Release date: November 3, 2011.
Released on: 3DS.
3D Super Mario Land is the first real Mario game for the 3DS system. As such, we can expect new ideas and concepts on the table. We may not notice, but the back of the box says "Classic Mario with a modern twist". I thought it was not only the ultimate experience and one of the most honest statements that may been put on the back of the box, but also a perfect blend of classic and modern gaming in a systematic sense.
After starting up the game you'll be asked if you want to activate StreetPass, with it enabled you can interact with other players of SM3DL. By doing so ''Mysterious boxes'' are activated. Speaking of mystery boxes, these are additional bonus mini-levels that only last 10 seconds where you can get more Star medals that you can later use to unlock more content in the game. As soon as you begin the first stage you'll immediately notice that Mario is considerably slower than he was in Super Mario Galaxy. In addition to the classic moves there are also newer ones such as the long jump and the side flip, but they are somewhat difficult to achieve because the arrangement of buttons on the 3DS. There is not a great disadvantage if you cant pull these off since they are rarely needed to move forward and are mostly used to speed up the process.
Power-ups in SM3DL are kept on the minimal, you always starts like Super Mario, but can be reduced to small Mario with a single blow. Mario can also turn into Tanooki Mario, Boomerang Mario, and Fire Mario. Along with these power-ups, Mario can also find blocks that have useful features. One of those blocks is the Propellor Block, which has been brought back from New Super Mario Bros, there is also the Wii's Propellor Suit and the Coin Blocks.
In terms of bosses, it is somewhat disappointing that there are only 3 castles with Bowser as a boss. Super Mario 3D Land emulates Super Mario Bros. 3 in more than one way, but perhaps the more obvious homage are the Air Ship levels.
In terms of visuals, 3D Mario looks absolutely beautiful. It is very much resembles the look of Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. There is certainly enough technology here to get an idea of what the future of the3DS can look like. There are a lot of details for each level. The only downside to this is the lack of control over the camera. In most places the camera is implemented pretty well and is moving in perfect harmony with the place where you are and where you have to go. However, there are times when the lack of control over the camera can leave you confused as to where to go next and advance. You wont die a lot, but at certain times the platforming can get a bit more difficult because you'll be unsure right off hand really where the next platform is.
3D Super Mario Land does not reinvent the wheel, but it takes the best from the 2D games of its past and combines them with the best 3D game play and somehow makes it work. Levels can be short, but there are a lot of them and there are plenty of replay value to be attained here.