‘Super Mario 3D Land’
I have never been a Super Mario fan. I am pretty bad at playing platform games, and the silliness of Mario did not appeal to me. Considering this, I was surprised to find myself enjoying “Super Mario 3D Land,” the Mario game on Nintendo’s latest handheld, the 3DS. The platform puzzles in the game are well-designed for the handheld gaming experience, and I had a lot of fun playing it.
Like all Super Mario Bros. games, the story involves saving Princess Peach from the evil boss, Bowser. You control Mario, who attacks and solves puzzles by jumping, although you will get a few upgrades to give him the abilities to shoot fireballs and attack enemies using your tail. There are no fancy moves you can pull off, but this deficiency does make it easier for you to get used to the controls of the game. In previous “Mario” titles, I found the controls clunky at times, which made it hard for me to keep Mario from falling off the screen. This is definitely not the case for “3D Land”—controlling the movement of Mario is made much more intuitive and not as demanding.
The game is basically made of a few dozen platform puzzles called courses, and the sole objective for Mario is to reach the end of each course, where he climbs up a flagpole. You fight bosses occasionally, and you are supposed to find out the weaknesses of each boss in order to defeat it. Although the controls in this game are not as demanding as in previous titles, you are still required to be sufficiently proficient with the controls to beat the courses. The courses are generally short and are meant to be beat in around two minutes, which is great for a game on a handheld system. However, sometimes you will be stuck in certain situations, and you will feel frustrated because you have to start over if you die. I understand that this is a Mario tradition, but not having the ability to respawn at the place I died really made the game unnecessarily frustrating to play. Nintendo could have taken these frustrations out of the game easily, but unfortunately they chose not to do so.
Overall, the game is a great choice if you are looking to have some games to play on your Nintendo 3DS, which hasn’t received a lot of support from the gaming industry and for which there are few titles worth buying at this moment. The game can get frustrating at times, but otherwise it is a well-designed, light-hearted game, with bite-sized courses for you to enjoy during your study breaks.