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Super Mario 3D Land Hands On Preview

Jason grabs hands on impressions of the latest 3D Mario game after the Nintendo press conference.

Picture Super Mario Bros. 3 and put it in a 3D Mario game, and that’s about what it felt like. There were some major changes though, things you definitely need to know about before you can call them the same thing.

Number one, you press X or Y to run, either button works. You can’t fly with the Tanooki Suit as far as I can tell by this point in the demo. The leaf gives you the suit not just the raccoon tail, so that’s important to know too, that there are no individual powerups like the raccoon tail or ears, it’s the full suit. The fireball powerup no longer has a timer and works until you get hit.

Two stages were played during the demo. The first was aboard an airship and featured a boss. It appeared to be the midboss from Mario 3 you had to battle in every fortress. At first I didn’t realize that the stage was 3D. It seemed to be recreated incredibly well from an earlier game.

A box fired Mario to another ship that held a star coin. There are three coins per stage, but I’m not sure yet about a collection reward. I eventually made my way to a pipe and hit the R button to go down it. At this point I remembered that there was an R button and discovered that Mario can perform a ground pound from the air just like a traditional 3D Mario.

Then I fought the boss, but I don’t know whether or not the R button does extra damage. I was only able attack the boss three times. It performs an attack where it thrusts its arms out and spins, becomes dizzy and then you can jump on it. After an attack it goes into a shell and rolls around much more quickly and becomes invincible. After three attacks he is defeated and coins explode outward as he disappears. I took a pipe to the final area where a flagpole awaited. I jumped on the flagpole and the stage was complete.

The next stage was World 1-2. I don’t know what world the first stage was. It was an underground stage similar to world 1-2 from the original Super Mario Bros. I was able to get a fireball power-up fairly quickly. With the fireball powerup I was able to kill piranha plants and open crates as well which I believe was in another Mario title as well. I was able to open crates really well and the fireball power was easy to aim.

There was a lot foreground and background running. I want you to picture this game as a 2D Mario Bros. game but in a 3D space. The stages so far have been on rails. This may not be true of all of them but so far they have been. It’s not, so far, an open world to explore, but a definite beginning and ending with a flagpole waiting for you at the end.

I ran through the stage and went down pipes to find alternate pathways and collected all the star coins. Like I said, I couldn’t tell if there was anything special that happened for collecting the coins. I tried to use the d-pad and that changes the camera angle along with a few touch screen buttons.

You can hold a powerup on the touch screen and click it to make it appear. The first time I did that was on the airship level when I tried to reach a Tanooki leaf before the stage began. I hit the button, the Tanooki suit took off to the left and the screen started scrolling right and I ended up running off the stage and dying. So be careful when you use that powerup, it can be tough.

There are also totem poles of Goombas that were in the stage 1-2. I checked jumping on top of them and that kills one at a time, but if you perform a ground pound it will smash all of them beneath you.

I don’t know that there’s that much more I can say. Pihrana plants are back, but this time they shoot ink at the screen, making it difficult to see. In Mario Kart it’s a mild nuisance, but in Mario 3D it can make it very difficult to see because there’s so much depth to the screen and it essentially contains so much information.

So that’s my preview for Super Mario 3DS. Stay tuned to PixlBit for even more previews over the next few days.



Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

06/08/2011 at 03:09 AM

Forgot something important everyone: You can somersault in this one. Run one way, turn sharply, and jump. Love it.


06/08/2011 at 08:44 PM

god this looks amazing. smb 3 in 3d. a 2d mario in 3d. this is what i have wanted since the 3d marios have been out and i finally get my wish! the 2d level structure, health system, powe up system, run button is all back.

Matt R Staff Alumnus

06/09/2011 at 01:22 AM

I believe it was Koizumi who said at the first roundtable that they're trying to "make the most Mario-like 3D Mario game" they could. Longtime Mario fans should be definitely be pleased with Super Mario 3D.

Matt McLennan Staff Alumnus

06/09/2011 at 03:16 PM

Hopefully this game will give the 3D Marios a chance to sell as well as its 2-D counterparts.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

06/09/2011 at 11:16 PM

At least in Japan.

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