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Super Mario 3D Land

January 13, 2012

I have nearly completed Super Mario 3D Land.

I say nearly because I have completed it to my satisfaction and what is left for 100% completion is not worth the level of obsession to achieve it. (There’s a secret level called Secret World 8-Crown. To unlock it, you need to capture the dawn’s first rays of light in a jamjar, juggle lettuce and punch out a bear. If only! That’d be easy!)

As a die-hard Nintendo aficionado (Goodness knows that’s getting harder to say these days), I was excited by the prospect of a new Mario game. Handheld too, on the 3DS – Doubleplusgood. Having (nearly) completed it now, I have to say I’m quite satisfied.

It’s a good game, a very good game. There are a series of levels to complete, split over eight worlds (16 including the eight secret worlds), all for the perennial quest to save Princess Peach from Bowser. Much platforming fun ensues.

When I first completed (Or what I thought was completed) the game, I was a little disappointed at how easy it had been. But that is the way of things these days; easier games so everyone can experience the diluted thrill of completing them (I refuse to acknowledge that, after 16 years of practice, I am actually good at video games). However, the Secret Worlds did sufficiently ramp up the difficulty for my liking; some levels required split-second perfect timing, I wasted 20 lives trying to complete others and at the end of the “final” level, my heart was in my mouth.

The levels themselves vary but stick to well-known Mario tropes: Airships, Castles, Ghost Mansions, Water Levels, as well a few new creations. Power-ups include the Fire Flower and the Tanooki Suit, which I haven’t seen for a long time. I did feel some nagging guilt that tail-whipping all foes and floating over impossibly long gaps made the game a bit too easy – though not so much guilt that I didn’t use it. There was also the Boomerang Suit (Curtesy of the Boomerang Bros. et al) and the Propellar Box which are both quite neat.

Graphically, a very beautiful game that the 3DS handles with ease. I didn’t use the 3D function much (it’s gimmicky and annoying) but this is the first game where I’ve seen a proper use for it. Special rooms in some levels contained a set of boxes with a Star Medal to grab. When Mario tries, he falls down an unseen gap. In the isometric view, some very cleverly placed floating boxes look like they’re stacked with all the others. The 3D function makes these boxes easier to spot. At last, a use!

In my opinion, Super Mario 3D Land is has everything in it for a good game and is certainly enjoyable enough. It is disappointlingly short though.

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