I’m back… again! Apologies for my absence, I was assigned to a job to do over the past week (someone’s been busy). Anywho, Our recent review of the charming Miitopia the other week marked NintyBuzz’s 50th review since we went live just over three years ago.

As a little celebration of sorts, I decided to search for my first ever game review I wrote (which was documented), and what I found was a review for Super Mario 3D Land which I wrote for a double page spread as part of my Media Studies assignment at college. I later submitted it as part of the YouView feature back in the 3DS Buzz days.

This review is completely unedited (aside from the odd typo correction and addition of screenshots) from when I was about 15 or 16. Please note that these were my views at the time (in 2012), but the game has still pretty much lived up to them up to this very day.

Check it out after the break!

Mario is at it again to save Princess Peach once more. However, this time, there is a bit of change, it’s Mario’s first 3D Adventure. Get ready to get your favourite suit on as you delve into this Multi-Dimensional Delight.

Super Mario 3D Land plays like just any other Super Mario Bros. Game. You’ll start of at World 1, Complete a set number of levels, Defeat the Castle and repeat until you reach the final world to get back Peach. It’s like the 2D Mario Games us old folk Grew Up with crossed between those 3D Mario Game’s since Super Mario 64. So that means you’ll have a playfield you can do a bit of exploring in, but instead of the Power Star at the end, you’ll have to jump on the traditional flagpole (jump to the very top to receive a nifty 1-Up). Don’t think that you’ll just be regular ol’ Mario throughout the game, you’ll have a few special suits at your disposal. These include the Fire Flower; singe your opponents with a devastating fireball, Super Leaf; eat tail Koopa Troopa, the Boomerang Flower; grab items or defeat enemies from afar, and a few more that aren’t going to be spoiled here. The different suits in SM3DL were a tad disappointing as there could’ve been a couple more added to increase variety in items. [2017 note – I think I was just being greedy here]

I can tell you that the main game consists of eight worlds with a lacking 6 to 8 levels each, however, what really makes up towards that number are the secret worlds that are unlocked afterwards. Yep eight new worlds are unlocked after you complete the main game, which consists of new levels and old but remixed levels. But don’t just think that these will be a walk in the park because, trust me on this, you will die, a lot [2017 note – apparently there was actually a time where I wasn’t that great at games… who knew!].

Luckily, to help you on your way, the game will provide you with two assist items if it sees you are having trouble, these are the Golden Leaf and the P-Wing. The Golden Leaf will make you invincible without a time limit (obviously you will die if you touch lava or fall into a bottomless pit) and the P-Wing will just simply take you the the end of the level (aww, that’s no fun). Also, these levels will only be unlocked if you have been collecting these special Star Medals.

Now, you’re probably wondering what the ‘3D’ is doing taking up nearly half of the logo. You may think that Nintendo have just stuck that on as it’s a 3DS title (and thereis a possibility that you’re right) but for once, the 3D effect isn’t just a gimmick in the game, it can be very helpful, in fact, some would say you wouldn’t be able to play SM3DL without the 3D (or at least it would be difficult) [2017 note – five years later and I can confirm that you can still complete the game without the 3D… I was just excited about it, that’s all!].

I was actually quite surprised when I first played the game in 3D as I could definitely see a huge improvement in my Goomba Squashing and my Black-Out inducing Block Smashing. It also helped me judge the distance between jumps much better than before. One very good example of the 3D effect helping you out is when you go down a pipe, you’ll come across a stack of blocks that look connected in 2D but when you switch to 3D, two blocks which contain a Star Medal, stand out slightly more. The only complaint about the 3D I would make is the fact that it does a bit of ghosting (double images) in the Ghost Houses.

One nifty new feature used in SM3DL is the fact that it has usage with StreetPass. If you pass someone, no matter if they own the game or not, a challenge box or a Toad House will appear before Mario’s very eyes, either giving you some enemies to defeat, a star coin to grab, an item to use or all three, how neat is that. And if the person you passed owns the game, the completion times for all the levels you’ve both completed will be shared. Unfortunately there’s no race mode like you would expect, you just see the time of one other person and that’s it.

One thing I actually miss from New Super Mario Bros. were the little Mini-Games you could play. They were quite fun and it would be cool to see what sort of games could be made on the 3DS but we can’t have everything now, can we. One thing I’m sure you’ll enjoy is the music as they are as catchy as ever, they’re even abandoned MIDI music to proper orchestrations. Your workmates or parents will most likely be asking you to shush when you start whistling those tunes.

After you’ve completed the game, you may think that you’re done, but in reality there are more special golden stars to add to your game file. You could gain one for getting every single star medal or maybe by completing each level with both Mario and Luigi. So be sure to expect a bunch of replay value when achieving those little titbits. Also, certain actions will unlock special 3D Images that you’ll be able to download straight to you SD Card, assuming you haven’t lost it already.

Unfortunately it’s about time for me to close this review, but before I do so, may I share with you a quick summary.

Super Mario 3D Land may be an incredible Mario game, but it doesn’t quite beat some of Mario’s previous outings such as Galaxy or Sunshine. However, it will keep you entertained for quite a while with it’s hidden extras like the Star Medals and the Photo Album. It’s amazing and innovative 3D will surely add to the experience. Unfortunately, even though it has a bunch of extra worlds, there’ could’ve been more content added to the overall game to be really something. Who knows maybe I just prefer the Mario games like Galaxy, 64 and Sunshine.

Overall Score – 8.5 – A wonderful Mario game that will keep you entertained for a while but could’ve include a few more extras

Leon Fletcher

I am a huge Nintendo fan, hence why NintyBuzz exists. I especially love all things Zelda and Metroid. NintyBuzz was started by me back in the Summer of 2014, it started out mainly as a hobby, though the site has gradually grown, and I hope it grows for many years to come!