Flappin' Raccoon Tails in the 3DS' New "Super Mario"

Avatar image for brad
Posted by Brad (5376 posts) -

The 3DS game Nintendo is currently referring to only as "Super Mario" is an even split between the traditional 2D platforming of New Super Mario Bros. and fully 3D, exploration-based gameplay a la Super Mario 64. I got to play three of the four quick levels on demo here at E3, and... I'm not 100 percent sold yet. But Super Mario (it's so weird just calling it that) has some neat ideas, and the freaking tanooki suit is in there, so I'm still willing to give it a fair shake when there's more to see.

The game reminds me of NSMB primarily because you play every level from a fixed camera perspective. They certainly aren't all the same camera angle, but the point is you can't spin the camera around freely like in most third-person action games. Some of the levels scroll directly left to right, and you can move into and out of the background a bit, kind of like in Final Fight. You play other levels from a three-quarter overhead perspective, and others from a more traditional third-person view where you're heading straight into the background.

Super Mario's gameplay is pretty slowly paced. Mario can hop onto enemies to kill them, and the one-two-three jump and butt-stomp mechanics from Mario 64 are in there too. And of course there's that tanooki suit, although you can't really do much with it yet. I couldn't find anywhere to build up enough speed to actually fly, Mario 3-style, and you can't use it to turn into a statue either. But at least you can spin around with the tail to take out enemies, and hold the jump button in the air to flap your tail and slow your descent. Disturbingly, some of the goombas have raccoon tails too, but that's neither here nor there. I'm just excited to see more suits in a Mario game again.

No Caption Provided

Super Mario is of course taking plenty of other cues from past Mario games. I played a level set on an airship rife with flamethrowers, Bullet Bill launchers, and tight wires that culminated in a boss fight against an oversized Koopa kid. Other levels are sort of floating in empty space, like in Mario Galaxy. There were a lot of opportunities to fall into bottomless pits, actually, and in the demo, with 3D enabled, I had some trouble judging the depth in the scene and figuring out on the fly exactly where Mario was going to land, leading me to make some jumps I immediately wished I hadn't. In some cases there were coins arranged in a cube shape where it wasn't exactly clear which coins were closer to the camera and which were farther away. All this might just be a consequence of combining these fixed and sometimes unusual camera angles with the actual 3D on this handheld. Who's had time to get used to playing Mario in 3D? Not me.

Anyway, hey! Tanooki suit! The 3DS certainly needs a new Mario game, and this one is pulling a lot of enticing new and old elements together. You pick up fire flowers to shoot fireballs at enemies; you go down pipes to collect extra coins. But there's some unique stuff, too, like running from ghosts across the keys of a giant haunted piano. (See the trailer above.) I hope Nintendo can pull all of this together into a package as enticing as the last DS Mario game, before Super Mario heads to retail toward the end of the year.

Staff
Avatar image for brad
#1 Posted by Brad (5376 posts) -

The 3DS game Nintendo is currently referring to only as "Super Mario" is an even split between the traditional 2D platforming of New Super Mario Bros. and fully 3D, exploration-based gameplay a la Super Mario 64. I got to play three of the four quick levels on demo here at E3, and... I'm not 100 percent sold yet. But Super Mario (it's so weird just calling it that) has some neat ideas, and the freaking tanooki suit is in there, so I'm still willing to give it a fair shake when there's more to see.

Loading Video...

The game reminds me of NSMB primarily because you play every level from a fixed camera perspective. They certainly aren't all the same camera angle, but the point is you can't spin the camera around freely like in most third-person action games. Some of the levels scroll directly left to right, and you can move into and out of the background a bit, kind of like in Final Fight. You play other levels from a three-quarter overhead perspective, and others from a more traditional third-person view where you're heading straight into the background.

