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on May 30, 2016
Being an avid fan of the Mario series especially Super Mario Bros. 3 for NES, Super Mario Land 2 for Gameboy, Super Mario 64 for N64 and the vastly under appreciated and underrated Super Mario Sunshine for Gamecube; i felt there was a massive void between my favorites and now. I played galaxy 1 and 2 but didn't feel the same about them. Then i get my hands on Super Mario 3D Land, what a great effort to bring Mario back in a way that's familiar and reminiscent of the classics but with a new school 3D twist. After hours upon hours of playing it i realized that this game has become a top 5 Mario game for me. If your a big fan of the old Mario games like me, you will fall in love with Nintendo all over again with this one. :)
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on September 7, 2015
Now that I've had the game for a while now, I feel like I've earned the right to write a review. I haven't finished the game yet, but I'm more than halfway through the main worlds.

Mine came in a red box instead of a white one like the normal 3DS box. I don't know if that was just me or what, but it isn't all that important. Inside is the manual and the game, as one should assume. This stuff is unimportant so I'll just get right into the actual game.

The first thing I have to say about this game is that it looks very good. The graphics are quite sharp and the text is easy to read, which is good. Some games don't have that. Story is introduced immediately, and it's what you've probably come to expect from Mario games. Princess Peach was kidnapped, you gotta help her, that whole scenario. It does its job as a story, it drives the game along. Don't expect the riveting story and amazing plot twists of Bioshock here, there are other places for that.

So you're thrown into level 1 in world 1 and there was one thing that absolutely drove me insane immediately; Mario runs very slowly. I feel like I'm playing as a new slug character or something, but it's just normal Mario. There is an option to dash, which helps a little, but even the dash is barely faster than a leisurely jog. One gets used to it quickly, after the first couple of levels, but it really does get on my nerves.

Speaking of dashing, there are special moves you can do in the game. You can long jump, crouch, side somersault, ground pound, roll, all that good stuff. However, you are NEVER told any of this stuff while you're actually in the game. No tutorials about it whatsoever. Instead, you are expected to read the manual. I have never had to read the manual of a game to learn essential parts of a game until I got this. I never read the manuals because they always teach you what is needed to play in the game, so you don't have to waste time. I am on world 5 and learned about these moves the day I wrote this review.

That said, it isn't actually really needed to play the game. You can learn to dash easily, and that's the only extra move needed to successfully play the game. The other stuff can help, but only in niche situations.

So I haven't said too much positive stuff about this game yet, but I wanted to get the negatives out of the way first. Let's get on with the positive aspects of the game.

This game is a lot of fun. I have no clue why, but I thoroughly enjoy this game every time I play. There's just something about the game play that is really addicting, which is a good thing. It's just a lot of fun being able to run around in 3D environments, finding cool secret passages, trying to find a quicker way to clear an obstacle. Sometimes, story isn't always the driving factor in a game, and this game proves it in my opinion.

Power ups. There is the Tanooki (or Tanuki) suit, which is by far the most helpful if you ask me. There is the fire Mario power-up, and there is the grow mushroom. I have yet to come across a giant mushroom, but I am fine without them. The Tanooki suit lets you glide around after jumping or falling, which is beyond helpful. It also lets you do a tail attack, which is helpful as well. The fire suit is best for clearing out enemies or an enemy that is far away from you. The grow mushroom lets you grow back to normal size if you were shrunk, and otherwise gives you 10 coins.

The levels are all different, even if they are in the same world. Some add new features, some add new enemies. Some give new uses to old features, some just use old features but with a different layout. In any case, I have yet to come across a level that I particularly dislike. They all feel well designed, and there aren't really things that try to kill you in a manner that feels like cheating. I do wish the levels were a bit more difficult, but I am still not done with the game and they keep getting harder as I go.

