Mario’s first major outing on the 3DS has to walk a tightrope. On one hand it’s designed to be catnip for die-hard Nintendo fans that takes them on another wide-eyed trip into the familiar but always imaginative Mushroom Kingdom. But Super Mario 3D Land is also out to charm the wider audience who lapped up New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
At first it feels like the difficulty is skewed towards Mario’s newer fans. It only takes a few gentle plays for the last of the game’s eight worlds to seem no more than a double jump away. Thankfully it’s a trick. The end is but a mirage that gives way to a bank of tougher levels that will enthrall expert Mario helpers.
But whether it’s the easier opening worlds or the steelier challenges that follow, Super Mario 3D Land is never short of ideas. It may be built on pleasantly familiar ideas from previous Marios, but Nintendo is still capable of conjuring up new, exciting, inventive and (sometimes) bonkers experiences for its chubby plumber and this is no exception. Whether its soaring into the skies with the aid of a Propeller Box or just touring its playground-like landscapes, you’ll be hard pressed not to play Super Mario 3D Land without a smile on your face.
The 3D is understated but it does play a bigger role than in most 3DS titles, helping players spot the nooks and crannies of the Mushroom Kingdom that they might otherwise have missed.
Like all the finest Marios, Super Mario 3D Land is a joyous trip that takes older players down memory lane, gives younger fans a helping hand and gives everyone a bumper supply of primary coloured thrills.