Since Super Mario 3D Land is meant to act as a bridge between the linear 2D Mario games and the more exploratory 3D ones, Nintendo divided it up into two halves. The first half plays more like traditional 2D Mario games like Super Mario Bros. 3.
The second half, which opens up after you’ve completed the main game, consists of “bonus stages,” as previously reported. These are about equal in number to the stages in the main game. The bonus stages play more like 3D Mario games, where the same stage can have multiple goals, such as finding the star or collecting eight red coins.
While some of these bonus stages are re-used from the main game, others are new and are meant to be for advanced players. As we reported yesterday, this part of the game also allows you to play as Luigi. Like in Super Mario Galaxy, Luigi jumps higher and is a little harder to stop.
Once you’ve cleared a stage, you have the option of playing it in a Time Attack mode. This is where advanced moves such as the Roll, Long Jump, and Forward-Roll Long Jump come in. These advanced moves help you clear stages faster, and can also be used to discover secrets hidden throughout the stages.