Super Mario 3D Land
Super Mario 3D Land is a single-player game in the Super Mario franchise for the Nintendo 3DS, released in November 2011, and is the first Mario game overall for the console. This is the second 3D Super Mario platformer for a handheld device (with Super Mario 64 DS being the first and an enhanced remake of the first 3D platformer adventure) and, as noted by Reggie Fils-Aime at E3 2011, the first 3D Mario platformer to be built from the ground up for a handheld system. It is closely based on side-scrolling Mario games, but it is a 3D platformer in the vein of games like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. The game was created by the same development team that worked on the Super Mario Galaxy games and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, currently part of Nintendo EAD Tokyo. It received a sequel entitled Super Mario 3D World, which was released for the Wii U in November 2013. The game requires 2315 blocks if it is bought off the Nintendo eShop.
Outside Peach's Castle stands the Tail Tree, a stripe-tailed tree with Super Leaves on its branches. All of the Mushroom Kingdom is familiar with the tree. One night, a huge storm blows all of the leaves off, as Bowser laughs in the background.
Later on, when Mario and three Toads (red, yellow, and blue) check the Tail Tree, they discover that the Super Leaves are gone. However, the yellow Toad notices a hovering letter near the tree, and the group of four goes to investigate. Mario grabs and opens the letter, and a picture of Bowser holding Princess Peach captive with Super Leaves flying in the background pops out. The message shocks the three Toads and Mario, and immediately, Mario and the three Toads run to save the Princess. Throughout his adventure, Mario receives more letters about Peach's predicament and about various stages of Bowser's Super Leaf-related plan.
Inspired by Mario's courage, Peach ultimately attempts to escape from Bowser and his army, but she is soon recaptured. Mario travels through World 8 and defeats Bowser, only to be tricked by a fake Peach sign, as Bowser escapes with the real Peach. Mario eventually finds Bowser's lair, but before they can battle, the floor beneath them breaks and they fall. After being chased through various obstacles, Mario manages to press a switch making the bridge under Bowser collapse, sending Bowser into a pool of lava. At last, Mario and the three Toads find Princess Peach and, using their Tanooki powers, bring Peach back to her castle.
After that, a short cutscene appears with a letter floating down in World 1-1. It shows that Luigi was kidnapped. Mario then sets off to save Luigi. After rescuing him in Special 1-Castle, he becomes a playable character.
After Mario beats Special 8-Castle, another cut-scene appears. Another letter has floated down on World 1-1, and the three Toads who accompanied Mario in his adventure investigate while in their Tanooki forms. To their surprise, Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach once more. Then, Mario or Luigi must defeat Bowser in World 8-Bowser's Castle2 again. After that, a picture of Tanooki Peach is unlocked. Once five stars are present on the profile, Special 8-Crown, the very last level, is unlocked.
The levels of Super Mario 3D Land are much more linear and compact than the other 3D titles, more along the lines of the side-scrolling games. All levels have a time limit and even feature Goal Poles, a staple of the original Super Mario Bros. and the New Super Mario Bros. games, as opposed to Power Stars or Shine Sprites, as the level goals. To enter vertical pipes, the player must press or ; for the first time in the series, the player can re-enter areas through pipes at will (for example, after being transported to the above-ground Goal Pole in World 2-2, the player can go back down the pipe to return underground). The graphics of the game greatly resemble those of the Super Mario Galaxy games, while the levels show visual similarities to the New Super Mario Bros. titles. Game-play also takes cues from Super Mario Sunshine, notably tight-rope walking. Unlike the 2D Mario games, the level themes in a world tend to be more random, like the galaxies of the Super Mario Galaxy games, instead of focusing on a particular setting per world.
Due to the merging of the 2D and 3D play styles, Mario's moveset is more limited than in the previous Super Mario games; he does not dash as fast, and thus cannot jump as high or as far as in past games; he also cannot Double Jump or Triple Jump for the first time in a platforming game since Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. Mario can also no longer Spin Jump, fly (in Tanooki form, unlike in Super Mario Bros. 3), grab and/or throw objects (such as Green Shells), hold onto ledges, or attack without power ups. However, he can still Wall Jump, Long Jump, Ground Pound, Sideways Somersault, and Backwards Somersault. Other controls take cues from the 2D titles; Mario can crouch and slide while running, which now requires the use of a run/attack button, like in the 2D games. In addition, the Backwards Somersault works like the Power Squat Jump does in Super Mario Bros. 2. Finally, Mario has a new roll move that can be used to hit blocks from the side and fit through small gaps.
While giving examples of how the Nintendo 3DS enhances game-play, Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that hitting blocks from underneath in 3D Mario games would be easier with stereoscopic 3D. Thus, blocks are more prevalent in this game, unlike the past 3D games, where blocks were few and far between. Three Star Medals (which have a similar design to the Comet Medals from Super Mario Galaxy 2) are found in each level, and collecting all three is part of the level's challenge, like the Star Coins in the New Super Mario Bros. games. + Clocks can be picked up to give the player additional time to complete the level, a mechanic only seen previously in Super Mario Galaxy 2's Speedy Comet missions.
