Five Reasons to Get Excited for Super Mario 3D Land

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The announcement of any solo Mario title is news enough to get us excited. From Super Mario Galaxy to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Nintendo knows how to keep the short plumber in red and blue overalls a goomba-stomping, block-punching force of entertainment. This month, everyone's favorite video game Italian travels back through green pipes of yesteryear, connecting the old and the new of Mario games. In case you need 'em, here are five reasons to look forward to Super Mario 3D Land.

The Rainbow Road Between 2D and 3D

Super Mario 3D Land might, as its name implies, take advantage of Nintendo's latest handheld innovation in 3D gaming, but it also returns the series to its 2D side-scrolling days. Nintendo has pumped a lot of effort into building this 3D Mario game from scratch, a first for a handheld game in the series, and the attempt could serve as the perfect middle for both fans of the older side-scrolling gems and the more modern iterations.

super mario 3d land super leaf

So why is this exciting? Imagine the open world nook and crannies of 3D Mario games like Mario 64 stitched together with the branching but linear paths of 2D wonders like Super Mario Bros. 3. The potential for environmental and gameplay depth is immense. As anyone can see from the 70+ screenshots Nintendo has shared in anticipation for the game, the scope of the levels in promises to make the player feel as though Mario is running around a continent-sized Kingdom, with the land and sea fading into the horizon. You can even spot Peach's castle twinkling in the background.

As Super Mario Bros. 3 proved, you don't need fully realized 3D castles and gardens to conceal dozens of secret areas and treasures.

Playful Environments and Enemies

3D Land is, simply put, a rush of color. The Mario games have always experimented with color palettes, from the night scenes of Super Mario Bros. to the chalk drawings that make up Yoshi's Island. Super Mario 3D Land looks especially lush and bright, and it's filled from top to bottom with excitement.

super mario 3d land goomba tanooki

We really like the fake, cardboard goombas—a tactic that gives the real goombas a little more credit, proving they aren't the lowest of the low in the Mushroom Kingdom. Some of them have even grown to jumbo size, sweeping the ground with a Tanooki tail. It's creativity like this—not fancy 3D graphics—that will make Super Mario 3D Land feel much larger than the little screen on the 3DS can hold.

Old Scenes and Staples

Super Mario 3D Land marks the return of a lot of old favorites. Flagpoles, time limits, and even jump blocks (the ones with music notes) are all back in the Mushroom Kingdom. For some of these, like the jump blocks, this game marks their first appearance in a 3D Mario platformer. Nintendo truly is combining the best of both 3D and 2D worlds. Speaking of worlds, players have eight to explore (not counting the specials). Prepare to head underground, swim underwater, and revisit the pyramids. Even with its themed worlds, Super Mario 3D Land offers plenty of variety in its levels, from airships to tropical islands and haunted houses.

super mario 3d land airship

The Suits

Another old favorite that deserves a category all to itself is the Tanooki Suit. Any buzz that's been heard about Super Mario 3D Land has almost always included the word "Tanooki," followed by happy exclamations. And who wouldn't be excited? Some modifications have been made, though. For instance, Mario now turns into Tanooki Mario by obtaining a Super Leaf, an item that in Super Mario Bros. 3 transformed Mario into the flight-ready Raccoon Mario.

Mario will also squeeze into at least one new suit, also a twist on an old costume. Introducing the Boomerang Suit, which is donned when Mario grabs a Boomerang Flower. This suit is similar to the Hammer Suit power-up from Super Mario Bros. 3.

super mario 3d land tanooki bee

Good Enough to Buy the 3DS

Any game that's worth all this hype and bears this good of credentials is worth buying a 3DS for. Nintendo has made a lot of mistakes over the past six months, but at least fans can count on Super Mario 3D Land to raise their spirits. If only Christmas had come six months ago.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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