I was recently lucky enough to spend a few minutes in the company of an old friend, and his latest adventure…
After spending a few minutes with Mario Kart 7, I quickly made my way across to Super Mario 3D Land which had, by far, the biggest presence in the Nintendo booth.
When I began my demo, I was given four options, a basic level with the Tanooki suit, an underground level with fire-flower Mario, a Galaxy-esque flip-switch level or a Boss battle. As I was playing with one hand, and taking photos with the other I opted for the easy option. I also really wanted to see how the Tanooki suit had translated to this latest iteration!
You begin this level looking into the distance at what appears to be a large white castle you will eventually ascend. Throughout the demo I kept sliding the 3D on and off to get the best shots, but also to see how the 3D effect affects game-play. Seeing this level with the 3D on just proves that Miyamoto knew what he was doing. Squashing on Goombas, hitting blocks, and hopping across moving platforms has never been easier!
The controls themselves feel very natural and understandable to anyone who has played a Mario game before. The Circle Pad moves Mario, A is used for jumping, hold this to hover whilst wearing the Tanooki suit. X is used to dash, and Y is used to attack with fireballs or your tail.
Whilst the action happens on the top screen, the lower screen is also put to good use. Bang in the centre is a large icon for your current power up item, such as a mushroom, a leaf or a even fire flower. Simply touch this to have the power up drop in front of Mario on the top screen to give you the extra power when you need it. The lower screen also features your current level, amount of extra lives and three empty slots you fill when you collect three hidden golden coins, just like in New Super Mario Bros.
As I got further through this level I met a wealth of familiar enemies such as Goombas and fire-spurting piranha plants, but there was also a couple of new additions. The first of which not an enemy per-Se but instead a cardboard cut out of a Goomba, which if you were playing with the 3D off, may trick you! The only other enemy to appear was a new variation on a traditional Goomba, featuring a Tanooki tail, these can also perform the same hover-jump as Mario. I will admit this took my by surprise and I did loose a life!
A few other old-school staples have been implemented in this latest adventure, such as the bouncing white musical platforms, which as you jump on them play a tune. The yellow ascending and descending platforms which disappear at the end of their journey also return, as well as the end of stage flag you jump on to complete the level! There was a warp-pipe in the level but I was unable to go in it, whether or not this is just a dud pipe or not accessible as part of the demo, is unknown.
I was unable to hear the music or sound effects in the game due to the busy nature of a game show, but as previously heard in past trailers of the game all of the classic tunes will appear.
Whilst I’ve played every Mario platforming title to date, I respect what was achieved in each title but would not claim to be a fan. The recent New Super Mario Bros have taken the series in a very ‘accessible’ direction, proving no challenge to an experienced gamer. I would say the two Galaxy games are a huge juxtaposition to this, and I thoroughly enjoyed the second title. I was apprehensive regarding Super Mario 3D Land as it does look to resemble the NSMB games, but I came away feeling enthused, and will definitely pick this up on launch day. I just hope I don’t have to ration my play-time to avoid completing it in one session.
I’ve included a few off-screen shots in a gallery below…