One of the best Mario games in years.
The 3DS's gaming catalog has been rather thin since it's launch, the games that launched along side it were not hot bangers and in the months to come there really was nothing. The only notable releases were Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64, which were both remakes of N64 games. Super Mario 3D Land is at last here and I am happy to tell you that Super Mario 3D Land is not just the best 3DS game so far, but is one of the best Mario games I have played in years.
That is a bold statement, especially with games like Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Brothers Wii, but I kid you not this is one hell of a Mario game. The one thing that bothered me about the Galaxy games is there is too much time laying down a story, though Galaxy 2 is a little better I still felt there was to much time talking too that purple dude and getting you into your first world. Super Mario 3D Land gets back to basics, Mario finds a letter that shows you that Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach, Mario sets off to rescue her.
The first thing you will notice is how good the game looks, you have to see it with your own eyes to fully understand that this game looks stunning. It also is a joy to play in 3D, up until now 3DS games have not utilised the 3D well. Most games are not that enjoyable played in 3D, but Nintendo put some effort into this game and it is very fun to play with the 3D turned all the way up. The game of course looks great in 2D, but this game is meant to be experienced in 3D.
Super Mario 3D Land is also a joy to play, gone are the stars to collect or shines. Instead you must get from the start of level to the end of a level, which stands a tall flag. In each level there are three skill coins to collect, the skill coins are quite easy to obtain but the careless players out there may overlook them. The skill coins are used to access optional levels and two of three times throughout the game used to progress.
This is my one and only complaint in the game, although i had enough skill coins to progress, the number was quite high. If you were not collecting them or didn't have enough, you would have to go back and replay the levels in order to move on with the game. This may be the kind of thing which makes a person stop playing because of this, I think they should have kept these restrictions to the optional levals. But as I mentioned they are not to hard to find so it is not that big of an issue.
The game features the return of the Tanooki suit, it hasn't appeared in a Mario game since it's debut in Super Mario Bros 3. The Tanooki suit is everywhere in this game, even enemies managed to get a hold of some. It's a nice touch to see a Goomba with a Tanooki tail, the suit is also very awesome to use. There is also the Boomerang suit which gives Mario the ability to chuck Boomerangs around.
A few other features make a return, there are a few stages that feature the platforms that switch as you jump. They still prove to be one of the coolest and most frustrating Mario features in it's history. The ghost houses are here and are as great as they also are, a nice few tricks in those places to. There is one particular ghost level which features multiple puzzles to get past. The game's bosses are a nice mix to, every other world it swaps between fighting Bowser on the Bridge to fighting some of his children on an air ship. The bridge battles call back to the original game and are just as cool.
The game's soundtrack is as you would expect, nothing short of brilliant. There are new and old songs featured in the game and both are well done. The remixed songs especially are great and it just goes to show how good those original songs are.
Super Mario 3D Land is a fantastic game, even after you complete it, you will want to go back and complete it again on Special mode which adds a few new features and costumes that I will not spoil here. I usually am against the idea that one game is reason enough to get a system, but if you even are remotely interested in Mario games this is the reason to get a 3DS.