I think the greatest thing about the Super Mario platforming titles has always been the precision controls. The controls always felt good and Super Mario 3D Land was no different. The game has changed up a bit and it wasn’t what I was used to from the Super Mario Galaxy games, but, after about 5 minutes of playing, I was getting the hang of it. Once you get the hang of a Super Mario title, there is much fun to be had.
The first stage I played had your Goombas, some tight-rope walking, and the Tanooki suit (best known for its infamous tail). Wall jumping felt great, enemies died after a quick tail wag, and the 3D effects looked very good on the Nintendo 3DS. One change I did notice was with going through warp pipes. When standing on a warp pipe, you have to press the ‘R’ button to go through them. It’s a small change, but a practical one. In the previous titles, you would stand on a pipe and go through them no matter what. The ‘R’ button is also for ducking and ground pounding when in the air, so it makes sense. Another nice touch I thought was that the Tanooki suit randomly comes off of Goombas with tails when defeated. You can also store up items similar to New Super Mario Bros. where you can summon the suit on the fly.
The second stage I played was an airship level, which is from Super Mario Bros. 3 lore. This was your typical screen moving stage where, if you don’t keep up, you’ll get squished behind a wall. This stage was definitely cool to play, simply because of the love so many have with the airship levels. This was also the first time I saw and got into a clear/purple block that teleports you into areas to collect coins, get power-ups, etc. The only power I got to try out was the Tanooki suit, even when hitting the block that randomizes items. =(
The last stage I tried was one of those Mario stages where there is no conventional theme or setting. It’s kind of just blocks and platforms floating in midair. These are usually some of the more clever stages and this one didn’t disappoint. In this stage, you hit switches to activate platforms to appear. As they are appearing, you better keep up and get on them as fast as possible, because they disappear after a short time. Wall-jumping and good timing got me through this stage, but I definitely fell off the stages far too many times than I should have.
After playing three levels, was solid through and through. I can’t wait for the game to release. That is all.