E3 2011: Super Mario 3DS Hands-On Preview

UPDATE: We slip into a comfortable suit (a nice little Tanooki cut) in our first hands-on of this upcoming platforming exclusive for the 3DS.

Never fear Nintendo fans--despite missing the launch window, Super Mario for the 3DS is definitely scheduled for release this year, with the company confirming the later-in-the-year date at its press conference this morning. Straight after the show, we managed to get some hands-on time with the upcoming platformer, and while our time with the title was brief, it was just enough to whet our appetite for more.

Super Mario 3DS is a brand-new Mario platformer made specifically for Nintendo's stereoscopic handheld, and the first level we played in our hands-on took place in the second world of the game. The top screen of the 3DS was the showcase for the action, while the bottom screen contained a menu of sorts, including items Mario will pick up during the game. For the purposes of our demo, Mario was already packing a familiar brown leaf in his inventory, and we quickly pressed the highlighted object on the bottom screen to equip the portly plumber in his familiar brown, stripy-tailed suit, better known to fans of Super Mario Bros. 3 as the Tanooki suit.

As in that classic game, the Tanooki suit here allowed Mario to extend jumps, with the tail letting him descend from leaps at a slower rate. Pressing B also made Mario do a spin attack with the tail, and coupled with the better jump mobility, this allowed us to easily traverse this world's basic jumps, Goomba foes (even larger variety Goombas armed with their own stripy tail), and other obstacles. The game played much as other 3D-environment Mario titles--you can manipulate Mario to move in and out of environments, with the handheld's 3D capability giving the whole experience a nice sense of depth.

The next level we played was primarily a 2D side-scrolling level a la New Super Mario for the DS, although even this level had some "depth" in that you could guide Mario back and forth. This level was set on a flying airship, and we had to dodge numerous Bullet Bills firing in the background and racing towards Mario in the foreground. At the end of a level was a warp pipe (we had to press the right bumper button to activate it), which transported us to an enclosed room for a miniboss fight with Bowser Jr. This boss was pretty easy to dispatch (especially as we still had our Tanooki suit on), and we simply had to wait until his spin attack ended before running in and delivering an attack of our own.

From our brief time with Super Mario 3DS, it looks set to deliver the charm and challenge that have become hallmarks of the series. 3D seems to be a cosmetic rather than an essential addition, but we'll hold off final judgement until we see more of the game. Stay tuned for more.

UPDATE: At the Nintendo Executive Roundtable held at the end of day one of E3 2011, Super Mario 3DS producer Yoshiaki Koizumi went into more detail about how 3D will be incorporated into the game, as well as playing through several more levels.

The levels played during Koizumi’s demo were better showcases of 3D utilization, with one side-scrolling level featuring large, spiked columns thrusting towards the screen that Mario had to avoid. Yet another side-scrolling stage had Mario trying to avoid waves of cheep cheeps fly straight towards screen. Another stage—a homage to the 25th anniversary of the Zelda series, Koizumi said—featured a top-down view a la classic Zelda adventures, with Mario having to avoid obstacles such as rotating platforms and rolling logs by crouching in holes in the floor. Koizumi said 3D capability made levels like this possible, as it would have been difficult for players to discern true depth from the top-down perspective.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

57 comments
Wensea10
Wensea10

this game does not look like its one a super mario bros 1 level

HyperThumbs
HyperThumbs

I'm so looking forward to this game; I hope they bring Kuribo's (Goomba's) Shoe back!

Cadco1
Cadco1

@suerxtreme101 Metroid Prime 3 had the kind of amazing control that would have translated great into an online format. The devs really dropped the ball on that one... It would've probably put the Wii on the map in online FPS games, and stuff like the Conduit would have been considered well below average rather than passably decent or even "good".

superxtreme101
superxtreme101

@ABEzilla116 Yup, that would be incredible but I think Nintendo won't accept the idea because they do not want Metroid to be an online game. They want to stick with the one player exploration type of gameplay, but you never know what to expect from Nintendo. I mean I was totally shocked when they gave Samus a voice and created an action packed adventure with a very deep story in Other M, which I extremely enjoyed by the way. I really don't know but my guess is they won't do it but hopefully I'm wrong because a 8 vs. 8 death match would be sick indeed.

solidsnakedude1
solidsnakedude1

There's no doubt this will be good, but hopefully they bump up the difficulty on this one or maybe have different difficulty levels

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@superxtreme101 If a Metroid Prime was announced for the Wii U it might be enough to persuade me to get one.

lujanr32
lujanr32

OMG the 3DS lineup is soooo awesome! i want them all NAO!!!

