First Impressions: Super Mario 3D (3DS)

Super Mario comes to life in full 3D

After the mammoth success of the two Super Mario Galaxy titles on the Wii, we had to know that a new Super Mario title was in the works for Nintendo's new 3DS system. While we received very little in the way of information when the game was first announced, Nintendo wasn't the least bit shy when it came time to put the game on display this week at E3.

From the moment you begin playing Super Mario 3DS, the similarities with Super Mario 64 are immediately recognizable. The simple look and gameplay objectives bring back memories of the 64-bit adventure, but the game doesn't stop there. For starters the game's ode to Super Mario Bros. 3 adds some great nostalgic twists that liven up the play controls. Puzzle elements creep in as well and should provide some solid problem-solving to an already saturated platforming experience.

The Tanooki suit returns and brings with it the unique tail whip attack, one that will come in especially handy in the game's trickier levels, not to mention the ability to hover temporarily in mid-air to make some of the game's pinpoint platforming sections a bit more manageable. Of course the classic fireball attack also plays a vital role in the game and is one you'll definitely want to make use of along the way.

But if there is one aspect of Super Mario 3DS that really makes it fit like a glove on Nintendo's new portable system it's the 3D touches that inject new life into not only the visual presentation, but also the level design and objectives themselves. There's one amazing section where twisting spikes come flying out of the walls and look as if they're about to come out of the screen. Then there's the game's absolutely unbelievable Zelda-like overhead levels that bring some very challenging gameplay to fruition and also manages to be even more impressive than even the other 3D effects the game employs.

The music in the game is also a nice even combination of old and new tunes. There's plenty of familiar Super Mario audio influences to be found, but the developers have also managed to throw in some brand new material that perfectly conveys the action taking place onscreen. There are even some intriguing new sound effects that add a nice additional layer of fun and charm to the package.

Any concerns I initially had about Super Mario 3D have completely evaporated after having played four of the game's levels. Not only do you get touches of some of the greatest Super Mario titles like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Bros. 3, but you also get a ton of new ideas that give the game a fresh look and feel. Toss in a wealth of amazing level designs and you've got what very could be the best Super Mario title ever created. This is definitely a game to keep a close eye on as its holiday 2011 release gets nearer.

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