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Super Mario 3D Land is a 3D Mario platformer that came out in November 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS. Unlike earlier 3D Mario games, the style of 3D Land is essentially a blend between 2D and 3D Mario: Many elements, from linear level structure to Super Mushroom-based health to old-school power-ups like the Tanooki Suit, have been implemented into the 3D games for the first time. It's best described by Shigeru Miyamoto himself as "...more like a 3D Mario that plays like a 2D Mario game."

The premise is that a tree full of Tanooki Leaves is stripped of its leaves in a violent storm. When Mario and some Toads check the tree on the next day, they receive a letter from Bowser that he captured Peach again. His minions have also used the Tanooki Leaves to gain flying and spinning powers. Mario then sets off to save the day once more.

Tropes used in Super Mario 3D Land include:
  • Actually a Doombot: The False Bowsers. They can be told from the real deal by their Tanooki tails.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Giant Cosmic Clones seen in the special worlds.
  • Arc Symbol: The Tanooki tail, seen on the logo, many of the enemies, and even false Bowsers.
  • Art Shift: The pictures Mario receives throughout the game resemble the drawn artwork of the early Mario games, notably from Super Mario Bros 3 onwards.
  • Aside Glance: Bowser makes one right before the ground beneath him and Mario breaks before the final battle.
  • Auto Scrolling Level: Now with 3D areas! This game handles the traditional auto scroll a little differently: You are no longer "pushed" by the boundary; you can go past it. But once you're offscreen long enough, the game considers you dead.
  • Badass Damsel: Peach, of all people. As the photographs you get during the course of the game show, while she doesn't actually succeed in escaping from Bowser and his army, she certainly isn't above trying to kick some Goomba ass in her attempts to escape.
  • Bag of Sharing: When switching between Mario and Luigi, each retains the active and held power-up the other had.
  • Battle Boomerang:
    • Mario gets to wear Boomerang Bro. equipment as a power-up.
    • This is Pom Pom's Weapon of Choice.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Peeka, a new type of ghost that appears alongside the standard Boos. They mostly appear in groups, but tend to move around less than Boos.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Bowser keeps up the tradition of installing devices in his castles that are specifically designed to ensure his downfall. In this game's case, they're bridge-destroying buttons with his insignia on them that dump him in searing lava[1])|original game]].
    • In an unintentional example, Bowser never bothers to see that Mario can easily just walk on the railings of the bridge that can easily collapse with a press of a button.
  • Bottomless Pits: Everywhere. It's not even justified this time; a majority of the stages are virtually just a set of platforms floating in midair for no real reason.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: S-8 Crown.
  • Cap: The maximum amount of lives one can carry is 1,110.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Cardboard cutouts of enemies and power-ups appear frequently throughout the game, most often to fool you into thinking it's the real thing. When you finally "defeat" the real Bowser, you find Peach stranded atop a castle. Or so it seems...
  • Co-Dragons: Boom-Boom and Pom-Pom.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In addition to the series' usual use of this trope, one of the game's levels (specifically, S2-3) has water coming from a lava pit.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Mario and the Toads all using Tanooki Suits to fly Peach back to the castle. It's a double moment in that Tanooki Suits couldn't fly that far originally, even if Mario skipped all the stages, and the suit's flight abilities weren't available in this game.
  • Crap Saccharine World: Say hello to world 8-2, a lush, grassy meadow filled to the brim with flamethrowers.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Exploited Trope. The Flip-Swap platforms from Super Mario Galaxy 2 are back, and they now activate whenever Mario jumps.
  • Death Throws: As usual in 2D Mario titles, Mario does this when he loses a life.
  • Dem Bones: Dry Bowser returns in a special world.
    • Per Mario tradition, Dry Bones are recurring enemies in castle levels.
  • Depth Deception: Seen in some secret areas.
    • Notably, the game makes the otherwise ornamental 3D feature an actual gameplay mechanic. Playing with the 3D off puts you at a disadvantage.
    • Sometimes cardboard cutouts of various things appear just to screw with you.
  • Difficulty Spike: Officially acknowledged by the man himself to start at the beginning of World 8.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Boom Boom got one named Pom Pom. She wields a boomerang and has a counterattack that involves trying to smash Mario with her shell instead of just spinning around the room like Boom Boom.
  • Distressed Dude: Luigi in the first special world's castle.
  • Dual Boss: Boom Boom and Pom Pom in World 7-Airship. And again in the secret final level.
  • Dummied Out: The flying ability of the Tanooki Suit, as it would be a Game Breaker within the existing level design, as put by one of the developers.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The Tanooki Suit, by virtue of being able to slow descent, frequently allows major shortcuts to be made. The biggest one is in 7-1, which can be finished in 5 seconds!
  • Extended Gameplay: Eight challenging bonus worlds in addition to the eight normal ones.
  • Fireballs: The Fire Flower's first (permanent) 3D outing puts a spin on its fireballs' bouncy nature by having them ricochet off walls continuously until it either fizzles out or hits an enemy.
  • Floating Platforms
  • Forced Perspective: Isometric Projection puzzles employ this.