There are a lot more things to cover, but those things should just be experienced instead. It's really hard to describe one specific thing about the game that makes it fun, so you have to play for yourself to see. This game is also suitable for all ages. If you're an adult and you own a 3DS, then you should get this game for it. It doesn't feel overly kiddified, which I come across on many occasions when playing games on the 3DS console. If you're a parent looking to buy this game for their kid, I would get it. It's a very enjoyable game that doesn't take a whole lot of processing power to understand, which is a nice change of pace from a lot of modern games. There are also multiple save slots on the cartridge, so you could have multiple players sharing this one cartridge if they were willing to do so.
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on August 11, 2015
Bought this for my 7 y/o son. Everything you love about classic Mario games all the way through the Galaxy series. I've played tons of Mario, and the levels are challenging as usual but nothing too difficult. My son has had a lot of time on the game, and really loves it, replays levels multiple times because it's just fun.

If there was any negative, it'd be that it's maybe TOO easy to get extra lives. They're everywhere, and coins are constantly all over everything (and every 100 coins = extra life). Step on a goomba? Get a coin (or two, or three!). Bump a few bushes, coins. Slide down the pole? Extra life if you hit the top, plus coins, plus coins for all the seconds you have remaining in the level. It would actually be MORE difficult to run out of lives than not. My son has in two weeks accumulated 300+ extra lives. It's a bit unnecessary, but it's not like it hurts the gameplay. You just know you're never going to actually run out of lives, so what's the point of having them?
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on August 31, 2012
This game is a lot of fun. I would give it 5 stars but there are a couple of issues I have with it:

1) Although the game is 3D, the gameplay feels linear at times. The camera angles are generally quite restricted. You can peak a little to the left and right, otherwise the camera is controlled automatically. Its perspective changes quite often, but forces you to see only certain things. I'm sure part of the reason is that this game is supposed to feel like a 3D version of the original Mario Land platformers, but this limitation did curb my interest in fully exploring the levels.

2) The game is pretty easy. It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't give you the P-Wing or magic Tanooki suit after you died 5 times on a level. I've been playing Mario since the early days, and we didn't have cop-outs like that back then :D. I didn't use this option because I wanted to collect the achievement at the end of the game, but it still made it feel like you aren't quite playing with live ammo.

3) Without the star coins, there wouldn't be much challenge in the levels. But the star coins you collect appear in the slots according to where they are in the level. So if you miss the first coin and get the second, it shows up in the second slot. This makes it kind of obvious roughly where the missing coins are in a level, especially since the levels generally aren't very big.

Anyway, I would give this game a score in the high 80s, but can't quite give it 5/5 stars.
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on October 27, 2013
Simply put, this game is delightful. It's pure, blissful fun that hearkens back to the old school games while introducing thoughtful and interesting new elements. (I feel like a Nintendo PR person writing this, but just thinking about this game puts a smile on my face).

The game is divided up into worlds, each with a certain number of levels. You pass through a linear overworld and complete each level, earning up to three stars in each world. Completionists can also strive for one other accomplishment - I'll let you figure that one out when you play.

It's the little touches that make the game shine. The way you kill Bowser will bring back memories for many gamers (I'll leave it up to you to find out if you don't already know).

The 3D effect is well done and often makes for awe-inspiring scenery. When you fly downward or upward ("out of" or "into" the screen) you'll see why the 3D effect is both useful and entertaining. It can also be used to solve puzzles. While it can be nauseating, it's also a thrill for the times when you do have it on.

For those who got started with a 3DS with Pokemon X and Y, this is a great second game. You'll be thrilled with the allusions to Mario's past. And, more likely than not, you won't be able to put it down.
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on May 28, 2015
I am a long time Nintendo player. So believe me when I say this is one of the best Mario games available for the 3DS! This is a game I have played over and over. There are so many things that make this game fun and exciting. From the many levels, to the challenges, the graphics, and 3D. I would highly recommend this game to anyone owning a 3DS. The story is lacking quite a bit of content (Not a deal-breaker in the slightest), but thats typical of Nintendo games. Here are the pros and cons.

