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The Buy it/Avoid it Report :: Issue #008


Super Mario 3D Land

>> In my 30 years on this earth, I have played a ton of games. More specifically, I have played a ton of Mario games. Running around, collecting coins, obtaining power-ups, stomping on goombas, breaking blocks -- these actions are as natural to me as breathing. They are soul food for my game-obsessed heart. I�d even go as far to say that the Mario series of games (omitting spin-offs like Mario Party, sports, etc.) are the most consistent video games in terms of quality, and have been since the original in 1985. Back when Mario first entered the third dimension on the Nintendo 64, a lot of the classic NES/SNES sensibilities had to be left behind which created a rift in the Super Mario franchise. From that point on, you have your 2D sidescrollers (New Super Mario Bros. on DS) and your 3D adventure games (Super Mario Galaxy on Wii) each carving their own path. What we haven�t seen yet is a flawless melding of the two....until now.

Super Mario 3D Land, I�m happy to say, is the first great game built for 3DS. Up until this point, no game in the 3DS library has taken the concept of the glasses-free 3D beyond the �Ooooooh looky� phase. For this reason, the slider which controls the intensity of the 3D has stayed primarily in the �off� position since I acquired the system back in March. With 3D Land though, the stages are built in such a clever way, they actually use the added depth as a gameplay mechanic, instead of gimmick. Refreshing! There�s also a command assigned to the d-pad that switches the 3D from outward to more inward. It�s hard to explain the effect without seeing it with your own eyes but I found it to be a thoughtful inclusion nonetheless. It doesn�t hurt that the game is downright gorgeous too, rivalling some of the best looking Wii games out there. This is due in part to the solid precision of the automatic camera which always keeps the action on-screen and never ever requires your input.

As with any Mario game, power-ups are all over the place and each one alters the plumber in uniquely helpful ways. Of course the Tanooki Suit is in full effect here. Eh, well partial effect is probably more accurate. Unfortunately, the gift of flight is no longer part of the package but tail-whacking and floating still are. Other power-ups include returning favorites like the Super Mushroom and the Fire Flower, along with new ones like the Boomerang Flower and the Propeller Box. The later is exactly what it sounds like and is used to great effect on some of the vertical stages unique to 3D Land. The Star Coins hidden in each stage are used to unlock bonus levels and boss battles down the line, so they�re definitely worth searching for. Flag poles once again serve as the ending point for each stage and the Bowser bridge fights make a triumphant return as well. All in all, Super Mario 3D Land is a perfect blend of new and old concepts and a great reason to own a 3DS.

BUY IT if you�ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Tanooki Leaf.

AVOID IT if Mario games became far less interesting once you were introduced to beer pong and UFC.

(Fun fact: I typed "3D" 13 times over the course of this feature. Ugh.)


That's it for #008! As always, I appreciate your time and I cherish your comments. Thanks for reading and more importantly, for giving me a reason to write. Please don't let that stop you from throwing valid criticisms my way though. I'm a big supporter of brutal honesty and I assure you, I can take it. See you next issue!

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About Phoustone of us since 2:05 AM on 02.11.2010

(Banner crafted by the amazing COM 01)

My name is Eric. I'm 39.
Here are some random things I'm into:

The Buy it/Avoid it Report - back issues
#001 - Ilomilo, Uncharted 2, Infinity Blade, Pac-Man CE DX, Battlefield BC2: Vietnam, PixelJunk Shooter
#002 - Batman: Brave & Bold, DJ Hero 2, Dead Space 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Bulletstorm
#003 - Pokemon Black/White, PixelJunk Shooter 2, Monster Tale, God of War III, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Torchlight
#004 - Portal 2, Steel Diver, Sin & Punishment Star Successor, Pilotwings Resort, Crysis 2, Blocks That Matter
#005 - L.A. Noire, Alice Madness Returns, Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D, Shadows of the Damned
#006 - GoldenEye 007, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, AC: Brotherhood, Sword & Sworcery EP, Trenched
#007 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Jetpack Joyride, Gears of War 3, The Binding of Isaac, Renegade Ops
#008 - Dark Souls, League of Evil, Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, Super Mario 3D Land
#009 - The Buy it/Avoid it Report's Awards - 2011
#010 - Spelunky, Max Payne 3, Trials Evolution, Mario Kart 7, Escape Goat
#011 - Super Hexagon, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Lollipop Chainsaw, Mark of the Ninja

The Play it/Avoid it Report - back issues
#001 - Bioshock Infinite, Darksiders II, Dead Space 3, Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider
#002 - Dishonored, DKC: Tropical Freeze, Grand Theft Auto V, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Rogue Legacy
#003 - The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Mario Kart 8, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Sunset Overdrive

Secret Moon Base - episodes
Subscribe on iTunes - a podcast about video games and other stuff with my pals knutaf and Occam

Spelunky HD - blogs
Mega Guide - part one
Mega Guide - part two

The Binding of Isaac - blogs
Blood, Shit and Tears - a love letter
Instruction Manual - w/ tips and tricks for beginners
Unlocking Godhead - tips for playing as The Lost

Social Network(s) - ugh
Twitter - @corduroyturtle
Xbox LIVE:Corduroy Turtle
PSN ID:Corduroy_Turtle
Steam ID:17wizards
3DS Code:4639-8962-6190


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