Super Mario 3D Land: Nitpicking Greatness

Finding fault with Super Mario 3D Land is like searching for blemishes on a beautiful woman, where discovering one doesn’t necessarily make her less attractive.

To that end, we adore everything about Mario’s latest adventure. Well, almost everything.

Don’t get us wrong. This is one of the premier titles for 3DS and yet another platforming masterpiece from the publisher that practically owns the genre.

At the same time, we can’t help but wish the big N had made some tweaks, such as…

Themed worlds

Although Super Mario 3D Land is the spiritual successor to Super Mario Bros. 3, the various worlds you’ll explore lack consistent flow. There’s no Desert or Giant Land to speak of. Instead, the worlds are a mish mash of different locations. One second, Mario wanders through a grassy location, the next, he gazes up at a giant pyramid.

The result? Very little that distinguishes one world from the next.

More dialogue

With the rare exception of Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, Mario games have always been light on story and dialogue. Fair enough, but it would have been nice to receive some pearls of wisdom, or at the very least, a “please save the princess, Mario” from the numerous Toads populating this game. Instead, they just stand around.

Longer stages

Most of the levels in Super Mario 3D Land, while expertly designed, left us wanting more. Just as a stage hits its stride, the end level flagpole appears. At least on the positive side, they’re short but sweet.

More unique boss fights

We praised Nintendo’s decision to bring the airships from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Super Mario 3D Land. The boss battles that ensue, however, leave something to be desired, with too few characters and subtle variations that do little to make each fight unique.

The game’s too easy

There’s no way around it. Super Mario 3D Land doesn’t seem nearly as difficult as Mario games past. There are too many chances for extra lives, Fire Flowers and coins.

Granted, tracking down all those star coins takes quite a bit of effort, but you’ll plow through this game without much resistance. Well, there’s a big surprise we cannot mention. We’ll let you discover that on your own.

Are any of these things deal breakers? Hardly. Super Mario 3D Land is one heck of a game, as well as a must play for every 3DS owner. Find out just how phenomenal this title is on Wednesday, when we post our review.

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