-Long Game
-Great Graphics and 3D
-Easy Control
-Good Music
-Fun Level Design

-Storyline is Lacking Content

Overall, this is one amazing game. Nintendo really did a good job with this one. I highly recommend buying this game!
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on December 23, 2011
It's pretty amazing how successful Mario has been for the 25+ years he has been stomping Bowzer and his army of koopas in order to save Peach. Each Mario release is hailed as a veritable masterwork in the platforming genre, both in 2-D and in 3-D. The reason I say it's amazing because Mario games have all essentially boiled down to the joy of two simple things, running and jumping. Sure there has been a lot of additions to this formula over the years, additions like suits, triple jumps, long jumps, and other things, but it's all on the backbone of traversing the magical Mushroom Kingdom through running and jumping. Super Mario 3D Land does not change this, it never needed to, *but* it does provide quite a few changes to what you'd expect from a Mario platformer. Prior to release, it had a lot of pressure on its shoulders to be the premier "killer app" that would prove the 3DS' worth as a game developed specifically for the system. Let me just say right now, Super Mario 3D Land definitely succeeds in that endeavor, but honestly, this is a fantastic Mario platformer, period.

Do I really need to cover the story here? With some very rare, unusual exceptions and the Mario RPG games, Mario games have always been about the Italian plumber embarking on a quest to free his Princess Peach from the evil clutches of the Koopa King Bowzer. Nothing is different here. The only thing that stands out is the fact that a tree full of Tanooki leaves releases them into the wind and now Bowzer and his minions will, for the first time, utilize power-ups for their own nefarious use as well as Mario. The story is virtually non-existent here, but that's ok. "Stories" in Mario games have always fulfilled their purpose of giving context to the gameplay and then letting that take over, and it does so here.

The gameplay in 3D Land is both a jam-packed package of nostalgic concepts from Mario's history, most notably his 2-D outings from the NES and SNES days, and a game where he seems to continue his momentum of reaching ever forward, as seen in the stellar Super Mario Galaxy 2. Of course, Mario's masterfully intuitive, excellently implemented platforming controls are here. You'll be running, jumping, wall jumping, etc. You won't be triple jumping, however, which was jarring at first. The suit system makes a return, and so does the Tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3. New suits, like the Boomerang Bros. suit, the helicopter block, as well as the 3D iteration of the Tanooki suit, all feel so good to use, and in the form of the hovering jump of the Tanooki suit, can really make the game easier, which is nice. Old returns like the fire suit are also implemented well in this new 3D environment. The level design is exceptional and the journey to the end pole is so fun and satisfying!

Playing this game really feels so nostalgic. In fact, almost everything in the game is really reminiscent of the classic 2-D masterpieces, Super Mario Bros. 3 in particular. It's hard to explain, but imagine your favorite, most masterfully designed Mario Bros. 3 levels, but from Mario's perspective and made into a full 3-D environment. Toss in familiar Tanooki and Fire suits. Remember the classic songs and art design, and re-imagine them with a Super Mario Galaxy 2 quality makeover. Also toss in the linear, flagpole objective from the original Super Mario Bros. game, as well as the type of Bowzer fights that classic offered. Add all of these classic ideas to the more modern 3-D platforming mechanics and that's a pretty good idea of the sort of experience this game offers. Personally, I adore it all. Sure, we've seen many of these ideas before, but never in such a weird, Frankenstein-esque combination. Despite all the familiar ideas, this game felt strikingly fresh playing through, and that is high praise indeed. It's quite large too. I played through the main quest, about 8 worlds, but after beating it, another 8 worlds open up, as well as a new quest to save Luigi from Bowzer's grasp. This latter half of the game is a lot more challenging than the first half. A lot of value here.

The art design here is what you'd expect from a Mario game. It seems to take to the style first seen in Super Mario Galaxy and continued in its sequel. The implementation of this imaginative, aesthetically pleasing design is absolutely incredible. This game looks really, REALLY good. Imagine a portable GameCube (which is essentially the type of power the 3DS has) utilizing that sort of art design, with 3-D added in, and you get a fantastic game. Speaking of 3-D, this is some of the best I've seen on the system yet. This is the first truly great game where the 3-D is actually quite essential to successfully traversing the world and clearing trials, and the way that is put into effect is both clever and a delight to behold. I'm very impressed here. Sure, Ocarina of Time 3D and Star Fox 64 3D had fantastic 3-D effects, but not to the point where it was absolutely essential to enjoy the experience to the fullest. This game really pulls through on fulfilling the 3DS' third-dimensional promises.

