It's been a long time since NSMB (New Super Mario Bros.) came out for the Nintendo DS and it's high time we got a platforming Mario title for our portable devices (Bowser's Inside Story is great too, though!). Super Mario 3D Land brings the Mushroom Kingdom to light in a brilliant blend of classic Mario platforming and a more contemporary flair.
When I first started playing I felt like the levels were too short and the worlds didn't have enough to extend the game play and, while I still feel this, I have a deep appreciation of this feeling now. The levels were so well crafted that no two play the same, they all have a unique je ne sais quoi. While the levels are short they are fun, and definitely memorable. Granted I managed to beat the game in a matter of hours (5 I believe) the coin and secret searching is proving to extend the fun. The levels are fun to revisit, even once you know them like the back of your hand you can still spend a few runs searching for that last special coin for completion.
The game controls really well, the 3DS joy pad is perfect for bringing a truly 3D Mario to the handheld. While NSMB was a fun little side-scroller this game can boast the full 3D levels (not meaning the effect of the 3DS but of the level design)which allows the developers to offer us the unique worlds I praised earlier.
The soundtrack is Mario to the core. If the music doesn't make you smile you likely don't have a heart. As I played this game I was buried in nostalgia but I also took all the new tracks and appreciated them because, despite being recorded more recently they line up with the best of the classic Mario songs.
This game is brilliant simply for presenting itself for what it is, a Mario game that pays homage to the old while pressing forward for a new generation of gamers. If today's kids are going to play Mario and love it as much as I did when he was 8-bit then I'm ready to pass the torch. Mario is still the king.