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Super Mario 3D Land

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Super Mario 3D Land Game Poster Image
Newest Mario game continues the platforming magic.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 24 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to use logic and puzzle-solving skills to meander through the various levels of this fantasy game. The levels are presented in what's known as a "side-scrolling" fashion, meaning players are either walking left to right or climbing bottom to top to reach the end of each level. Obstacles abound and baddies get in your way, but help is never far away. Super Mario 3D Land sneaks bits of physics and logic into a rollicking platforming adventure.

Positive Messages

The story sees Mario overcoming hazards and dangers across numerous "worlds" to selflessly save Princess Peach.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mario is one of the most iconic video game characters of all time. He barely speaks, but he still manages to exude a strong, positive presence. A true hero through and through, Mario is an altruistic figure who will easily draw players into his admirable quest.

Ease of Play

The hallmark of the Mario franchise is that although the games are accessible and fun for everyone, there are layers of depth and challenge that even the most hardened players will appreciate. This game fits right into that mold. It's easy to learn, but challenging to master. If players fail a sequence a few times in a row, a magical, invincible raccoon suit will appear, making it much easier to progress.

Violence & Scariness

The violence in this game is whimsical in nature. Mario jumps on "Goomba" creatures and shoots fiery "flower power" pellets. Mario can be burned by fire and lava, which causes him to jump and yell. 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Super Mario 3D Land is a platform puzzle game featuring the iconic Mario. In order to save the princess from the evil Bowser, players guide Mario through a series of colorful and unique "worlds," filled with obstacles that range from jumping across platforms to dodging fireballs and cartoon bullet creatures. The level of violence is on par with every other Mario game -- Mario needs to jump on enemies, shoot fireballs, and defeat Bowser to save the princess, but these depictions involve whimsical sound effects and the enemies are seen as obstacles rather than creatures that need to be defeated. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySoulLacerations December 10, 2011

It's-a Mario again!

Mario returns in another family friendly adventure, this time for the Nintendo 3DS system. It has the usual basis for Mario games, the altruistic protagonist, g... Continue reading
Adult Written byJEDI micah July 8, 2013

Mario looks awesome in 3D!

Everyone's favorite plumber is back! But this time, his attempt to save Princess Peach is in 3D! And the game is really simple to learn (as with other Mari... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 November 29, 2011

Brilliant for the kids.They will love it-the same cannot be said for teens though.

Got this on my main nintendo 3DS last week(i have 4 nintendo 3ds,by the way)and tried it out.pretty cool and perfect for 5+ but not so much for me.it seemed a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 3, 2011

Best platforming series continues its excellence

Mario is best of the best when it comes to platforming (and kart racing!). Graphics are bright and top-notch. This is a must have for the 3ds. There is no excus... Continue reading

What's it about?

The story of Super Mario 3D Land revolves around Mario working tirelessly to save Princess Peach, who has once again been captured by Mario's archrival Bowser. Mario must traverse eight worlds, each filled with a variety of levels that test players' mettle and push their gaming skills to the limit. As always with this franchise, the game is challenging but there are concessions for novice players that make it more manageable. The game is filled with throwbacks to classic Mario titles, including music, power-ups, and environments that made some of the early games in the series iconic.

Is it any good?

Super Mario 3D Land was designed with the intention of bringing back the "old-school" appeal that has drawn in millions of gamers over the last two decades. It delivers on that goal in droves. Ardent Mario fans will appreciate the many nods to vintage Mario titles, while everyone will become entranced by the way the 3D presentation adds a new layer of gameplay. Players can run between the background and foreground to clear obstacles and collect items in a way that truly takes advantage of the 3DS's visual capabilities.

What's more, many of the levels seem deceptively easy but in reality provide intense challenges that will have players trying over and over again, making the feeling of completing each level ultimately rewarding. In short, it is a Mario game that delivers on everything players would expect from such a legendary franchise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Mario has managed to become such an icon. What is it about his games that is so universally appealing?

  • What do you think Mario would be like if he were a real person?

  • When have you put someone else's needs ahead of your own?

Game details

For kids who love action and adventure

Our editors recommend

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