E3 2011: Super Mario Hands-On Preview
By: Jeff Rivera
Super Mario (working title) is what the 3DS needs more than anything right now. After spending just a few short seconds with the demo, I could immediately see that the game hits on all the necessary notes needed to justify the 3DS hardware. There were four playable levels in the demo, each having unique environments and gameplay elements to check out.
During my time with the demo, I was able to test run Mario's Tanooki suit. The suit allows you to attack with your tail as well as fall much more slowly and glide long distances as you descend. Also present were the more traditional power ups, such as the fire flower and mushroom. All the power ups behaved as they have in past Mario games, and it really felt like a proper reimagining of Super Mario Bros. 3 into 3D.
Other callbacks to past Mario games were in the demo, such as airships like those found in Super Mario Bros. 3, flag poles at the end of the stages, familiar mini-bosses, and I've even heard that the Koopa Kids will be present in the game. After the awesome and unique experience that Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 gave us, it's nice seeing a shift back into the familiar for a little while.
The game played nice and smooth as well. The 3D effects were executed well, and having the 3D turned on actually helped to understand the depth you'd need in order to make jumps more accurately. The levels were lively and the platforming was fun and challenging. There was nothing here that pointed to anything but another solid Super Mario experience.
The game is due out this year, most likely just ahead of the holidays. Shigeru Miyamoto spoke of his excitement for the game and his enthusiasm really shined through during his roundtable discussion after the floor closed on day 1. We can't wait to see more of the game than what these four levels show, including what sort of hub world (if any) the game offers and what Bowser's motivations are this time for meddling with Mario and stirring up trouble in the Mushroom Kingdom.