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An essential addition to a 3DS library
To any Mario fan, 3D Land is roughly an equivalent to a wet dream. A 3D Mario main platformer that plays like a 2D game(with our old friend the Tanooki suit) and actually uses the 3D as an integral part of the gameplay? Drool... The wait was painful, but in the end, was it worth it?

I was surprised by 3D Land. Don't get me wrong, i expected it to be the Mario awesomeness that everyone loves, but i did not expect it's use of 3D. It adds a layer of depth, and helps you determine where to jump. Some rooms were meant to troll those who do not like 3D, and other levels make use of it's depth. I'm serious, you are not playing it right if the 3D slider is off. Other than that the (somewhat disappointingly short amount of) power ups are awesome as well. A Fire Flower (a PERMANENT one, unlike the ones in galaxy), the variations of the Tanooki suit,, and the boomerang suit all work very well, and each have their own uses. The level design is solid, and the controls aren't perfect, but i don't mind. 3D Land is an amazing game, that does not disappoint you. And with 16 worlds, and 300+ star coins, you'll be playing for a long time.

3D Land is still not perfect, however. Like i said, the controls need a bit of time to get used to, but thats not really a big problem. Like its predecessors, this game tortures completionists. To finish the game, you need to finish 8 normal worlds, 8 special worlds, collect a hell lot of star coins, get golden flagpoles in every level, not to mention, play through all those levels, AGAIN with Luigi. Also, i personally did not find the S worlds THAT hard. They were challenging, yes, but they were more fun than hard(Either that, or Perfect Run in SMG 2 increased my platforming skills by 100 lvls).It's either that, or the fact that you can receive lives like free candy. I mean, by world 2, i had 70+ lives or so. The bosses are also bland. Other than the great final platforming section, i mean final battle, the bosses repeat the same tactics all over again. An idiot who spins around, a transvestite with a boomerang, and Bowser himself. None of them are hard, and none of them will give you problems.

But all of that is overshadowed by all the other elements. 3D Land is a worthy successor to the Mario games of yore, and shows that 3D CAN help gameplay, and that it's not just a gimmick.

Nintendo-2

Gaming Public-1
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The true 3D successor to the 2D Mario games
Super Mario has had many experiments with 3D, and many of them essentially felt like they weren't even related to the original series. Super Mario 64 had you visiting open-world levels searching for stars. Super Mario Galaxy returned closer to the roots of the series: go from point A to point B and navigate the obstacles. Super Mario 3 D Land, however, feels pretty much exactly like the classic games, except in 3D.

Gone are levels that have a strong sense of location and feel like an explorable mini-world. Personally, I enjoyed those, but this is a different take on the franchise. In their place are levels that simply throw an obstacle course and background scenery at you. Some feel like locations, but others are just plain "levels" and nothing more. It's basically the level design philosophy of the old games.

The auto-camera is perfect. It shows you everything you need to see: what's in front, behind, above, below, and to the sides. The levels are designed with the fixed perspective in mind, and they work great. The levels aren't really meant to be explored, but there's some out of the way surprises here and there, along with the hidden giant star coins to collect. Navigating jumps in 3D works very well with the 3D display, and some levels use the 3D effect very well.

The challenge of Super Mario 3 D Land increases over time. It starts out as what might be a pushover to many, but at the same time, a good introduction to the mechanics of the game and its clever level design. The game is very forgiving at first, giving out power-ups if you die too many times in one level. Nintendo seems to really want people of all skill levels to enjoy the game.

Key phrase: ALL skill levels. Things ramp up in World 8 (although the mercy power-ups remain), but after you beat the game, it's time for the 8 "Special" Worlds. These contain remixed versions of existing levels, harder versions of existing levels with challenge conditions such as a time limit that must be repeatedly replinshed or a shadow clone that mimics your moves exactly and harms upon touch, and there are also some brand-new levels as well. And NO mercy power-ups. While I really like the new levels and many of the remixes, the challenges annoy me and the game overdoes them near the end, in my opinion.

Aside from those flaws, this is a great game.
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