Trying to pin down the influences in Super Mario on the 3DS is difficult. Itís quite obvious that Nintendo is taking a lot of heavy inspiration from NES classic Super Mario Bros. 3 on a design and presentation level, but playing it throws up clear sparks of Super Mario Galaxy-esque platforming genius.
So letís say itís a combination of the two. At first glance, the only thing you think of is Galaxy
- the graphical style, the dynamic camera and the platforming puzzles that you encounter all stay true to the 2007 masterpiece. But controlling Mario himself and the structure of the stages all hark back to those 8-bit glory days.
I played four stages, each of them familiar to anyone who grew up with a NES and a Mario
title - a lush green overworld, a dark and dank underworld complete with piranha plants and dark blue blocks, an obligatory Ďhigh in the skyí stage and a boss stage on one of the Koopa Cousinsí trusty flying pirate ships.
Each of these are entrancing, colourful romps that lasted about a couple of minutes each - a timer is present in the corner of the screen to ensure you donít waste any time reaching the traditional flag pole at the end of the course. Coin blocks, invincibility stars and fire flowers are present and correct, and as is tradition youíll need to hold down the X button to make Mario sprint through the level and shoot fireballs.
And thatís before you get to the fan favourite - the return of the Tanuki suit that allows Mario to hover around as a raccoon and spin enemies about with his bushy tail. Throughout the levels I played, some of the Goombas that I encountered were wearing tails of their own, so watch out. Some of these bad guys will be able to fight back.
There are several other neat new touches too. Hitting a flip switch reveals an unfolding platform that you can cross for a limited time, allowing you access to difficult-to-reach areas, while warp pipes will take you to M.C. Escher-inspired rooms that test your ability to navigate 3D environments. Certain piranha plants also come with the ability to spit ink at the screen, temporarily masking your view and making things hazardous.
Unlike any of the 3D Mario
adventures, you are clearly going in one direction rather than exploring an environment, but the camera helps keep the action fresh. One minute youíll be hopping over pitfalls from a birds-eye view, the next rolling under platforms from a side-scrolling perspective.
And thatís all before weíve even touched upon the gameís use of stereoscopic 3D - Nintendo says that the implementation of the extra visual dimension is to allow players to better determine jumps and other distances that would otherwise negatively impact the experience. While it did go some way to helping me ascertain distance, it did take some getting used to.
But whether you have that 3D slider up or down, Super Mario
on the 3DS looks to be an absolutely enchanting platformer that once again proves Nintendoís flair for creative level design. You were probably thinking of picking this up anyway if you have a 3DS, but just in case you werenít sure of anything - I can say that you will want this game.