Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 / Mole Mania
The final week of the 8-bit summer is upon us friends! This week we see the release of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, and a little known game known as Mole Mania. The one you should download will shock you. Find out if these are worth your cash after the break.
Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Original Release Date: March 1994
Price: $3.99 (eShop)
The Super Mario Land games are some of my favourites in the series simply because they just don’t feel like Mario games. Sure there’s some tight platforming that we’ve all come to expect over the years, but it’s not hard to admit they are the black sheep in the Mario franchise. With Mario Land 3, they finally kicked our plucky plumber from the spotlight and replaced him with the antagonist from Super Mario Land 2: Wario.
Wario really is a tough character to get a hold of when you first get into the game. He’s slower, bigger, and instead of jumping on his foes, he likes to ram them away. He’s also motivated by one thing: Money. Between treasure and coins, you’re going to need to get your filthy mitts on whatever comes your way; your ending depends on it. Hats return from the previous title in the series, but it significantly different forms and Mario’s turban and bunny ears have been eschewed for Wario’s Bull, Jet, and Dragon helmets (which to be completely honest are significantly cooler to play with then the same old we’ve come to see).
This game really shook up the Mario formula: rather than arcade style platforming many have come to love, we instead have this very exploration, money based game. A lot of Wario’s thought process comes down to throwing money at it, plain and simple. The world is coherent however, considering the era it came out in, and for the first time in the “Land” series, we have these beautiful, large sprites and a superbly animated world around them.
Sound however I find to be one of the title’s biggest flaws, or what I like to call playing a little too well into the titular character. The music is fitting: slow, bumbling like our “hero” but really fails to produce a song that really captivated me.
Really this game is great, some slight missteps here and there, but for the most part play as an excellent introduction to the world of Wario. If platforming is your flavour, with a side of exploratory adventure (like a fat, sweaty rocky road flavour of rocky road) go pick up Wario Land. You really won’t regret it
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Original Release Date: February 1997
Price: $2.99 (eShop)
Buy this. Really.
This game I feel was criminally underrated when it was released back in 1997. I mean, glorious puzzling with action in it and graphics that look like they were ripped from the beautiful classic Link’s Awakening, you really can’t go wrong.
I’ll admit, the game is pretty significantly light on plot elements. You play the role of Muddy the mole who has to save his wife and 7 children from Jinbe the farmer. Seriously, if you wanted a plot, look elsewhere, but where this game lacks in story, it more than makes up for in gameplay.
There are 8 “levels” if you will in the game, each with a number of sections which require you to push a black ball to a door. Sounds simple enough, but with a number of enemies trying to stop poor Muddy, as well as holes all over the place, you may get stumped a couple of times (and in later levels that escape button will become your best friend)
Sound is fairly average, and there’s nothing particularly memorable, but the musical score has a few stings that will stay with you.
I have to be honest, on paper this game sounds like nothing special at all, but Miyamoto worked his magic on this one. There’s something there beyond that lacklustre story, average sound, and familiar puzzle based gameplay, something magical that just feels like a solid game. This one is certainly the one to get this week.