Super Mario 3DS Impressions
Real plumbers wear Tanooki suits.
After visiting Nintendo's E3 booth this morning, one thing is abundantly clear.
Super Mario 3DS is one of the system's most promising games.
Of course, that's no surprise. We knew the publisher had great things in store for its franchise mascot, and the demo's four levels did not disappoint.
First, the game is a combination of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Bros. 3. The 3D platform mechanics reminded us of the plumber's N64 adventure, while the inclusion of the Tanooki suit from the NES classic helped give the game a sweet retro vibe.
While on the subject of the famous raccoon suit, Mario can attack enemies with his tail, which also comes in handy for destroying bricks to reveal gold coins. On top of that, jumping into the air lets him hover for brief periods of time, which makes navigating bottomless pits a bit easier. That said, those evil goombas also harness the power of Tanooki, as we spotted several critters floating around, while others attempted to attack Mario with the aforementioned tail.
We also spied four goombas stacked on top of each other, as well as piranha plants with a blooper ability that lets them splatter the 3DS' top screen with black ink, temporarily obscuring the action.
Two of the levels were classic 3D Mario, allowing us to jump between platforms, smash bricks (either with Mario's head, the tail or a good old fashioned butt stomp) and even score three gold coins at once from rectangular shaped blocks. We wall jumped, activated switches to reveal platforms and squashed dangerous bees. Great stuff overall.
From there, we tackled an airship that instantly reminded us of Super Mario Bros. 3. During this thrilling stage, Mario tight rope walked and dodged cannonballs, mostly from a side scrolling perspective. It was definitely a loving throwback to one of the best NES games of all time.
Other things we noticed: when Mario shrinks, he loses his cap. Then, whenever we found a mushroom to make him grow, the familiar red hat suddenly reappeared. Nice touch.
We also plowed through a boss fight against one of Bowser's kids, and it was fairly basic. The big lug spins around and eventually grows dizzy, giving Mario the perfect opportunity to strike; in traditional fashion, three strikes defeats the boss.
Granted, this was a small taste of what's to come, but based on what we've seen, Super Mario 3DS is just what the system needs to help Nintendo build the user base. Supposedly, it's on track for a 2011 release, and personally, we can't wait to see more. Expect lots of exciting details in the months ahead.
Of course, the proof is in the proverbial pudding. Check out the video and then hope the game debuts sooner than later.