Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is a game I first played when I was about four years old. I lacked a fully developed brain back then, and perhaps that’s why it’s taken me until today to beat it. Wario Land is an oddball in the Nintendo catalog. Wario was the villain in Super Mario Land 2, and got his own game immediately after. Some familiar Mario concepts are in the game, but Wario Land is very much it’s own thing. Wario Land is a clever platformer that never feels too hard and is a worthy successor to it’s predecessor, Super Mario Land 2.
Wario has his own repertoire of moves. Yes, he can jump on enemies like Mario can, but many enemies have protective covers that hurt you when jumped on. Also, jumping on an enemy merely stuns them. You need to find another way to completely dispose of one. Wario’s main ability is ramming into enemies, elbow first. For some enemies, you need to do it twice, but the reward for doing so is a coin. You’re collecting coins throughout the game in a bank, so every coin counts.
Wario also has sort of hat power ups, not unlike Mario. One, a viking helmet, gives you more ramming speed and lets you butt stomp enemies. Another, a dragon hat, let’s you shoot fire from your head. Last, there’s an airplane hat, which let’s you fly in a straight line for some time. Wario can also just be big or little, but you really don’t want to be little Wario. The game is much harder that way because you can’t use your ram attack. The power ups are fun, and it’s enjoyable to use the power up they don’t intend for you to use in certain parts, like having the airplane hat when you’re not supposed to to fly over large sections.
A criticism is that, after the first world and with the exception of boss fights, the difficulty level doesn’t really ramp up. The stages in the second area aren’t much less challenging than the one’s in the last. Level design overall was good however. For an added challenge, some levels have a locked door in one section, and a key in another. Bring the key to the door (which isn’t always easy), and you get a piece of treasure to hold with your coins.
Boss fights are generally the standard fare. Hit a weak point three times. Knock the opponent out of the ring. To the game’s credit, it didn’t rely on one idea for every boss fight. The boss fights do get more difficult as you make progress, but they’re never that challenging.
The game is short — I finished in about six hours — but I think it’s a quality sequel to Super Mario Land 2, which happens to be one of the best 2D platformers ever made. Wario Land isn’t quite that good, but considering this is a new kind of platformer from Super Mario, and it launched a new game series which spans five games, Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 is a good start to that series.