario titles, Mario does this when he loses a life. This is a rare example of this trope occurring in a game on a 3D plane.
Dem Bones: Per Mario tradition, Dry Bones are recurring enemies in castle levels. Dry Bowser from New Super Mario Bros. returns in a special world.
Notably, the game makes the otherwise ornamental 3D feature an actual gameplay mechanic. Playing with the 3D off puts you at a disadvantage.
Sometimes cardboard cutouts of various things appear just to screw with you.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Much like Super Mario 64, you're forbidden from exiting courses (even the ones you've beaten) when you're in midair, thereby terminating the age-old trick of exiting the course right before you fall to your doom.
There's another difficulty spike that starts near the end of Special World 7. You know those speed run levels? You know those levels where Cosmic Mario is following you? Guess what? Nearly every level starting from S7-Castle is now a combination of both.
Distaff Counterpart: Boom Boom got one named Pom Pom◊. She wields a boomerang and has a counterattack that involves trying to smash Mario with her shell instead of just spinning around the room like Boom Boom.
Extended Gameplay: Eight challenging bonus worlds in addition to the eight normal ones.
Fake Longevity: Too many examples to mention, but chief among them are: having to complete a stage again if you just want a power up, which becomes a problem if you're in a level that requires the Super Leaf to get a Star Medal, and the level doesn't have any (it's either that or Save Scumming), having to essentially complete the entire game all over again with Luigi just to get one of the five starsnote Luckily, you don't have to get the Star Medals or gold flags again and unlock Special World "8-crown".
Many levels require the extra jumping power you get from a Tanooki or Statue Leaf in order to hit the very top of the flagpole, to get the golden flag bonus. Reached the end without one? Have fun playing through the entire level again! This is especially annoying in boss levels.
Fireballs: The Fire Flower's first (permanent) 3D outing puts a spin on its fireballs' bouncy nature by having them ricochet off walls continuously until it either fizzles out or hits an enemy.
Foreshadowing: One of the collectible photos depicts something that will happen in Super Mario 3D World. In the photo, Princess Peach dresses in a Tanooki Suit. (So are the Toads, but they can be seen like this throughout the Special World portion of the game.) The developers even had 3D World in mind during development of 3D Land! Though the final Tanooki Peach isn't wearing a dress, but a suit with very puffy pants.
Genre Throwback: To classic 2D Mario games, especially Super Mario Bros. 3. However, there are references to other games, such as Bowser and his duplicates being defeated similarly to in the very first Super Mario Bros. (as well as the fact that there are fake Bowsers in the first place) and the bonus-granting musical notes occasionally playing the main level music from Super Mario World when collected.
Get Back Here Boss: The (False) Bowser battles in this game work little more than segments of the level in which each one tries to kill Mario as he gets to the end of the stage.
A 1-up trick was actually discovered five months before the game's release. It's the classic Koopa Shell Bounce.
Another way is to jump on Pom-Pom's head, and then just stay on her shell as she raises up in the air to try and hit you. You'll keep bouncing on it until she switches to her other attack, thus, gaining many one ups.
Interface Screw: There are black Piranha Plants which spit ink at the screen.
Die five times in a row in a level and you get an invincible Tanooki Suit. Die five times more and you get a P-Wing, which skips the level from where you use it. (And any bosses in the stage, as well.)
However, just as in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, having this block show up removes the sparkles from the stars on your save file, whether or not you use it. Fortunately, if you beat the game without making the block appear, it won't ever show up (even in the Special worlds), thus making the sparkles permanent.
Musical Nod: One level has the main theme in the key of B-flat, the same key as the music and sounds in the original arcade versions (as opposed to the later NES versions) of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, and Mario Bros. (but not Donkey Kong 3).
Mind Screw: One of the Isometric puzzle levels appears to be an Escher-esque impossible shape.
Musical Gameplay: A few levels in the game have appearing and disappearing platforms that are synchronized to the beat of the music.
Musical Spoiler: The boss music keeps playing even after knocking out Bowser in World 8's final castle.
The Tanooki Suit no longer grants you flight or lets you transform into stone. It only slows your fall (as it did in Super Mario Bros. 3; Luigi had a similar ability in Super Mario 64 DS) and lets you attack with your tail. However, a variation of the suit found late in the game does let you turn into a statue, but aside from the addition of a Scarf Of Ass Kicking the other features are about the same.
Mario himself has been nerfed. The power of all his jumps have been reduced (compared to the devs' previous titles, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2) to accommodate the 3DS's small screen. He doesn't even have the Triple Jump anymore.
Oddly, while Luigi received the same Nerfs as Mario, he also got buffed! Now, he doesn't slide around as much when stopping anymore, meaning he is a true Lightning Bruiser.
Nintendo Hard: Many of the special levels are extremely challenging, especially S-8 Crown, which rivals the Grandmaster Galaxy in overall toughness (though at least you can take damage and bring a back-up item in this one).
No One Could Survive That: The real(?) Bowser is still ready to fight even after getting hit in the true final standard level.
