3DS might be as powerful as Wii, but it's in a very different setting, as Super Mario 3D Land director Koichi Hayashida explains in a recent Iwata Asks.
According to Hayashida, if Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a grand imperial banquet, Super Mario 3D Land is fast food, designed to be consumed quickly in short bites:
[Super Mario Galaxy 2 is] the kind of game that says, "There's all this laid out before you, so eat whatever you want!" To eat it all takes hours, so when you finish eating, your stomach is full. We put in everything that had built up since Super Mario Sunshine and made Super Mario Galaxy 2 to be a game that has everything.
So this time, I wanted to make a compact game that, rather than the Manchu Han Imperial Feast, was lighter, like a hamburger you could just gobble down. I decided to start thinking from there.
The interview also reveals the presence of a large number of special stages unlocked after completing the game, something that should temper disappointment of those worried the game will lack content.
Best of all, however, is the revelation that the game's item-exchanging StreetPass mode works even when communicating with players who haven't got the game:
And this time, you can even pass by people who don't have the game! If you pass by someone's Mii character someplace like the StreetPass Mii Plaza12 application, you can receive an item from that Mii character at Toad's house. If you pass by the same Mii character again, you get something better.
There's all sorts of other interesting revelations in there too but we'll leave those up to you to discover.