Distinctive_Fin
Distinctive_Fin

I heard rumors of a Metroid 2 remake, I hope they do an "Other M" (sans the missile first person nonsense) style thing or make the whole game Prime: Hunters - esque.

shaks101
shaks101

@Aschwarzenegger I could not agree more mate, especially on a handheld, portable mario games is a boredom killer. :P Still not sure whether to get a 3DS yet though... maybe once few more games come out.

superxtreme101
superxtreme101

@ABEzilla116 I'd fully agree to that on the 3DS, but what I really want is a new addition in the Metroid Prime series with HD graphics and an incredible control scheme on the WiiU

Echo-Tech
Echo-Tech

looks to me that all the good games for the 3ds are the ones coming out later this year, other than any of the launch titles

flyingman123
flyingman123

YAY I MISSED THE TANOOKI SUIT. CRYING TEARS OF JOY T_T

waZelda
waZelda

ABEzilla116: I agree!

Kos1c
Kos1c

Another big title for the 3DS, can't wait for more to show up. This is what makes the Nintendo consoles, are the big titles of classic character (link, mario, metriod, donkey kong etc).Can't wait for this release, looks like alot of fun.

pojeck_333
pojeck_333

Awesome and enhanced graphics! Wow! This'll be a hit!

Superzone
Superzone

This game looks like a perfect mix of New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy. Awesome.

EnigmaticMrL
EnigmaticMrL

Darn you, Nintendo: why must you keep making such great games that practically force me to spend my time and money on you?

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

3DS owners,download the trailers for all the 3DS titles you're interested in from the eShop and watch them on your 3DS.It's SO much more impressive.That bit where the lava shoots up at the screen and then Mario himself jumps up at it is very nice in 3D.I can't wait to give my 3DS some AAA-game love.

al_win
al_win

So much money will be wasted this holiday season for nintendo ;)

Ovirew
Ovirew

I wonder if the frog suit and jump boot will make a return?

jedinortd_basic
jedinortd_basic

Ya I agree about watching it on the 3ds. You have a new appreciation for the game when you view it in 3d

Prince_Denspion
Prince_Denspion

trailers has no comparison till u see it in 3D on the 3DS's screen, game looks amazing, 3D really does add a much welcome affect to the games.

DarknautXXX
DarknautXXX

Interesting. Wheras New SMB was sidescrolling with lots of elements from the 3D games, this one seems to be the opposite, with the Tanooki suit, music note blocks, and its classic looking levels

64-bit
64-bit

@ chyng85 boring with such graphics??? what the hell are you larking about man? this is console graphics on a handheld, what are you a parrot or something just repeating something you don't understand. or do you want Mario gears of war style, heck you fanboys never satisfy.

TheLast1Left
TheLast1Left

They added last night. Go to the store and look at the 3rd icon, a pic of kid. It says games shown at e3. inside you can download all of the 3d videos

buft
buft

@TheLast1Left i cant find those where are they?

chyng85
chyng85

Kinda boring with such graphic~ But Mario never dies~

JoeJoeLaker
JoeJoeLaker

The 3DS Holiday line up is going to be amazing.

TheLast1Left
TheLast1Left

i just watched the 3d trailers on the 3ds. they look great

DesertLynx83
DesertLynx83

Preordered this with Star Fox 64 3D today! Can't wait!

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

What I find amazing is Goomba's have the Tanooki suit too lol.

calvinsora
calvinsora

As with many others, this is the game that sold me on the 3DS. I don't know if I can buy it right now, but when the opportunity rises, it's a must. Maybe as a Christmas gift?

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

@fffan9391 Listen bub, Spare yourself the info, Games looks 10x better and not Blurry and fidgy when viewed from the 3DS, Pics and vids that are not from the system itself is nothing compared to the real thing

Stonecutters908
Stonecutters908

Already pre-ordered and paid for mine. I need this now.

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

You know, it's Mario! What more can we say!?

Superzone
Superzone

This is basically the only reason I need to get a 3DS.

nintendo-naut
nintendo-naut

Looks great--Nintendo really sold me on a 3DS this morning.

XspidervenomX
XspidervenomX

Yeah I wish the graphics where more up to date being a new system, but if it's fun it's fun,, in the end that's what matters.

fffan9391
fffan9391

As a huge fan of Mario 3 I'm really looking forward to this, but I'm kind of disappointed the graphics aren't better.