Super Mario 3D Land is a terrific platformer that mixes moments of insane difficulty with a player-friendly approach and brilliant visuals that perhaps more than any title so far, make a case for 3D visuals as an essential component of gameplay.
How so? Acrophobia, to put it simply. Running and jumping to ridiculous heights has always been at the core of Mario games, and the Nintendo 3DS’ stereoscopic visuals make it easy to imagine what it would be like to ascend – and perhaps fall – hundreds of feet. The handheld’s visual capabilities also make enemies, fireballs and even boomerangs as if appear as if they are capable of flying towards and almost out of the screen itself.
But as nice as the graphics are, Super Mario 3D Land – and any other game – needs to be fun to play to avoid failure. Thankfully, Nintendo delivered a classic Mario experience that relies on the traditional running and jumping exploits of vintage Super Mario Bros. while adding a series of zany and zanier surprises to keep things interesting.