I think the comic speaks for itself. With the return of the Tanooki suit, which is really just a furrier version of the original raccoon suit, Super Mario 3D Land brought up some questions we never considered back in 1990. Now think about the ears and tail Nintendo is handing out in promotions. Disgusting isn’t it?

Animal cruelty aside, Super Mario 3D Land is everything we hoped and dreamed it would be. It is a three dimensional Super Mario game that feels like classic Mario instead of that new thing they created for the last three console generations since Super Mario 64. It is awesome, and it had better be, since it is the first original Nintendo developed game and their heaviest hitter. It also comes at a time of strict competition with Skyrim and Uncharted 3 both just released this month. I had to balance my time this weekend between each of those.

The music of Super Mario 3D Land is amazing, a mix between classic songs and their remixed version that is just good for the soul, as my cohort was quick to point out. The gameplay includes a generous helping of new components. The areas which make use of 3D in gameplay are mostly small and self contained, but cool all the same. It didn’t tire my eyes as much as in Zelda or Uncharted 3. As in Uncharted, falling makes the best use of 3D effects. Having objects rush past is exhilarating even in a cartoon world.

My only real complaint with Super Mario 3D Land is that there is not enough of it. The game has 8 worlds much as its predecessors did, but each world is a bit short. Super Mario Bros 3 had 8-10 levels per world including castles and 11 if you include the airship battle. Each of the worlds so far has only included up to 6 levels, and only one (airship or castle) containing a boss. I would also point out that the levels are not consistently themed and do not fit a layout to a persistent world. A desert level is tossed into the beginning of what is otherwise a snowy world. The use of 3D icons to represent the levels is neat, but it gives the feel of working through a list of levels as opposed to an actual world map.

If the 3DS needed rescuing though, this is the game to do it. Supporters of mobile phones as a gaming platform are sure to continue to squawk about how dedicated handheld gaming platforms are doomed, but they are never going to have a Mario game. That’s all Nintendo really needed. I personally know two non-Nintendo-enthusiasts who adopted the 3DS based on only the expectation of this game. First party games will continue to sell Nintendo’s platforms. I expect that when a Pokemon game is announced this will continue to hold true.

I did play a lot of Uncharted and Skyrim, but time is at a premium. I will discuss them in some detail on Thursday. I am trying to balance my time between the three games, eating, and sleeping. Maybe it is lucky Mario is rather short.