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Nintendo 3DS: Super Mario 3D Land Review

Super Mario 3D Land sees the return of Nintendo’s iconic mascot for the company’s latest platform the Nintendo 3DS, but is it as good as others would have you believe? Read on to find out.

How does Super Mario 3D Land look?

The first thing that strikes you when you embark on Mario’s latest adventure is just how crisp, colourful and downright gorgeous the game looks. Whilst Super Mario Galaxy 2 looked beautiful on the Wii you couldn’t help but notice that the visuals weren’t as sharp as you would have liked due to the standard definition display on Wii. With Super Mario 3D Land on Nintendo 3DS everything is razor-sharp due to the small LCD screen which leads you to believe that Super Mario 3D Land is the more visually impressive game out of the two. The game looks stunning.

As it’s a handheld game will I be able to explore?

The first question I had when I first played Super Mario 3D Land is will I be able to explore the levels, or will they be too small and compact? With Mario games I love to explore the open worlds, climb the trees and take in the scenery from all different angles and I was able to do this with Super Mario 3D Land. Yes, the stages are smaller than Super Mario Galaxy but they’re packed full of little touches and star coins that entice you to explore every nook and cranny the game has to offer.

So, how are the 3D effects?

As some of you may know I don’t generally play Nintendo 3DS games in 3D but with Super Mario 3D Land I felt compelled to. It really does make a difference to the gameplay. With the 3D on you’re able to navigate any tricky jumps better and of course Nintendo has included set pieces which take full advantage of the 3D effects such as Bowsers notorious fireballs amongst others. This is the first Nintendo 3DS game I’ve played with the 3D on the whole way through the game and not once did anything make me want to turn it off.


Super Mario 3D Land combines the best of Super Mario Galaxy and New Super Mario Bros Wii to create the perfect Mario game for a handheld. There’s been so much love, dedication and experience put into Super Mario 3D Land that you really couldn’t ask for more from a handheld Mario title. Highly recommended.


67 thoughts on “Nintendo 3DS: Super Mario 3D Land Review”

    1. To be honest the only reason I didn’t give it a ten is I would have preferred it on a console due to the sheer size it would have offered. But as a handheld Mario it honestly doesn’t get much better than Super Mario 3D Land.

        1. It would have got a ten if the environments were bigger, but they couldn’t be any bigger as the game’s on a handheld. As I say it’s perfectly suited to a handheld but the game also wasn’t as ground-breaking as Super Mario 64 which I would have given a ten.

          1. One reason I’ve heard pretty regularly for 9.5 is that everything up to World 8 is on the easy side, giving the game a “slow start.”

            1. they could make a game with big environments like super mario 64, this game is just more linear because its a mixture of 2d mario games

    2. I’ve got over 180 star coins so far. Love the game. Hard to put down. Really liked the Zelda level and when the secret chime sounded when I lit the four torches. Haven’t focused too much on the time challenges yet but I plan on it. This game is a must for all 3DS owners.

      1. Then it would be a long and lengthy review which isn’t something I was looking to do. The reviews will continue in this format as I believe they work. If you want lengthy reviews (which I don’t read) then head to Eurogamer or Edge.

        1. I have to admit, for the purpose of this website, a full-length review wouldn’t be ideal. I can understand what you’re trying to do. That being said, they could use a little more substance, instead of a couple arbitrary questions. Then again their are other outlets to see in-depth reviews so hey, I’m not complaining.

  1. I got mine yesterday and it was incredibly fun, but it’s also super easy compared to the older games, I’m in world 4 and only died 5 times and you get like 3 1UPs everytime just by finishing a level.

    good for causal players

  2. I dont have anything against super mario 3d land when i say this its a very great epicly awesome game but i honestly feel like the levels were made too short a bit too easy i mean ive beaten literally more then half of the main story of the game in 1 day being yesterday to World 5’s castle but i would’ve liked it if the levels were a bit longer compared to Super mario galaxy and mario galaxy 2’s levels.

    1. It’s supposed to be a pick-up-and-play title, fittingly enough for a handheld game. The first 6 worlds or so a pretty easy, but the difficulty picks up from there.

      1. In terms of completion yes, in terms of collecting coins – I’ve noticed a few that are harder to get (I didn’t have much trouble, but can see others seeing it hard). Like there’s one in world 3 or 4 where you need to jump down grab the coin and use the propeller block back up.

  3. I’m enjoying the game, but I have a few issues. It seems like the run button doesn’t work as effectively as it does with NSMB. It makes a few jumps harder to do, and I have to try a few times before I get it right. I also wish that the Tanooki suit allowed you to become a statue, that was a classic part of that power up.

    I love the music and love the retro music from Mario 3. The game is still great, I just had a few nit-picks about it. I’m on 5-1 after this morning.

    1. I’ve only played a demo of Mario Kart 7 but from what I played the game is shaping up to be possibly the best Mario Kart ever. Will have to wait and see!

  4. It’s a great game, and I’m glad your many posts about it had convinced me to pick it up on launch day yesterday (US). I thought I beat the game, but nope, saved the Princess and there’s more to do! It’s fantastic!

  5. After playing Super Mario 3D Land, I thought it was good, but nothing special. Bottom line, if you have a 3DS, buy this game, otherwise, don’t feel like you should buy a 3DS just to play this game. The levels are easy and short, you’ll end up with more lives than you know what to do with, and it feels similar to past Mario titles. (NSMB for example, just in 3D environments) But even so, it’s still a fun little adventure to go on that caters to our nostalgic histories with the Super Mario Bros. My personal score: 8.5/10

  6. Hmm it seems like every review I’ve seen here(I’ve only been here a few months) has been a 9 or 9.5. But I think one may have been an 8…Can’t remember. I don’t really care much though.

  7. How is the frame rate? It looks kind of slow judging by videos, but the compression videos go through when uploaded and converted may be the cause of this. Does it run at 30fps or 60 like Galaxy? If 30, does it still feel nice and smooth? The videos just seem a tad off to me.

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