Mario's health system is now based on the side-scrolling titles rather than being a numbered health meter: Mario becomes a cap-less Small Mario when damaged, while power-ups give him an extra hit point and new abilities. These power-ups include the Super Mushroom, the Fire Flower, the new Boomerang Flower, the Statue Leaf (replacing the Tanooki Suit), and the Super Leaf, the last of which had not been seen since Super Mario Bros. 3. Notably, the Fire form, unlike its previous 3D appearances in Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, no longer has a time limit imposed on it and is retained until Mario is hit, as in the side-scrolling games. The Item Storage from New Super Mario Bros. also appears in this game.
As in Super Mario Bros. 2, when Mario loses a life, he respawns in his Super form instead of his Small form. Similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the game has features to help the player if they lose too many lives in a stage. When the player loses two lives in one level, a flying Roulette Block appears. When five lives are lost, an Assist Block containing an Invincibility Leaf appears, which makes the player invincible for the duration of the level. Finally, when ten lives are lost, an Assist Block with a P-Wing appears, which warps the player directly to the Goal Pole. Unlike previous Mario games, the lives counter in Super Mario 3D Land extends beyond 100 and goes up to 1,110 lives (after reaching 1,000, 1,100 and 1,110 lives, the hundreds, tens, and units digits respectively are displayed as a crown). This life counter is also included in New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D World.
The game also makes extended use of the Nintendo 3DS hardware. When the player uses a cannon or the binoculars, the Nintendo 3DS gyro controls can be used to aim by moving the 3DS. The game also includes a StreetPass option, whereupon encounters, Mystery Boxes and Toad House items are exchanged between players. Items in Toad Houses sent by another player are recorded, including the amount of items sent by the user.
By clearing Special 1-Castle, Luigi is unlocked as a playable character, and can be swapped in or out by pressing the "M"/"L" button in the bottom corner of the touch screen on the world map. As in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Luigi jumps higher than Mario, but has lower traction.
Enemies and obstacles
Items and objects
Power-ups and forms
Other items and objects
Super Mario 3D Land was first mentioned in an "Iwata Asks" interview with Shigeru Miyamoto in October 2010, where he confirmed that a brand-new Mario game for the Nintendo 3DS was already in development, but had not yet been given a proper title. It was known by its tentative title, Super Mario, at the time. In November 2010, Shigeru Miyamoto announced that both 2D world and 3D world Mario games were in the works for the 3DS. Four screenshots were available on March 2, 2011, and the game was officially announced during the Game Developers Conference, under the name Super Mario. The logo had a Raccoon Tail on the "O" letter, similar to that of Super Mario Bros. 3's logo, which had Raccoon Mario's tail shadow behind the "3". Available screenshots of Super Mario revealed that the game is a 3D platformer and the game was stated to be developed by Nintendo EAD Tokyo's same team which had previously developed Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, as shown how a Goomba runs after Small Mario. It even contained features from the 2D Mario side-scrolling games. Satoru Iwata stated that a more official announcement would be shown at E3 2011 on June 7. According to Iwata, "it will be a game that will come with the kind of surprises and fun that only the 3DS can offer." Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that the development took over two years and started with 2 to 30 staff members working on the game.
In a later interview, Shigeru Miyamoto described the title as being a combination of Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 64, with a little bit of New Super Mario Bros. and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. He mentioned there would be an option for a fixed camera system, very similar to the one in Super Mario 64, to demonstrate depth and the 3DS's 3D. He added, however, that it was tough to describe it, before mentioning that not only would the title be shown, but that it would also be playable at E3 2011. Shigeru Miyamoto explained that playing it will give fans a better idea of what it's like. He also commented on the speculation regarding the temporary logo, already confirming that the tail on the end of the logo's "O" was a hint at the return of Super Mario Bros. 3's Tanooki Mario.
The game was given a full reveal with a trailer at E3 2011 and was playable on the show floor, as previously stated. It was announced that the game was targeted for a release by the end of the year. Attendees were allowed to try the game for themselves in four different levels - a standard plain area, an underground area, a level of switch-activated platforms, reminiscent of a few galaxies from the Super Mario Galaxy titles, and an airship level ending in a fight with Bowser's henchman, Boom Boom. In addition, the E3 2011 trailer and the conference trailer were put up for download on the 3DS eShop for a limited time. By playing the trailer on their 3DS, viewers could then see the game in stereoscopic 3D for themselves.
The main ambition of the design team was to "reset" the conventions of 3D Mario games, which were mostly designed for home consoles. One of the ways of doing that was to create short, pick-up and play levels more suitable to a handheld, as opposed to the Super Mario Galaxy series, and more specifically Super Mario Galaxy 2, which director Koichi Hayashida described as a "Manchu Han Imperial Feast". Additionally, according to Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, the term Land was used in the title to pay homage to past Mario titles, like Super Mario Land and its 2D art style.