Super Mario's gameplay is pretty slowly paced. Mario can hop onto enemies to kill them, and the one-two-three jump and butt-stomp mechanics from Mario 64 are in there too. And of course there's that tanooki suit, although you can't really do much with it yet. I couldn't find anywhere to build up enough speed to actually fly, Mario 3-style, and you can't use it to turn into a statue either. But at least you can spin around with the tail to take out enemies, and hold the jump button in the air to flap your tail and slow your descent. Disturbingly, some of the goombas have raccoon tails too, but that's neither here nor there. I'm just excited to see more suits in a Mario game again.

No Caption Provided

Super Mario is of course taking plenty of other cues from past Mario games. I played a level set on an airship rife with flamethrowers, Bullet Bill launchers, and tight wires that culminated in a boss fight against an oversized Koopa kid. Other levels are sort of floating in empty space, like in Mario Galaxy. There were a lot of opportunities to fall into bottomless pits, actually, and in the demo, with 3D enabled, I had some trouble judging the depth in the scene and figuring out on the fly exactly where Mario was going to land, leading me to make some jumps I immediately wished I hadn't. In some cases there were coins arranged in a cube shape where it wasn't exactly clear which coins were closer to the camera and which were farther away. All this might just be a consequence of combining these fixed and sometimes unusual camera angles with the actual 3D on this handheld. Who's had time to get used to playing Mario in 3D? Not me.

Anyway, hey! Tanooki suit! The 3DS certainly needs a new Mario game, and this one is pulling a lot of enticing new and old elements together. You pick up fire flowers to shoot fireballs at enemies; you go down pipes to collect extra coins. But there's some unique stuff, too, like running from ghosts across the keys of a giant haunted piano. (See the trailer above.) I hope Nintendo can pull all of this together into a package as enticing as the last DS Mario game, before Super Mario heads to retail toward the end of the year.

Staff
Avatar image for interpol
#2 Edited by Interpol (46 posts) -

interesting. and the requisite FINALLY!

Avatar image for lone_killer
#3 Posted by Lone_Killer (9 posts) -

All this game needs is Kuribo's Shoe and I'll be sold.

Avatar image for arclightborealis
#4 Posted by ArclightBorealis (1722 posts) -

The 3D thing sounds like something that could take time to get used to, and would benefit from playing the game for a while. Doing it in a demo on the show floor doesn't seem to do much.

But everything else? Looks pretty fucking awesome.

Avatar image for alwaysbeclothing
#5 Posted by AlwaysBeClothing (1774 posts) -

Tanukiiiiiiiiiiii

but Raccoon son

Avatar image for astroknot
#6 Posted by Astroknot (68 posts) -

interesting. the leaf turns him into a tanooki now? also the jumps look awfully floaty.

Avatar image for virtuaxav
#7 Posted by VirtuaXav (472 posts) -

Wow, so many decent 3DS games coming out. Between this, Luigi's Mansion and Mario Kart I'll be set for a while.

Avatar image for coombs
#8 Posted by Coombs (3510 posts) -

I was pumped when I read the raccoon tail is back, 
Then my joy was destroyed when I realized it wasn't a side-scroller. 

Avatar image for m0rdr3d
#9 Posted by m0rdr3d (476 posts) -

Not having control of the camera is a little bit sad, but come on, these games are almost always fantastic.  I've gotta play it.
Avatar image for babylonian
#10 Posted by babylonian (883 posts) -

This was the sole game trailer that had me going "WHOA I NEED THAT" during Nintendo's presser, so I'm a little disappointed to hear Brad didn't dig on it too hard. It looked like simplified, condensed, portable-friendly Galaxy-2-like experience from the teaser they put out. Hopefully the game they ship is closer to that!

Avatar image for xpgamer7
#11 Posted by Xpgamer7 (2477 posts) -

It looks the best graphically on the 3DS, and probably will bring in the most sales of the platform. On the other hand I'm tired of sidescrollers.

Avatar image for eyz
#12 Posted by Eyz (469 posts) -

Dat Plumber :P

Avatar image for abomstar
#13 Posted by Abomstar (153 posts) -

Looks like it'll be quality, but landing jumps on enemies from fixed viewing angles like these has always been sort of annoying. Not that this should pose any real challenge.

