When details of the 3DS first surfaced, its ability to play retro titles via some sort of online store was, more or less, taken for granted. Like the Wii before it, Nintendo launched the Virtual Console where, for a small fee, players could take a break from their quality 3DS retail purchase to discover the downloadable classics that they may have missed in the past. No one could have predicted though, that the Virtual Console on 3DS would become so vital to the system’s appeal.
Why? Well, it has something to do with the previously mentioned “quality retail 3DS purchase”, or rather the lack of such a thing. Don’t get me wrong, Starfox 64 3D and Ocarina of Time 3D were great games, but we can’t deny the fact that they’re both N64 classics that have been licked in the face by a big 3D cow. Also, it’s hard to ignore the impact Mario has had on the system just by not showing up. Perhaps he’s been on holiday? Or rather a long stint in rehab as seems to be all the rage these days?
Thankfully, things are starting to shape up for the 3DS with a hefty price cut and some quality games on the horizon. Most notably though, is Mario’s fashionably late November 3DS debut; Super Mario 3D Land.
Those of you who have been keeping up to date with the game’s pre-release material are probably so excited you could strangle a small mammal. In fact, I was so excited that I needed to fill the gap between now and next month with some productive Mario playing. Lest any more forest creatures fall victim to my iron grip. What better then, I thought, than to review one of the finest hours in the plumber’s handheld career; Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins.
To my surprise, this game has held up superbly for being almost twenty years old. Most readers will be rolling their eyes right now, expecting another rant about how well the franchise has aged and how we’ll still enjoy playing it in 100 years. For the record, I don’t think gamers will give two turtle craps about Super Mario Bros in a century’s time. I do, however, believe that a modern gamer will get hours of entertainment from this classic GameBoy gem.
Super Mario Land 2 features the series faultless platforming formula at its very finest, with six worlds at Mario’s disposal to run, jump and abuse hallucinogenic fungi. Same old, same old, yet there’s something oddly satisfying with the way Super Mario Land 2, in particularly, was designed. It’s refreshing in a really old sort of way; whenever you play through the underwater world or the treetop world, although it’s really easy to predict the end bosses (a giant squid and giant bird), you find yourself nodding when they pop up on screen, thinking – of course, this is your problem. Giant squid. See that? You can’t expect to go rummaging around a sunken submarine without being attacked by a giant squid… geez. It’s the shameless predictability that makes this title so great to play. It’s strange, but such predictability would be criticised today.
Back when it was released on the GameBoy, Super Mario Land 2 pushed the system to its limits. Today, it passes through the 3DS like a silent fart, but remains visually charming thanks to a cutesy art style that still brings a smile to the grumpiest of faces. Not to mention the catchy and memorable soundtrack that’s definitely up there as my favourite of all Mario games.
It only takes a few hours to experience all the content, but it really is a game you’ll be coming back to time and time again. With such little choice in the 3DS library, it’s hard not to recommend this game at the low asking price of £3.60
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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