Super Mario 3D Land is Nintendo's first earnest attempt at a 3D Mario game on a handheld system (DS Mario 64 notwithstanding), and it not only succeeds as a game generally on par with other franchise titles in terms of stage design and controls, but also manages to be a somewhat unique entry in its own right. While 3D Land is, in fact, a 3D game (as in 3D control), it's design aesthetic is actually much more similar to the series' classic 2D offerings. With few exceptions, levels are largely linear and emphasize pure platforming over exploration, the fixed camera helps to reenforce style of play. Speaking of the camera, 3D Land almost certainly marks the first time where the 3D effect (as in eye-popping, this time) actively aids gameplay. Along with several areas where perspective tricks are purposefully revealed through 3D, the depth given to the entire game helps to position your character in the game space while maintaining a largely fixed camera position. It's not perfect: I still occasionally find myself missing the mark from time to time, even with 3D on, but the overall effect it has on the game is quite spectacular.