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E3 2011: Hands-On With Super Mario For 3DS

Super MarioNintendo is showing its upcoming Super Mario title for the Nintendo 3DS at E3 this year and I had the opportunity to take the demo for a spin.  The element that jumps to the foreground first and foremost is that Super Mario is basically a best-of-both-worlds hybrid of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario 64.  Plenty of elements from the former are present including fire flowers and the tanooki suit along with Koopa airships and the return of fortress boss Boom-Boom, while the 3D layout of the stage designs calls to mind something from the Nintendo 64 classic.  One stage featured the traditional grass land design that Super Mario titles have used for generations in early levels, while another took Mario underground to an area packed with Piranha Plants and Goombas.  An airship stage included Bullet Bills that flew in from the background towards the camera, while the fourth stage was built around the Super Mario Galaxy convention of blocks that move and shift in 3D space.  There's nothing really earthshattering here, but it's plenty of fun to play, and that alone makes me want to see more.

I have to say though, there's an oddity with the Tanooki suit in this demo.  The power-up that invokes it is a Super Leaf instead of a proper brown suit, and while in Tanooki form I was unable to make Mario fly or turn into a statue.  The tail-flapping glide ability is intact, thankfully, as is the power to use the tail to thwack enemies and blocks.  It seems strange to me to bring back the Tanooki suit and not use its full capabilities, but the development is still early on this one and Nintendo may want to hold something back for later.  Just a guess on my part.

You probably saw this coming, but I was pleased with the Super Mario demo and am looking forward to the finished product that is due out later this year.  Have a look at the new trailer and gather your excitement.