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Super Mario 3D Land Hands On Preview

Updated impressions of one of this year's most anticipated 3DS titles: Super Mario 3D Land.

In my opinion, there’s something about the handheld Mario titles that have a certain draw to them. Whether it was the Gameboy color version of Super Mario Bros, or the insanely addictive Mario Kart DS, handhelds have done a great deal for the famous Italian plumber. The 3DS looks to provide even more quality to the already fantastic franchise with Super Mario 3D Land.

In my hands-on with the game, I quickly realized that it was the same demo that was available at this year’s E3. However, knowing that I only played the game for about five minutes, I took the opportunity to play a few levels that I didn’t get to. The first level that I played had me controlling Mario in an area that reminded me of a cross between something from Super Mario 64 and New Super Mario Bros. Generally that’s the feeling I got from the game overall. Super Mario 3D Land seemingly blends the 2D and 3D Mario formula to the point where it feels incredibly refreshing, yet familiar at the same time. For example, you are still required to hold a button (in this case, Y) to run, like in the 2D games, but you have movement in a full 3D area like in Super Mario 64 or Galaxy. Of course, there are levels that are more 2D themed, yet they do offer more range of movement than in the more traditional 2D games. As I ran around, Goombas and Koopas were all there, and are defeated as they usually are, with a pounce to the head.

Traditional Mario suits like the Fire Flower and the returning Tanooki suit all make appearances and are definitely useful, particularly the latter. With the added hover ability and tail swipe, the Tanooki suit is looking to make its return a welcome one. One of the biggest draws to 3D Land is the fact that playing the game with the 3D feature enabled actually means something. Jump distance, secret boxes, and draw distance are all more easily visible with the 3D enabled and while it still was a tad tricky to land all of the jumps, the 3D definitely served its purpose. The levels that I played brought back a strange sense of nostalgia, where running around would remind me of the 3D titles, and collecting coins, defeating enemies and finishing the levels by jumping on the traditional flag pole all reminded me of the 2D games. It’s a very satisfying blend and I guarantee that it will draw mass acclaim when it’s released on November 13.


 

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