Super Mario 3D Land

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

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 26 reviews

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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 byFnafPlayer335 March 1, 2019

Mario’s 1st 3DS game!

$19.99 of a 9.5/10 game may be cheep, but it is a really fun game!
Written byAnonymous January 21, 2016

Like mario bros.

This is JUST like super Mario bros U.
Kid, 11 years old August 6, 2012
Kid, 10 years old November 27, 2020

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

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Subjects: Science: physics
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: November 13, 2011
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and adventure

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