The sound and art design is, much like the rest of the game, full of nostalgia. Some of the original effects from the old NES classics appear with no changes whatsoever. Others are reimagined using more modern sounds. Same can be said for the music. I've recognized several OLD classic Mario tunes (especially Mario Bros. 3) that really sent me back in time and that was truly a joy for me personally. You just can't beat the classics. :)

All-in-all, Super Mario 3D Land is a triumph, not only for the 3DS, but for Mario in general. It not only lives up to the tremendous expectations put upon it to be the "killer app" of the 3DS, it greatly exceeds it. Made by the same champion Nintendo EAD team that created the masterpiece Super Mario Galaxy 2, this game continues in their momentous trend of putting out mind-blowingly stellar games. I love Mario as a series, I expect the highest value from its games, and yet this entry actually surprised me in its exceptional quality. So if you have a 3DS and your library is lacking, get this game immediately. If you are a moderate-big-huge fan of Mario (Personally, I fall under the "huge fan" category) and want a great new Mario experience, get this game. If you're a fan of extremely fun video games, period, get this game! You won't regret it. Buy it, run and jump through it, and enjoy its incredible combination of nostalgia and industry trailblazing!
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on April 15, 2014
To old school gamers: I've played all of the old school Mario games like the original Mario Bros on NES, Super Mario 64, Mario Bros 3, the lost levels, Super Mario World, and others in that era. I haven't touched New Super Mario Bros or any of the new school stuff. So imagine my surprise when I played the first level of this game! With that in mind,

-Wonderful gameplay captures the retro feeling of the old Mario games while introducing something new. I can't really explain it in words, but something about the gameplay is so retro, yet modern. This is definitely the best point of the game. It can appeal to both "old school" and "new school" gamers.
-The graphics are delightful, especially in 3D.
-Every element of the gameplay has clearly been tweaked, like in the old games. You can tell that the developers play-tested and made sure that every enemy, obstacle, and power-up is exactly where it should be.

-Most of the stars are terribly easy to collect.
-The same stupid story. I know most people won't agree with me since it's a Mario game, but there is potential for so much more! And it's 2014 already; it's no excuse to cling to a story heavy with graphical limitations made in 1985. Traditional? Yes. Good? No.
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on March 5, 2013
This is one of the best Mario games I have ever played! The 3D is amazing; the depth perception is what puts it over the top. The game itself it a lot of fun and you will see some 'shout-outs' to classic Mario games in some levels. The golden feather is my very helpful if you come to a challenging level. It will appear when you start a level, if you have died several times in a row.
After you have beaten the game, a Special World is activated so it is basically 2 worlds in 1 game. You were playing to rescue Princess Peach, but now Luigi is trapped. In the special world, you can play as Luigi or Mario, the levels are harder and there is no golden feather. Also, there are less power ups and beware of the poisonous mushrooms!
Another cool thing is the photo album. There is a 3D photo for each new world and you can always go back to the mushroom house in World 3 to save them to your 3DS or 3DS XL. Of course, this means you can graffiti, customize, and share.
I am still waiting for a current Mario game to have a Star World - that is the only thing that could have improved this game for me, otherwise, it is perfect! If you have a 3DS or 3DS XL, this is the game I recommend!
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on October 31, 2013
I've been playing Mario games since the original Super Mario Bros. on NES. I've played the Game Boy ones, the DS ones, the GameCube one, the Wii ones, etc. Well then let me say that Super Mario 3D Land is one of the top 5 Mario games ever made. It's possibly the best 3D Mario I've ever played (I enjoyed this even more than Galaxy). If you want validation of the 3D effect of the 3DS, this is the game to make you a believer. Even without that, Super Mario 3D Land is tremendously fun. Charming and innovative graphics, rock solid controls, catchy tunes, clever level designs, and a fun factor off the scale. If you own a 3DS and you don't own this game you're seriously missing out. And for those who say this game is too easy... if you haven't beat the 8 special worlds and all their levels, you're not qualified to make that assumption.
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