Painting the Medium: Ink-spitting Piranha Plants will spit globs of goop and if it hits the screen, it'll produce black stains that'll obscure your vision. You can make the stains go away early by blowing into the microphone.
Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Pom-Pom's battle arenas have a pink motif, and Pom-Pom herself is magenta-colored. Also in the Boom-Boom/Pom-Pm double battles, Boom-Boom's area is blue and Pom-Pom's is red.
Power Copying: Some enemies will drop power-up items when defeated. Giant Mooks drop Mushrooms, Tail Goombas will drop Super Leaves, Venus Fire Traps can drop Fire Flowers, and Boomerang Brothers will drop Boomerang Flowers.
Power-Up: Notably, the Tanooki Suit returns after decades of absence, and unlike in Super Mario Galaxy the Fire Flower functions as it did in the 2D games instead of lasting temporarily.
Pre-Order Bonus: Players recieved a Tanooki Mario keychain if they pre-ordered.
Recurring Boss: Throughout the game you fight Fake Bowser twice (World 1 and World 5), Boom-Boom three times (World 2, World 3 and World 7) and Pom-Pom three times (World 4, World 6 and World 7). In World 8 you fight the real Bowser twice. The special worlds add Dry Bowser and Giant Cosmic Clones, that also become this.
Revisiting The Roots: The game is notably the first 3D Mario platformer that heavily incorporates the mechanics of the 2D games.
Rolling Attack: Mario gains one here by crouching then tapping the dash button again while running, but it's not much of an attack. It'll affect blocks and break wooden cutouts and crates, but rolling into an enemy will only cause harm to yourself. So in combat situations, it's more of an evasive maneuver. You can also slightly extend your long jump by jumping right after rolling.
Scarf of Asskicking: Distinguishes the Tanooki suit that can turn into a statue versus the one that can't.
Scenery as You Go: Happens in some ghost houses. Platforms in front of you appear as you walk along, and disappear when you move away from their starting point.
Self-Imposed Challenge: To add a final cruel twist of difficulty in S8-Crown, it's possible to complete the last section (the "Thank you!!" message) by jumping across the flipping platforms. Since each letter only lasts for around a couple of seconds before disappearing, you'll need to move and jump extremely quickly to avoid falling into the Bottomless Pit below.
World 5-2 is based on the very first Zelda game, complete with the iconic "puzzle solved" jingle, since it's that franchise's 25th anniversary. It gets even better when you realize that since the previous level introduces the Battle Boomerang powerup, you'll probably enter the level armed with a weapon that Link is famous for using.
A rather subtle one to the original Super Mario Bros.; when you get an extra life while at 999, instead of maxing there, it reads "Crown"-00, a reference to how a glitch/oversight in the original SMB made it display a crown with various symbols after it upon exceeding 9 lives.
In the final Bowser battle, during one section of it, he throws barrels at Mario, similar to Mario's debut game: Donkey Kong.
Shows Damage: When you take a hit and turn into Small Mario, his cap goes missing. This is to allow you to tell what state of health you're in when the camera goes above Mario.
Reaching the Capnote No pun intended. of your lives (which is 1,110 and is only attainable past 999 by utilizing the 1-Up trick mentioned above) reverses this situation: Normal Mario is capless and Small Mario dons the headwear.
Speed Run: Your best time is recorded when you clear a level, as is the best time recorded by any player you've StreetPassed, so players can compare their runs with other people. In the Special worlds, some levels start with only 30 seconds on the clock, forcing you to quickly blaze through the levels and kill enemies to add seconds to the clock.
Tactical Suicide Boss: Bowser, as always, seems to only fight in an arena that so happens to have the necessary tools to defeat him. Particularly bad in the final battle - if he didn't destroy a particular wall with a tail swipe, you wouldn't be able to reach the switch to defeat him.
Taken for Granite: The Statue Leaf lets you transform into stone at will. You can't move while in the form, but you can change back at will.
Technicolor Fire: Bowser and Mario both have red-orange fire. In the second half of the final battle, Bowser gets blue-purple fire that makes a jet-engine scream as it goes by. Dry Bowser has eldritch blue fire.
Theme Tune Cameo: Mario hums the classic theme music after receiving the picture between Worlds 5 and 6.
Clear both the main and special worlds with both brothers, get all the gold flags, and collect all the Star Medals to unlock a special level in Special World 8 that'll surely test your platforming prowess.
Videogame Settings: As a throwback to old-school Mario, it's only fitting that several stock video game locations appear. However, this game is notable for averting themes for each world. Each world in this game is a medley of different settings, so you can find a desert and an icy mountain in the same world. Same deal with the Galaxy games, but it was justified then because you were traveling between planets. This game has examples of:
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The earlier Bowser's Castle levels have the decency to inform you with binoculars that you're not going to be finding the princess in this castle. And then there's the first one in World 8 which leads you to believe you're going to save the princess only for it to turn out to be a cardboard cutout - you still have two more levels to go. And even then, saving Peach turns out to be only the end of the first half of the game.