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Best Nintendo 3DS Games – #12 Super Mario 3D Land

Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo

Release Date: November 13th, 2011

Synopsis: Super Mario 3D Land was intended as a transition game from the typical 2D Mario platforms we had seen before, to the coming 3D of the Wii U console’s Mario titles. The same memorable platforming style from prior titles remained the focus of 3D Land, but with movement in 3D possible up and down each level’s platforms, further shaking up the puzzle design. Along with the newfound platforming puzzles and challenges afforded by the additional dimension, Mario also gained several new abilities such as a barrel roll and a roll jump, and new items like the Propeller Box and the Boomerang Flower.

Why It’s One Of The Best Nintendo Games: Change is scary, so it’s hard to blame the audience of die-hard Mario fans who shook their heads initially at 3D Land’s transformation of Mario into a three-dimensional plumber. The level design, amount of content and difficulty settings were so inviting that players were willing to give the new format a shot. And the 3D worked! Adding a third dimension increased the variety and creativity of puzzles available for each level while still being functional outside of the 3DS’s 3D mode, though turning on the 3D certainly made the game pop.

A perfect balance of nostalgia and innovation, Super Mario 3D Land paved the way for future Mario games, throwing the doors open wide for the delightful shenanigans we’d see a year or two down the road in Super Mario 3D World and New Super Mario Bros U.