Mario is returning with a big bang in the next couple of weeks. However, it is all new again as he debuts on the Nintendo 3DS. Last night, Nintendo hosted an event showcasing Mario’s latest portable adventures. Fellow Capsule Computer Editor Michael Marr (also known as Spike) gave his impressions on Mario Kart 7, while Capsule Computer Editor Claire Phillips recounted the events of that night. So, what was I in charge of? Well, unless you did read the title of the article, I was in charge of playtesting Mario’s latest adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario 3D Land. To put it simply, this is going to be one of the best portable titles this year.
So, after trying out some Mario Kart 7, the three of us moved on with Super Mario. The first thing I had noticed (after loading the file already there) was how they have designed the map. In previous outings, notably the first trilogy, it was a 2D map where you move Mario around. This time, it is a straight line with the level confined into a cube. What I liked is the quick selection of the worlds. At the top of the map, each of the worlds are tabbed. If you have finished a world, tapping the tab will teleport you straight back to that world. Just like most of the 2D games, Super Mario 3D land will feature eight worlds.
Alright, so what about the levels themselves? First off, they look very impressive. They are vibrant, colourful and bright. The animations are smooth. But the level design is what makes this game a must own. The 3D feature in the Nintendo 3DS has been called gimmicky, but I expected Nintendo make the 3D essential in a game like Mario. I can proudly say that the 3D is not only essential, but it works. The level revolves around the 3D. In one particular level, I had to guide Mario down platforms of clouds. The perspective was top down. The 3D added depth to the level. It looked liked I was actually free-falling in the sky towards these platforms. This is one of the most standout sections of the level. The gyroscope controls do make a cameo as binoculars at certain levels. It allows you to see where the end of the level is.
Alright, now there is one more thing that I need to speak about that I have not mentioned in this preview at all. It is the main focus of Mario’s new adventure. I am talking about, of course, of the famed Tanooki Suit. It had made its debut in Super Mario Brothers 3 and makes its return in Super Mario 3D Land, as well as the leaf making its debut in the Mario Kart series in Mario Kart 7. The Tanooki Suit looks very good in 3D. The classic racoon look never looks better, with the finer details, like the underskin, given the attention it deserves. The classic tail whip is back and very useful. however, as the levels are 3D, you won’t be able to glide yourself from one end of the level to the other side, meaning that P bar in Super Mario Bros. 3 will not reappear. The gliding element is still implemented, however, and it will help you with reaching the top of the flagpole at the end of the level. I mean, it is going to be a great way to gain those extra lives.
All in all, Nintendo are once again bringing the big guns with their own hardware. Alongside Mario kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land will bring out the best of the Nintendo 3DS. With the levels taking advantage of what 3D has to offer for those still sitting on the fence. The game also brings out the best of the 3DS graphical capabilities, with the bright, vibrant colours that bring out that Mario charm. The Tanooki Suit’s reappearance also adds a new element of gameplay while bringing back a popular power up, which is surprising that they are bringing it back now. Drop your smartphones, people, as Mario is back and better than ever.
Super Mario 3D Land is in stores November 24, which happens to be tomorrow.