Avatar image for buft
#14 Posted by buft (3410 posts) -

thank god its coming in the near future

Avatar image for vexxan
#15 Posted by Vexxan (4633 posts) -

Looks amazing, finally some great games for the 3DS are shown.

Keep 'em coming!

Avatar image for leejunfan83
#16 Posted by leejunfan83 (1155 posts) -

so it's a mario game

Avatar image for spikey
#17 Posted by Spikey (24 posts) -

You need to have your Mario license revoked.  That "oversized koopa kid" was clearly Boom-Boom.

Avatar image for chopstix
#18 Posted by Chopstix (38 posts) -

Crash Bandicoot! 
CRASH BANDICOOT!

Avatar image for hector
#19 Posted by Hector (3547 posts) -

I was hoping it was going to be like Galaxy a bit more.

Avatar image for zelnox
#20 Posted by Zelnox (449 posts) -

Sure a Mario game, but it didn’t blow me away like the unveiling of Mario Galaxy or New Super Mario Wii. Not sold yet.

Avatar image for meatsim
#21 Posted by MeatSim (11139 posts) -

Get your raccoon on.

Avatar image for enigma777
#22 Posted by Enigma777 (6285 posts) -

Meh

Avatar image for hizang
#23 Posted by Hizang (9358 posts) -

Does this mean you can turn into a statue?

Avatar image for mopsical
#24 Posted by mopsical (32 posts) -

A mix of 2D and 3D Mario? I like where this is heading.

Avatar image for freakache
#25 Posted by FreakAche (3050 posts) -

The Super Mario?

Avatar image for gunslingerpanda
#26 Posted by GunslingerPanda (5156 posts) -

Fixed camera oersoective is definitely a good thing considering the lack of a second analog stick. Good to see Ninty are making the game on the strengths of the system and not just making a console game on a handheld.

Online
Avatar image for ryanwho
#27 Posted by ryanwho (12011 posts) -

Why is the Tanuki suit acting like the raccoon suit? Yo, Tanuki turns into stone motherfuckers. Raccoon suit flies. Get it right.

Avatar image for chrisincali
#28 Posted by ChrisInCali (149 posts) -

That trailer didn't look too good.  A lot of half-cooked things coming from Nintendo these days.

Avatar image for kjellm87
#29 Edited by Kjellm87 (1735 posts) -
@ChrisInCali said:

That trailer didn't look too good.  A lot of half-cooked things coming from Nintendo these days.

 E3 announced games often changes/ improved before it is released.  
Almost none of the stages shown in Mario Galaxy 2 at E3 was in the final product.
Avatar image for rmanthorp
#30 Posted by rmanthorp (4526 posts) -

Yeah!

Moderator
Avatar image for siphillis
#31 Posted by Siphillis (1353 posts) -

The Mario Galaxy team are f-ing technical wizards.

Avatar image for liako21
#32 Posted by liako21 (566 posts) -

you can jump on flag poles? im half way sold.

Avatar image for nunami
#33 Posted by nunami (118 posts) -

Now I have a reason to own a 3DS

Avatar image for adamazing
#34 Posted by adamazing (83 posts) -

Yes, please.
Avatar image for wintersnowblind
#35 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7598 posts) -

@ryanwho said:

Why is the Tanuki suit acting like the raccoon suit? Yo, Tanuki turns into stone motherfuckers. Raccoon suit flies. Get it right.

I thought this was very odd too.

But I'm just hoping we see more bigger levels, similar to Mario 64 and Galaxy. I was very disappointed with Galaxy 2.

Avatar image for rmanthorp
#36 Posted by rmanthorp (4526 posts) -

Very Crash like! Strange for Mario :C

Moderator
Avatar image for projektgill
#37 Posted by ProjektGill (774 posts) -

I love for them to just make super high quality side scrollers with the added 3DS power instead of a kinda mediocre polygonal game. 

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