E3: Super Mario 3D Preview

E3: Super Mario 3D Preview

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Super Mario 3D is exactly what Mario fans want.

For a lifelong gamer, there are few things as comforting and familiar as a new Super Mario game. Yes, Nintendo has found new ways to innovate and evolve the series over nearly three decades, but gamers still know what to expect when the next entry in the series comes around. With Super Mario 3D for the 3DS, the series combines the 3D platforming of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy with actual three-dimensional visuals, and playing it outside of the Nokia Theater earlier today felt like meeting an old friend.

With only a handful of areas available for the demo, I decided to jump to the third world of the game, which transported me to an level among the clouds. Using some of the gameplay mechanics seen in the Mario Galaxy games, I maneuvered my way through disappearing platforms until I landed safely on solid ground. I thought that I would be able to beat the level with my hands tied behind my back, but adjusting to 3DS controls on a three-dimensional playing field offered more of a challenge than expected. Using the analog nub to control Mario, I couldn't always tell where he was going to land, sometimes taking leaps of faith and hoping for the best.

Once I got acclimated to the control scheme, I was able to enjoy the fun but tricky level design, which is what defines a good Mario game. I found blocks that teleported me from one platform to another rather than spitting out coins, hidden items off the beaten path, and of course, that Tanooki suit sure to bring a smile to the face of any gamer who was alive during the heyday of Super Mario Bros. 3. Instead of flying high, the suit allows Mario to hover briefly in the air, which can be used to reach secret collectables or for extra precision when landing. For bottomless levels where missing a jump can mean instant death (like the one I was playing), being able to hover in the air for a few extra seconds can mean the difference between success and failure.

Of course, because the game is on the 3DS, the option to play in actual 3D just enhances the experience. In 2D, the game looks exactly as you would expect: bright, full of primary colors, and full of funny-looking enemies and various floating blocks. Other than the Tanooki suit, there wasn't anything particularly distinctive about it, even though the visuals were very inviting. Being able to experience the game in 3D is what really gives it something extra and makes it stand out, no pun intended. Super Mario 3D also makes use of the touch screen by allowing you to access power-ups by simply touching them.

One level is hardly enough content by which to judge an entire game, but from that experience I can safely say that Super Mario 3D feels like a Mario game. It's familiar and accessible while also being different and challenging, and hopping on that flagpole at the end of the level was extremely satisfying. As the type of gamer described above-a lifelong fan of the industry who started with Super Mario Bros. - Super Mario 3D appears to be exactly what I want, and I'm very much looking forward to playing it endlessly when it launches later this year.

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See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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I'm sure Super Mario 3D will weave an epic tail.

Also, In before people saying "Another Mario game, what lazy hacks, they should make a new IP!" or variations thereof.

Did the Tanooki last until you were hit, or was it on a timer?

I have never really liked any mario games. I have SLIGHTLY enjoyed the 2D games but as far as any of the 3d games I haven't liked them, and having it on the 3DS won't make me buy the console any more then I already want it.

Actually, wasn't the Tanooki suit (http://www.mariowiki.com/Tanooki_Suit) the one that you used to turn into a statue and stuff, like a Tanooki, where as the Super Leaf (http://www.mariowiki.com/Super_Leaf) was the one that gave you the raccoon tail to fly and spin?

GarouX:
Actually, wasn't the Tanooki suit (http://www.mariowiki.com/Tanooki_Suit) the one that you used to turn into a statue and stuff, like a Tanooki, where as the Super Leaf (http://www.mariowiki.com/Super_Leaf) was the one that gave you the raccoon tail to fly and spin?

Both let Mario float.
Now on another note,
I am shocked that "Galaxy" isn't
in the title; Nintendo didn't
want to lean on that series and gloat?

Xman490:

GarouX:
Actually, wasn't the Tanooki suit (http://www.mariowiki.com/Tanooki_Suit) the one that you used to turn into a statue and stuff, like a Tanooki, where as the Super Leaf (http://www.mariowiki.com/Super_Leaf) was the one that gave you the raccoon tail to fly and spin?

Both let Mario float.
Now on another note,
I am shocked that "Galaxy" isn't
in the title; Nintendo didn't
want to lean on that series and gloat?

they're hoping to capitalize on the original series name, like they ALWAYS do.

So two things immediately struck a cord with me:

1.) Is that the tanooki suit? As in, the suit that acted just like the raccoon ears and tail only it also allowed Mario to turn into a stone statue? How come in the trailer it only shows off the things only the raccoon suit could do? Did they get confused?

2.) Is that Boom Boom, the boss of the fortresses from Super Mario Bros. 3? It is! AWESOME!!!

Xman490:

GarouX:
Actually, wasn't the Tanooki suit (http://www.mariowiki.com/Tanooki_Suit) the one that you used to turn into a statue and stuff, like a Tanooki, where as the Super Leaf (http://www.mariowiki.com/Super_Leaf) was the one that gave you the raccoon tail to fly and spin?

Both let Mario float.
Now on another note,
I am shocked that "Galaxy" isn't
in the title; Nintendo didn't
want to lean on that series and gloat?

Whoops. I guess that's what happens when I don't completely read what I quote. I apparently still have stuff to learn with this whole internet thing. Thanks for clearing that up, at any rate.

Oh for god's sake Nintendo, we know it has a touch screen, don't make me look away from what I'm doing and put a smudge on it to do the exact same thing pressing one of the 3 unused buttons could do.

Also if the only new thing it does is give you a headache and double vision then that isn't close to good enough. The reason the Mario formula works is because it isn't formulaic.

 

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