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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3


Super Mario Land 3 Cover
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

The whole Super Mario Land series is an odd duck. Instead of directly cloning the Mario games like you would expect, they're all a little on the weird side. For example, Super Mario Land only tenuously feels like a Mario game. Super Mario Land 2 feels a little closer, but still has a bit of a disconnect owing to the game's non-linear progression, lack of typical bosses and very strange, almost action-adventure-ish structure, like the part where you ride in a hippo's snot bubble to access a level on the moon.


For Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, they decided to throw almost every connection to the Mario universe out the window and start over. Wario is much less graceful than his thinner, more noble counterpart, has burlier moves and only cares about collecting coins. I mean, literally the entire plot is Wario running through the world killing enemies just to get money. That's all he does, and it's kind of hilarious.

Just like Mario Land II, Wario Land finds ways to surprise you. For example, after beating one level, a lake is drained and dumped back into another world. That opens up new pathways in early levels that allow you to get more treasure. The bosses are neat too, like the giant stone head that snorts out rocks that you then pick up and throw back at it.

My only complaint is that Wario Land doesn't go far enough. There's still a timer on the levels, which prevents you from really exploring the world. You still have to manage extra lives, too. Fortunately, Wario Land II took the necessary steps in that direction.

Still, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is really good. It holds up a little better than Super Mario Land 2 because of its tighter focus and engaging main character, as well as the plethora of meaningful secrets that it holds. It's definitely worth playing.

Final Grade: A-