- Super Mario 3D Land (9/9/10/10, 38 points): "From the length of the stages to the placement of enemies and tricks to the difficulty, everything seems just right here, making for a really comfortable play experience. The bits of the game that take advantage of 3D depth are a lot of fun, inspiring you to hunt around for all of the hidden stuff. There's a wealth of helper functionality for beginners, and there's also a lot of cute little touches to the game that will bring up twinges of nostalgia. The 3D space of this game is really well thought-out, allowing you to enjoy the 3D-based tricks while still feeling like a 2D Mario. It may just be Mario, but then, nothing is like Mario. The mix of discovery and surprise here is what you come to expect from the series."
- Just Dance Wii (9/7/8/6, 30 points): "The game isn't too picky with accuracy and doesn't end on you too quickly for bad play, so this is a nice package for families or casual users. Opinions may differ on the songs included, but as a fun little dance game, the selection is more than decent. It's worth noting that nearly all the songs are performed by the original artists, too. There's a nice mix of old, new, Japanese and Western tunes included. It's nothing but big-name tracks, so breaking it out at parties would be a good bet. The gameplay is nothing that impressive, since it's only following the movements of the hand holding the controller, but it's still enjoyable as a dance game."
Famitsu also had the chance to sit down and chat with Miyamoto about Super Mario 3D Land...
"For this game, I worked as general producer. I've made the Mario series alongside Takashi Tezuka, and especially I tend to be the main person in the 3D games. With those titles, I've been working alongside the producer Yoshiaki Koizumi for a pretty long time, so 3D Land is being made with him overseeing a group of younger directors. I kept my distance from the project at first, but became more deeply involved midway -- I don't think it'd be satisfying as a Mario game to everyone unless I made myself known on the little details. ...like how the enemies in Mario should be, or what the music should sound like. It's hard to put into simple terms, but it's something that I really have to be looking at or else it won't happen. Having a new control scheme can really erase that Mario-ness from the game, and you'd be surprised at how long that can go unnoticed during development. Still, the main points of it became clear as we discussed it -- for example, how much acceleration Mario should have in order for his jumping to feel really good and Mario-like. I helped fine-tune the numbers behind all of that; it was a really fun part of development.
I don't think there was any major upending (of the tea table)though the staff might have a different take on that! Like I said, I came into the project to make it more Mario-like.
New Mario has Super Mario World at its core, and this game has Mario 3. Part of that is because a lot of the staff is from the Mario 3 generation, but there's also the fact that Mario's falling speed is cut down a fair bit in the 3D titles. It's more fun to have him zoom down in the side-scrolling titles, and it's more fun to make it a lighter sort of thing in 3D. That's why implementing the Tanooki stuff made more sense here.
It's been the case in the past that action games with 3D visuals have been difficult to play because it's hard to get a grasp of depth and range. The easier it is to gauge that, the easier the game becomes to approach. That's why I wanted to get a 3D Mario out as soon as we could. When Super Mario 64 came out, a lot of people dropped out because it was too hard to play -- you could go in any direction now, not just in a 2D plane, so it got harder in that respect, to say nothing of motion sickness. Some people liked that evolution, while others couldn't keep up with it. The New Mario series was an effort to get back to the core of it, and this game is kind of an in-between -- it's 3D, but it's a Mario that lots of people can play.
Opinions were divided on (the Super Guide feature in) New Mario Wii, but I also received commentary along the lines of 'Super Guide let my child play it to the end' and 'I got to enjoy playing this with my dad.' It's tough putting something like that in a 3D game, but there are lots of hint movies in Ocarina of Time 3D as well. I think it's implemented in a pretty fun way here. If you just want to finish the game, that's relatively easy. Try to collect all the Star Medals, though, and you'll find it pretty rewardingly tough. There are other features in the game, too, for players confident enough in their skills."