  • George Lucas Throwback: To classic 2D Mario games, especially Super Mario Bros 3. However, there are references to other games, such as Bowser and his duplicates being defeated similarly to in the very first Super Mario Bros (as well as the fact that there are fake Bowsers in the first place) and the bonus-granting musical notes occasionally playing the main level music from Super Mario World when collected.
  • Get Back Here Boss: The (False) Bowser battles in this game work little more than segments of the level in which each one tries to kill Mario as he gets to the end of the stage.
  • Genre Savvy / The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: You're forbidden from exiting courses (even the ones you've beaten) when you're in midair, thereby terminating the age-old trick of exiting the course right before you fall to your doom.
  • Goomba Stomp: Unlike every other 3D Mario platformer, this is your only means of attack in this game when not powered up, just like the Mario games of old.
  • Guys Smash Girls Shoot: Boom Boom and Pom Pom. Boom Boom's regular attack is to spin around with his fists out like a tornado; Pom Pom shoots out boomerangs instead.
    • Inverted with their shell attacks. Boom Boom blasts his shell at you like a cannonball, and Pom Pom ascends into the air and crashes down on you.
  • Hard Mode Filler: The special stages are mostly redone versions of the main game's stages; a few of those stages are used for more than one special stage.
  • Infinite One Ups: A 1-up trick that was actually discovered five months before the game's release.
    • Another way is to jump on Pom-Pom's head, and then just stay on her shell as she raises up in the air to try and hit you. You'll keep bouncing on it until she switches to her other attack, thus, gaining many one ups.
  • Interface Screw: 4-2 introduces black Piranha Plants which spit ink at the screen.
  • In Name Only: Despite being marketed as Mario 3D Land, Super Mario 3D Land does not feature locations from the previous Land games, nor its unique monsters. The adventure features the familiar and famous mooks that surround the Mushroom Kingdom, the princess in need of rescue is not a new face like Daisy, but the ever familiar Peach. Tatanga, Wario, nor any new heels play the villain, it's ol' Bowser again.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The Super Star, as in every Mario game.
  • Killer App: Along with Mario Kart 7, it was released just about the time the 3DS sales really started to pick up.
  • Leitmotif: 3D Land's main theme is a rearranged homage to Super Mario Bros 3's main theme.
  • Let's Play: One by Super Skarmory that came out relatively soon after its release date, but still manages to avoid being a blind let's play or being too inexperienced. It starts here.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The last two Special worlds have huge Cosmic Clones.
  • Mega Manning: Some enemies will drop power-up items when defeated. Giant Mooks drop Mushrooms, Tail Goombas will drop Super Leaves, Venus Fire Traps can drop Fire Flowers, and Boomerang Brothers will drop Boomerang Flowers.
  • Mercy Mode: Die five times in a row in a level and you get an invincible Tanooki Suit. Die five times more and you get a P-Wing, which skips the level from where you use it. (And any bosses in the stage, as well.)
  • Musical Gameplay: A few levels in the game have appearing and disappearing platforms that are synchronized to the beat of the music.
  • Nerf: The Tanooki Suit no longer grants you flight or lets you transform into stone. It only slows your fall (as it did in Super Mario Bros 3; Luigi had a similar ability in Super Mario 64 DS) and lets you attack with your tail. However, a variation of the suit found late in the game does let you turn into a statue, but aside from the addition of a Scarf of Asskicking the other features are about the same.
    • Mario himself has been nerfed. The power of all his jumps have been reduced (compared to the devs' previous titles, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2) to accommodate the 3DS's small screen. He doesn't even have the Triple Jump anymore.
      • Oddly, while Luigi received the same Nerfs as Mario, he also got buffed! Now, he doesn't slide around as much when stopping anymore, meaning he is a true Lightning Bruiser.
  • Nintendo Hard: Many of the special levels are extremely challenging, especially S-8 Crown, which rivals the Grandmaster Galaxy in overall toughness.
  • Now Do It Again Backwards: S8-1 starts you at what was originally the end of W1-2.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: Literal example. Ink-spitting Piranha Plants will spit globs of goop and if it hits the screen, it'll produce black stains that'll obscure your vision. You can make the stains go away early by blowing into the microphone.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Pom-Pom's battle arenas have a pink motif, and Pom-Pom herself is magenta-colored. Also in the Boom-Boom/Pom-Pm double battles, Boom-Boom's area is blue and Pom-Pom's is red.
  • Poison Mushroom: They make a return in the Special Worlds.
  • Power-Up: Notably, the Tanooki Suit returns after decades of absence, and unlike in Super Mario Galaxy the Fire Flower functions as it did in the 2D games instead of lasting temporarily.
  • Recurring Boss: Throughout the game you fight Fake Bowser twice (World 1 and World 5), Boom-Boom three times (World 2, World 3 and World 7) and Pom-Pom three times (World 4, World 6 and World 7). In World 8 you fight the real Bowser twice. The special worlds add Dry Bowser and Giant Cosmic Clones, that also become this.
