Super Mario 3D Land director Koichi Hayashida intended for the title to be an "entry point" into the series for consumers. The game includes a very easy first half before ramping up the difficulty greatly in the second half.
"We thought of setting the difficulty level about as low as we could go realistically for this game because we saw this as an entry point to the Mario games for a lot of people," director Koichi Hayashida told Joystiq. "So the way we see it is someone would pick up Super Mario 3D Land and play that, and then maybe they would move onto Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario 64 after that."
Hayashida admitted that even he had trouble with previous Mario games.
"Speaking as a Mario game fan personally, I should admit that I had trouble trying to clear the first two Super Mario Bros. games," Hayashida said. "So for me, I wanted to create a game that I could at the very least clear. Even if it meant using Assist Blocks, I was able to clear this one, of course."