After months of tenuous support and early-adopter woes, the 3DS community is still raucously rallying around a few key titles to justify their investment, and one of those is the iconic Super Mario 3D Land. In the N64 era and before, Nintendo launches have had Mario as a flagship launch title, but in this case they've chosen to wait for a plumber-studded showing during the holiday season. Regardless of how you feel about their launch strategy, it's becoming more clear that Nintendo is putting a lot of their best ideas into their Mario title.
One such idea comes from Japanese marketing boxes for the game, just revealed by Andriasang. After plenty of Nintendo titles not featuring the 3DS' full functionality, Super Mario 3D Land will have SpotPass support. What this means is that folks who purchase the big title will have the opportunity to register its data in their systems, then to share items with other 3DS gamers they pass on the street.
The other icon on the back of the box is a P-Wing block, which is apparently similar to the Assist Blocks that appeared in New Super Mario Bros. Wii as a way of increasing difficulty while enabling casual players to get a chance to see the whole game. It's not yet clear what these P-Wing blocks will do, but Miyamoto has referenced SMB3 a few times so far; a title in which the P-Wing block could allow skipping an entire level. (In the original game, this could backfire if the player dies after the handicap, as they would be reset to before the skipped level.) Besides the iconic powerup, there's little indication as to how the game-changing assist will work in this new title.
There are plenty of titles both big and niche for the 3DS this year--from Mario Kart to Cave Story. Seeing new features in a flagship title such as Super Mario 3D Land gives me hope that the rest of them will be just as rich!