Review by Horsie_Walker
A somewhat claustrophobic experience lacking one vital ingredient but slap Sonic's sorry mug on it and it's genius...
The fact that Super Mario 3D Land shares the Galaxy games' graphical style has perhaps led to its comparatively underwhelming critical reception. The truth is, this is a very intricately put together linear 3D platformer that aims to placate the divergence in sales and quality between the 2D (New Super Mario Bros.) and 3D (Super Mario Galaxy) Mario titles.
In other words, it hopes to provide a midway point for those who want idiosyncratic updates to a tried and tested archetype and those who prefer new experiences that defy expectations. That, and it hopes to present the most compelling reason to advocate 3D's pertinence to video games outside of the obvious - if temporary - visual verve.
Game Design: 8/10
The added sense of depth afforded by the 3DS hardware supposedly renders 3D space more manageable for those of us daunted by four more directions in which to move. Whether this is accomplished should be relayed to those unfortunate enough to fall within the aforementioned camp (seriously, what's wrong with you lazy people?).
The claustrophobia mentioned in title is a reference to the lack of a meaningful "hub" world (such as a world map) which is replaced by a nebulous space of nothing where one traverses between levels "5-5" and "5-6". This is quite simply what ultimately deprives 3D Land of that environmental charm that has accommodated our whimsical desires to run around like idiots for the last twenty six years.
HOWEVER, the use of fixed camera angles and suspended objects makes exemplary use of the 3D technology and; as stated, if this were anyone else but Mario and Nintendo Genius
Visual Design 10/10
Whilst it doesn't make as much use of rim lighting, fur shading, or the other well-implemented effects of the Wii's Galaxy games, the visuals are near enough carbon copies of their console kin; which makes them nothing short of excellent.
Sound Design 8/10
The Galaxy games' conquering orchestras are a tough act to reproduce, says conventional wisdom; that miserable cynic Nonetheless, there are a few tunes that are pleasant to behold and the soundtrack does accompany the action expertly especially in the sonically interactive levels.
Ultimately, its rather difficult to see SM3DL as anything other than a running, bouncing, compromise that failed somewhat in its attempt to spread quality entertainment concepts across two very different game-play models. This is in no way to say that the game is of poor quality or that the acclaimed team behind it has lost its lustrein fact, special praise should be directed to this team for finding a (not a particularly memorable) way for casual and devoted sensibilities to co-exist. [8/10]
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Super Mario 3D Land (EU, 11/18/11)
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