  • Rolling Attack: Mario gains one here by crouching then tapping the dash button again while running, but it's not much of an attack. It'll affect blocks and break wooden cutouts and crates, but rolling into an enemy will only cause harm to yourself. So in combat situations, it's more of an evasive maneuver. You can also slightly extend your long jump by jumping right after rolling.
  • Save the Princess: Would it be a main series Mario without it?
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Distinguishes the Tanooki suit that can turn into a statue versus the one that can't.
  • Scenery as You Go: Happens in some ghost houses. Platforms in front of you appear as you walk along, and disappear when you move away from their starting point.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: To add a final cruel twist of difficulty in S8-Crown, it's possible to complete the last section (the "Thank you!!" message) by jumping across the flipping platforms. Since each letter only lasts for around a couple of seconds before disappearing, you'll need to move and jump extremely quickly to avoid falling into the Bottomless Pit below.
  • Shout-Out: There is a level based on the very first The Legend of Zelda game, complete with the iconic "puzzle solved" jingle, since it's that franchise's 25th anniversary.
    • A rather subtle one to the original Super Mario Bros.; when you get an extra life while at 999, instead of maxing there, it reads "Crown"-00, a reference to how a glitch/oversight in the original SMB made it display a crown with various symbols after it upon exceeding 9 lives.
    • Luigi's version of the Tanooki Suit is that of a kitsune[2], which brings to mind another fox who plays a similar role to Luigi...
    • In the final Bowser battle, during one section of it, he throws barrels at Mario, similar to Mario's debut game: Donkey Kong.
  • Shows Damage: When you take a hit and turn into Small Mario, his cap goes missing. There is no explanation given as to why.
    • Reaching the Cap[3] of your lives (which is 1,110 and is only attainable past 999 by utilizing the 1-Up trick mentioned above) reverses this situation: Normal Mario is capless and Small Mario dons the headwear.
  • Significant Anagram: The placement of The Legend of Zelda-themed level is 5-2. Now flip the numbers.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: In the spirit of the 2D Mario games, it is Level 2.
  • Sliding Scale of Visuals Versus Dialogue: Way over on the visuals side; this game has no dialogue text whatsoever. This is remarkable as it's the first 3D Mario platformer to not have any.
  • Slow Motion Fall: Subverted. After defeating Bowser for good, he begins a slow-motion fall into the lava below...before getting hit with a giant slab o' rock and turning back to real-time.
  • Socialization Bonus: Items can be exchanged between 3DSes using StreetPass.
  • Speed Run: Your best time is recorded when you clear a level so players can compare their runs with other people. In the Special worlds, some levels start with only 30 seconds on the clock, forcing you to quickly blaze through the levels and kill enemies to add seconds to the clock.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Super Mario Bros 3. The name may also be a reference to Super Mario Land and its sequel, which were Mario's first portable adventures.
  • Story Overwrite: It doesn't matter what form you clear the final level as -- Mario will always start out in the ending credits as Super Mario.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: The first 3D Mario platformer to incorporate such, actually.
  • Super Title 64 Advance
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Bowser, as always, seems to only fight in an arena that so happens to have the necessary tools to defeat him. Particularly bad in the final battle - if he didn't destroy a particular wall with a tail swipe, you wouldn't be able to reach the switch to defeat him.
  • Taken for Granite: The Statue Leaf lets you transform into stone at will. You can't move while in the form, but you can change back at will.
  • Technicolor Fire: Bowser and Mario both have red-orange fire. In the second half of the final battle, Bowser gets blue-purple fire that makes a jet-engine scream as it goes by. Dry Bowser has eldritch blue fire.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Mario hums the classic theme music after receiving the picture between Worlds 5 and 6.
  • Throw a Barrel At It: Bowser has apparently taken advice from his rival's other rival and utilized this trope for a phase in the Final Battle.
  • Unlockable Content: Clear the first special world to play as Luigi.
    • Clear both the main and special worlds with both brothers, get all the gold flags, and collect all the Star Medals to unlock a special level in Special World 8 that'll surely test your platforming prowess.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can throw fireballs at the Toad in the Toad House. And he gave you a power-up, too...
  • Video Game Settings: As a throwback to old-school Mario, it's only fitting that several stock video game locations appear. However, this game is notable for averting themes for each world. Each world in this game is a medley of different settings, so you can find a desert and an icy mountain in the same world. Same deal with the Galaxy games, but it was justified then because you were traveling between planets. This game has examples of:
  • A Winner Is You: Your reward for completing the nightmarishly difficult S8-"crown" level? A simple "thank you" message.
    • At least in this instance some creativity got put into it, as the message is spelled out with flipping platforms.
  • World Map
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The earlier Bowser's Castle levels have the decency to inform you with binoculars that you're not going to be finding the princess in this castle. And then there's the first one in World 8 which leads you to believe you're going to save the princess only for it to turn out to be a cardboard cutout - you still have two more levels to go. And even then, saving Peach turns out to be only the end of the first half of the game.

Notes

  1. similarly to the axes from the [[Super Mario Bros. (video game
  2. a mythical fox said to have magical powers
  3. No pun intended.
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