Super Mario 3D Land Hands-On Preview

We spend some time with the opening areas of Super Mario 3D Land.

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A lot of talk has been swirling around about the lack of content available for the Nintendo 3DS. With game releases so sparse lately, owners have to look toward the future for games they'll be able to experience in 3D. Thankfully, Mario is coming to the rescue this November, and we had the opportunity to sample Super Mario 3D Land and tell you what to expect.

Super Mario 3D Land uses a lot of depth-of-field to showcase the 3D.

Our hour-long session with the game allowed us to play through all of World 1 and most of Worlds 2 and 3. Each stage offered something different. The early stages are straightforward and not much of a challenge to complete, but they give you a good idea of how the game plans to use depth-of-field. In 3D stages, Mario will be able to run around and discover all sorts of secrets, but those secrets aren't limited to those stages. At the same time, side-scrolling levels that typically have the famous plumber moving from left to right even include some situations where he'll be able to traverse the Z-axis and move toward or away from the screen. These scenarios happen often and usually result in the discovery of a new zone or valuable coins.

Progressing into Worlds 2 and 3 gave us some different mechanics to fool around with. One stage in World 2 has Mario head vertically down toward the goal. With the use of a propeller block , there will be times when Mario will be able to float down and bypass a lot of enemies and platforms. Of course, if you try to rush through the area, you're bound to miss out on some cool treats and interesting bonus content, so floating away might not be the best idea your first time through. In the following stage, you begin by shooting Mario out of a cannon towards a tower. The cool aspect to the cannon is that it uses the 3DS's gyroscope for aiming. As you'd expect, there are some extra spots on the tower, so you may not necessarily want to aim at the highest point to move forward immediately. Be sure to pan around to see what cool things you may uncover.

The gyroscope is used in a few other spots as well. In some stages, there are binocular placements that let you see what lies ahead, in most cases showing you where the end of the stage is. The movement is extremely easy to grasp and surprisingly grand with what can be seen. If you want to zoom in and check out the approaching area with a bit more detail, the binoculars can zoom in to a great degree and let you see what may cause you some problems further ahead.

Super Mario Bros. Wii incorporated a help mode, which was there to give gamers of any experience level the ability to get pointers on how to approach a level or have the level played out. This function returns in Super Mario 3D Land with various degrees of assistance. If you die multiple times, upon restarting, a special assist block will appear to give Mario an item. This roulette-style box appeared in previous Mario games and may net you a tanooki leaf or a basic mushroom. In our time with the game, this offering occurred once, and it happened after losing three lives on that particular stage.

But if things still pose a problem, there are two more assists that may come your way. After losing five lives in a given stage, an invisible leaf becomes available that transforms Mario into an invisible tanooki. After 10 lost lives, a P wing block will appear that instantly warps you to the end of a stage. During our session, neither of these situations occurred, which did illustrate our own experience with Mario games and the fact that earlier parts of the game are not that difficult. Chances are, though, like in SMBW, later stages will prove to be much more challenging, and these two benefits may come into use.

Shooting Mario out of a cannon is really fun!
Super Mario 3D Land felt as you would expect a Mario game to feel: extremely easy to grasp, fun to play, and with a lot of promising potential. The game's use of 3D worked really well early on, thanks in part to the fantastic level designs and variety. While some have been hesitant to turn the 3DS's 3D option to full, Super Mario 3D Land works well with it at max, but it still looks incredible even if this setting is shut off. Expect to see more of the game as we approach its November 13 launch, exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS.

Discussion

38 comments
tooraretodie
tooraretodie

With this, Ocarina, Mario Kart, Luigi's Mansion, Starfox, Paper Mario, ANNND Dream Drop Distance, I am beyond excited to get my 3DS!!!

DarthChristian
DarthChristian

i pretty much only want a 3ds for this and the new luigi's mansion game

Blaketoberfest
Blaketoberfest

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

D4rkside99
D4rkside99

my 3ds is gathering some serious dust, looking forward to this and mario kart

thenitwon
thenitwon

I am greatly looking forward to this! I love how its a mixture of 2D mario games and 3D mario games! It makes it so unique!

inso-maniac
inso-maniac

for those who r excited about smash bros. hold ur horses nintendo probably didnt even start it yet saturo iwata said it wont be out for years possibly 2 years in my opinion

Deathstalker83
Deathstalker83

I'm looking forward to Super Mario 3D,Super Smash Bros. 3DS, Mario Kart 7, Paper Mario & Luigi's Mansion 2 !

cjetter
cjetter

it looks cool (im also waiting for mario kart 7)

LAnoirFAN
LAnoirFAN

WHY IT'S TAKING FOREVER, i can't wait more :'c

Flint247
Flint247

I can't wait. :) I want this and Mario Kart 7!

ggregd
ggregd

@JustTheTrick It's been out for 8 months...

JustTheTrick
JustTheTrick

"lack of content" oh do shut up!! like any console release (and for several months after) has tons of new games. Please stop posting this rubbish

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Oh and judging by the fact that this game pulls a LOT from the old Super Mario Bros games,I wouldn't be surprised to see a few little secrets and treats hidden here and there. That would be fun.

Wormkid_64
Wormkid_64

Time to preorder! I like the way the 3D manages to make things look grand and vast even on a tiny screen. It will be fun to experience the Mushroom Kingdom that way.

iortegon
iortegon

way ahead of you jordanob i already pre ordered it and payed the full price

Distinctive_Fin
Distinctive_Fin

Looks like Mario 64, but on crack. I want it so bad!

sidewinder2617
sidewinder2617

i want the ngp to come out so we can hack it and play this on it

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

This game has classic written all over it. Many of the elements in this game cater to our nostalgic histories of playing SMB3 and SMW, which is why I think it will be a hit.

linkyshinks
linkyshinks

Pace looks classic, and ideas look cool. I'm looking forward to this, after earlier being quite sceptical.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Im noticing how this game and Skyward Sword is being Underknown allot, I bet people will be suprised when these 2 games will most likely get high scores.

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

This game keeps getting better and better everytime its shown. Mario's always Innovating in his games and this new gameplay fusion is continueing the Trend! I cant wait for this game! Also, its awesome to see the Canon back in action!

yoyou225
yoyou225

If there was ever a reason to buy a 3DS, it would have to be this.

zeldisco2009
zeldisco2009

Mario Galaxy 1 won many GOTY and Mario Galaxy 2 got loads of 10/10 scores.Mario 3D Land could continue this incredible form.

BlitzCreech432
BlitzCreech432

This looks promising I'll have to buy a 3DS eventually

Kirbside
Kirbside

At first I was interested, lately I've considered maybe thinking about getting it. After a more recent trailer for it I am now leaning on wanting it. Still on the fence, but if I do get it, I should preorder it for the tanooki suit keychain.

GamerYnoX
GamerYnoX

Can't get myself to buy a 3ds knowing there is a atachment for a extra thumbstick. I'll wait for a revision.

PSR8000
PSR8000

I'll probs buy a 3ds when this is relreased on the 13th/18th(?)

Fayt1986
Fayt1986

cant wait........ my big collection of 3 games wont last much longer.

adrdeju
adrdeju

This should be good. Can't wait!!