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Well, this is probably the most unique Super Mario game of the main series that I have played. As in, it's the first to take an approach like this. There were 2D platformers, followed by endless 2D platformers, then 3D platformers followed by endless 3D platformers, you get the idea.
Nintendo's aim with SM3DL, was to create a cross between 2D and 3D, the options 3D gives, and the simplicity 2D offers. It does this fairly well. The levels are in a 3D environment, but with a fairly on-the-rails feeling, so you know exactly where you need to go.
The standard enemies return, Goomba's, Koopa's and the like, as always you're able to defeat them by jumping on top of them, butt-stomping them and the usual means. Nintendo commented that the 3D effect helps you jump on top of enemies easier, as you can judge the depth. I didn't find this to be quite as helpful as it was made out, and usually use my shadow to judge where I am in relation to my target, although the 3D effects are beneficial, and can definitely be noticed.
The best part about the old 2D Super Mario games, was that they had huge amounts of levels, we're talking about 100 or so. Nintendo have managed to create a similar number in this 3D Mario game, there are around 80 or so levels. After you have finished the first 40, there is a tiny bit of repetition where you SOMETIMES play the same levels again, but with harder enemies and a few surprises for you, but most of the latter 40 levels are different, and are generally harder than the first 40 levels, as such, experienced players may find the first section of worlds to easy. (I had 20 lives by the time i was half-way through World 2)
In terms of power-ups, it has a bit of everything, including some new suits, such as propellar Mario, your old favourites return, such as the Fire Flower and Tanooki Suit. Something which Nintendo made a big deal out of, which is no surprise, considering the success of their first Mario games.
This game is a bit of a mish-mash of all the Mario games, it has the Star Coins from New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, similar Bowser battles to Super Mario Bros. on the NES, 3D environments like Super Mario 64 on the N64 and no multiplayer, like some of the Super Mario series... do'h. The only form of contact with other players is that when you pass someone who owns SM3DL, it wil allow you to collect an item, such as a Tanooki Tail or Fire Flower.
I like this game, it's what you would expect from a very successful series, and it's definitely what the 3DS needs right now. This, coupled with Mario Kart 7 is what will push the 3DS from the shelves this Christmas, and they can do it single-handedly.