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Super Mario 3D Land has been released on 3DS and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"Super Mario 3D Land does what very few games have had the bravery to do and play with the 3D space, rather than around it. What it lacks in cohesive adventure it makes up for with a wealth of fresh ideas..."
- Novel Gamer (Fri, 04 May 2012)
"Super Mario 3D Land is an unconventional Mario game. But to overlook the playful charms for the lack a score or steep difficulty curve is to miss the point -- and more importantly a good reason to trade up to a 3DS..."
- Family Gamer (Thu, 10 Nov 2011)
Super Mario 3D Land will bridge the gaps between classic Super Mario platforming, the once-new freedoms of Super Mario 64 and the beauty and boundless imagination of Super Mario Galaxy. Many of the levels are classic side-scrolling Mario, given new depth by the 3D display and the benefit of modern graphics, while others provide the world-leaping and free exploration of Mario's more modern adventures.
Developed for the 3DS itself, Super Mario 3D Land's design is clearly a product of a console with no native second analogue stick. The gameplay guides the player through fixed-camera scenarios and it's an interesting thought that this could be the same game that Super Mario Galaxy would have been if the player had been denied the ability to rotate the camera.
Mario doesn't appear to be any worse for the restriction, though. What we see instead is more and more lavish imagination and ideas delivered to the player. While the player cannot choose the viewing angle, the action provides enough variation on ideas to make the fixed camera work for the game and at first glance this appears to be another huge Mario adventure squeezed onto the handheld 3DS.
We'll see for ourselves when Super Mario 3D Land is released on Nov 18th 2011.
Super Mario 3DS carries the weight of a dynasty on its shoulders. As the pieces come together though, it looks like a pretty safe bet for the first truly 3D Mario.
Mario 64 was an uncomfortable revolution, what you gained in 3D you lost in pixel perfect jumps. Super Mario 3DS can set this straight by using the 3D screen to accurately depict depth.
It is still very early days for the project, but I expect the game will sit in relation to Mario 64 the same way that New Super Mario Brothers does to the original Super Mario Brothers. The focus will be on finesse, execution and revisiting existing ideas as well as introducing a fair share of variety.
From footage and screen shots I have seen it is at least clear that this is a largely traditional Mario game with the same focus on time jumps and puzzle solving. The team behind the game is the same people who worked on Super Mario Galaxy so we can also expect more bite sized encounters and variety than previous Mario games.
Nintendo have release four screens, which you can see here, but more interestingly a temporary logo that featured the Tanooki suite tail. This granted Mario the ability to fly in Super Mario Brothers 2 - and was known as the Racoon suite for the way it made Mario look.
Other points of interest in these screens are their similar style to Super Mario Galaxy, the appearance of a small Mario and a variety of different types of blocks.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: