Super Mario 3D Land preview: We clear World 1 and kick Bowser's butt

While allowing the plumber to hover over the occasional gap was helpful before, the level we played featured massive drops that had us essentially base-jumping from platform to platform, falling hundreds of feet between levels. It felt fantastic, and really showed off the power of the platform, with large, open areas that looked absolutely magnificent in 3D. The playfulness with depth helped show how strong the 3D effect can look when used correctly. The fourth level, too, played with this depth, and reminded us of some of the more platform-heavy segments from Super Mario World that took place in the clouds.

Above: Don't look down. Don't look down. Don't look down

After finishing off the regular levels we were met with another familiar stage: Bowser’s Castle. It, too, was in full 3D, capped off with a confrontation with Bowser on a wooden bridge. Mario fans will smile when they find that Bowser has learned his lesson from previous Super Mario Bros. titles. Mario’s nemesis isn’t going to simply going to step aside and let some fat plumber hit a switch to burn him alive. This time he’s blowing fire at Mario well before he’s anywhere near the switch, and continuously trying to stop him from getting there. It’s futile, obviously, as this was only World 1. But even though our first bout with Bowser wasn’t incredibly difficult, it gives you a good idea of the fine line Nintendo’s walking between the best of Mario’s classic titles and newer 3D adventures.

After completing the first World we’re more excited than ever for Super Mario 3D Land. Shocking, we know. Nintendo looks to have continued its mastery of piling on nostalgic, retro love without sacrificing the modern feel, but this time they did it while reminding us of the level design we fell in love with in the 2D versions of the game. We don’t know how they did it, but we’re hoping the rest of the game is as fresh, varied, and original as the first world. In November, we’ll know for sure.

Sep 15, 2011


  • shawksta - September 16, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    Its Nintendo Magic, as far as teaching us how awesome classic platforming is, nintendo does it best, I honestly cant wait for this game! Didnt bowser have a racoon tail? Or its just not on world 1?
  • GameManiac - September 19, 2011 11:29 a.m.

    He did have a racoon tail. I just don't know why.
  • CitizenWolfie - September 16, 2011 6:58 a.m.

    This looks great and hopefully it'll give me a reason to hold on to my 3DS. More of these plese Nintendo! And possibly a Wind Waker in the virtual store or a 3D remake? Anyway back on topic - the graphics are great and all but I'd really like to see a proper 2D Mario again with sprites or more of a cartoony animation (like the upcoming Rayman game). Even if they just tried it as a DS Ware release. I'm also reserving judgement for the rolling move - I remember back in the day that if you missed an item block or secret entrance because of not saving a shell, you'd have to replay the level. Gives you more incentive to keep playing the levels to see what you can find.
  • tomthespesh - September 16, 2011 3:21 a.m.

    Dammit I've been secretly hoping the anything and everything to do with the 3DS would be rubbish as I can't really afford one. But with this, Zelda, Mario Kart, Starfox and so forth I fear I'll be living off about 20p in my bank account as I really want 3DS now.
  • taokaka - September 16, 2011 2:09 a.m.

    so does the side scrolling level play like LBP's 3 layers?
  • AuthorityFigure - September 16, 2011 1:59 a.m.

    I hate it if they make it so that his hat can come off...
  • Hobogonigal - September 16, 2011 1:09 a.m.

    I am super looking forwards to this game! Can't wait!
  • ncurry2 - September 15, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    This does look awesome but I'd have to say I'm more excited for Skyward Sword than any other game atm.
  • fullmetallegend - September 15, 2011 8:09 p.m.

    This looks awesome. I want a Mario more in the vein of Mario 64 and Sunshine, though. Haven't had one of those in a looong time. (No, neither of the Galaxies felt like them to me.)
  • MrDuracraft - September 15, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    Oh man this preview has me much more excited for the game. Previous previews on GR and others made the game seem too easy and boring, but this has made me decide to definitely get it, especially considering this was only World 1.
  • mikeleddy83 - September 15, 2011 5:34 p.m.

    Should I feel guilty for wanting this more than Uncharted 3 or any of the other "big" games?
  • crispychicken - September 15, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    If it is, I guess I feel pretty guilty.
  • isimikehinde - September 17, 2011 2:56 a.m.

    Nope, u shouldn't feel guilty at all.Uncharted 3, battlefield 3,Arkham City, are awesome but so is Super Mario 3D Land.

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