Gamespot slapped it with a meager 8.0, while other outlets such as IGN, Game Informer and GamePro gave it higher scores. While other reviews had their reasons for lowering the score in the game being unoriginal or being overly easy for much of the game, Gamespot's written justification was just "[Super Mario 3D Land has] limited StreetPass and gyrometer features." In the words of the site's very own user-created magazine System Wars Monthly:
This is true, Super Mario 3D Land only has limited use of motion control and StreetPass, which is very disappointing. Much to blame is the game's genre, a platformer. Seriously, how are you going to use StreetPass and motion controls on a handheld platformer? This is clearly a big mistake on Nintendo's part.
Breather Level: An unintentional example. In 7-1, if you have the Tanooki power up, you can get to the end of the level by jumping against the wall to your left after you jump from the ledge, then flutter your way over the fence to the flagpole.
Fridge Brilliance: The letter you receive after clearing World 4 shows Peach being ambushed by Goombas. The letter trying to fly out of Mario's reach wasn't being mischievous, it doesn't want Mario to see that.
Because every single level is meant to be able to be cleared with small Mario, the Tanooki Leaf in general is a massive Game Breaker because of its hovering allowing the player to skip enormous amounts of the more difficult platforming segments. The Fire Flower and Boomerang Flower are more useful for collecting certain Star Coins, but almost every level is made drastically easier with the Tanooki Leaf.
Nintendo has been pretty good with recent Mario games on setting aside special areas you can repeatedly visit just for power-ups to help with replayability... Except this game. Once you unpack an item from any of the Toad Houses and leave, it's gone for good. Nothing will bring the houses back except getting a Game Over, and you'll be hard pressed to encounter one with the plethora of 1-Ups the game gives you. You can also nab power-ups from stages, but if you want to leave the stage with the power-ups in question, you have to complete the level, as exiting the course does not save your progress. You can replenish the Toad Houses through StreetPass tags, but if you don't live in a big city, that may be easier said than done.
Cosmic Mario chasing after you if this is the first Mario game in a long time (basically forces you to keep moving). Then there's the stages where you have 30 seconds to start and you have to find ways (usually stomping on Goombas) to get more time. Now try stages with both!
It's not the first time Mario gets to see Peach getting kidnapped right before his eyes, but this is the only time this hit him... hard. At the end of that level (World 8, first Bowser castle), Mario doesn't even do his happy dance. Though he did seem more determined than shell shocked, meaning he's about to get dangerous.