The developers also wanted the game to serve as a jumping point for players that liked 2D Mario, but did not want to play the 3D installments. One of the solutions was to eschew the exploration-based level design of the traditional 3D Marios so that the players would not get "lost", and return the focus on reaching the end of linear levels. The levels were carefully designed to lead the player toward the end goal. However, the developers included Star Medals hidden throughout the levels to cater to the 3D Mario players and thus bridge the two game design sensibilities.
The development was heavily affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Damage to the train network led to developers visiting the Kyoto office to be stuck there, and fear of aftershocks and radiation emanating from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant caused several developers to lock themselves in their homes. These events made Nintendo unsure of whether the development could continue in Tokyo. Tired of not doing anything, Hayashida risked sharing his personal contact information with other members. This led to a web forum being set up so that work could be continued while the Tokyo office was closed.
The developers were pressured to finish the game in time for the 2011 holiday season, which led to parts of Super Mario 3D Land being outsourced to other Nintendo-affiliated developers such as Brownie Brown, something that did not typically happen with Mario games at the time.
Shigehisa Nakaue designed the 2D art seen in Peach's letters in the game, making it the first Mario game to use this art style in-game.
Nintendo eShop description
On November 12, 2011, to celebrate the launch of Super Mario 3D Land in North America, Nintendo set up an event in Times Square's Military Island in which attendees would be able to play in a real life mock-up of the game environment, as well as a chance to play the game a day before the official release. In addition, many attendees were also given free Tanooki ears and tails, as well as free slices of mushroom pizza from a "Mushroom Kingdom" pizza truck to the first 1,000 attendees who tweeted the "#SuperMario3D" hashtag and an exclusive early sale of the game at the Times Square Toys "R" Us.
Super Mario 3D Land received critical or extremely positive acclaim.
In general, the overall utilization of the capabilities and possibilities of a three-dimensional installment were praised in comparison to those of later entries. In spite of the main game difficulty being critiqued alongside occasional missed opportunities, the game itself performed outstandingly.
The game received very high ratings, with an 80% rating on both GameXplain and Edge as well as a 90% rating on both Joystig and N-Zone. Additionally, it has received a 95% or 9.5/10 on GameInformer and a perfect score of 5/5 or 100% on GamePro.
As of September 30, 2019, Super Mario 3D Land is the 6th best-selling game for the Nintendo 3DS, having sold 12.60 million units worldwide, and caused a great boost in 3DS sales. It is also the fastest-selling portable Mario game ever. As of September 30, 2021, it sold 12.84 million units worldwide.
Pre-release and unused content
While the Super Leaf and P-Wing returned, and Hammer Mario was succeeded by Boomerang Mario, director Yoshiaki Koizumi stated that more classical suits and powers were to return, but none appear in the final product. The Goomba's Shoe was once considered, but was later rejected.
A grassy spacious area and a level with many Donut Lifts, platforms, and Arrow Blocks were shown, along with an array of rotating platforms which would go on to be World 4-3. Though while said to be cut from the final product, these areas might have evolved into World 2-1 and World 8-1 in the final product. The screenshots of these areas show that they use a camera angle not used in the final game, implying that the game would have had more dynamic camera angles.
Baddie Box lag
If Invincible Mario or White Tanooki Mario ground pounds onto a Baddie Box, the game will start to lag as the box explodes. The "explosion" will continue and the game lags until the player jumps off of the exploding box. A harsh grinding sound is heard during the explosion, and a sound resembling that of a beanstalk coming out of an item box (in Super Mario Bros.) can be heard as Mario crouches when the player holds or (beanstalks like this do not appear in the game). It is possible this sound is simply the sound Mario makes when he crouches, but distorted so much by the explosion it sounds like a beanstalk. The glitch can only be done on levels where Baddie Boxes appear, such as World 2-4, 5-Castle, and Special 1-3. Both Worlds 2-4 and 5-Castle require White Tanooki Mario, making Special 1-3 the only stage where the glitch can be executed after the level has been beaten once and the only stage where it can be executed by Luigi.
Die in a Warp Box
To perform this glitch, Mario needs to go to the airship of World 2. Then, he should enter the first Warp Box. The player should reach the end of the bonus airship, but Mario should not enter the Warp Box at the end. Instead, the player should press the left camera control button so that the camera turns to the left. Wait until the Warp Box is offscreen then immediately go inside the box before Mario loses a life. If performed correctly, Mario should lose a life while the camera pans back to the main airship.
World 1 Bowser Softlock
During the boss fight with the Tail Bowser on the castle in World 1, the player must use Tanooki Mario to glide across the gap between the bridge and the platforms at the start of the fight then press the switch when the Tail Bowser jumps to the left. If done correctly, the bridge will collapse with the Tail Bowser off-screen, and the game will never end the cutscene. The player, however, can still exit the level.
In Special 1-3, if the player aims just above the blocks on the edge of the platform in a cannon, the camera will clip in for a short period of time.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages