Platform: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: eShop Download
Category: Platformer, Action
No. of Players: 1-2 players
Release Date: September 18th, 2020 (Worldwide)
Price: $59.99 USD
In 1996, Super Mario made the biggest jump he has ever made in his career at the time. He made the leap from 2D side-scrolling platforming to 3D in Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. The game was critically acclaimed as one of the greatest video games of all time and has been used as inspiration for many a 3D platforming game since.
Mario’s next 3D platforming adventure was Super Mario Sunshine and launched on the Gamecube in 2002. For this adventure, Mario traded his power-ups and caps for a water-spraying device called F.L.U.D.D. The game also introduced new characters like Shadow Mario and Bowser Jr. and featured fully voiced cutscenes in English, which is a first for the series that has not been replicated since.
Super Mario Galaxy took Mario into space and beyond on the Nintendo Wii in 2007. Power-ups make a return and Rosalina and the Lumas are introduced into the series. The game also made use of the Wii’s Motion controls to attack enemies and collect star bits as well as freeze enemies in their tracks. The success of Super Mario Galaxy went on to pave the way for a sequel in the form of Super Mario Galaxy 2.
All three of these iconic games have been bundled together into one neat package, titled Super Mario 3D All-Stars, to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of . It is the first time all three games have been bundled together and a first for all three games to release on Nintendo Switch.
Anyone familiar with the Super Mario series will already know the general premise of each game. King of the Koopas, Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and our mustachioed Italian plumber Mario sets off to rescue her, sometimes accompanied by his brother Luigi. Mario will then run and jump his way through multiple courses and stages until he reaches Bowser and teaches that Koopa who’s boss. Each of the three games in Super Mario 3D All-Stars still sticks to the original formula but does add some changes to make them different from each other.
Super Mario 64 has our hero heading to the Mushroom Kingdom Castle after receiving an invitation from Princess Peach. When he arrives at the castle and goes inside, a booming voice warns him to leave. A Toad near the entrance of the castle warns Mario that the Princess has been kidnapped and that every else in the castle are trapped in the walls.
In order for Mario to rescue Princess Peach, he will have to travel to the worlds in the paintings to collect Power Stars. Using the power of the Power Stars, he could unlock more doors in the castle and in turn collect more Power Stars. Eventually, Mario will encounter his Nemesis, Bowser, and defeat him to save the day.
Super Mario Sunshine sees Mario, Princess Peach, Toadsworth, and a number of Toads travel to the tropical resort of Isle Delfino for a vacation. When they arrive, they find that the town is partially covered in oily paint that is making a mess of the municipality. The residents of the Island see Mario and take him to the authorities where he is tried and sentenced for the vandalism of Isle Delfino. Mario is then tasked with clearing up the mess even though he never created it.
Soon enough, Mario spots the culprit and catches him in the act. The scoundrel is revealed to be a doppelganger of our favorite plumber, who becomes known as Shadow Mario. Shadow Mario attempts to kidnap the Princess but Mario thwarts the kidnap but Shadow Mario manages to escape. While Mario is busy cleaning up the graffiti and the paint on the floors, Shadow Mario returns to kidnap the Princess again and is successful. Mario goes after them both in order to rescue Princess Peach.
Super Mario Galaxy has Mario making his way to the castle for the Star Festival. As he reaches the main plaza, an armada of airships led by King Bowser invades from the skies and rip Princess Peach’s castle straight out of the ground. Mario pursues on foot and just when he thought he was close, he is knocked back by Kamek and falls to the ground.
When Mario awakens, he is greeted by a mysterious being called a Luma. These Luma help Mario and have the ability to transform into a number of things. The Luma takes Mario to meet Rosalina who is the guardian of the Luma. Rosalina enlists Mario’s help in trying to restore power to the Comet Observatory that serves as home to her and the Lumas. It can also travel through space and will help Mario catch up with Bowser and rescue Princess Peach.
The three games in Super Mario 3D All-Stars all share similar core gameplay and are then expanded upon individually. The basic principles being that Mario can run, jump, and has some form of attack. He must use the hub world, be it Peach’s Castle, Delfino Plaza, or the Comet Observatory to find and enter courses.
These courses will have a number of Power Stars / Shine Sprites / Grand Stars for Mario to find and collect. Once he has enough of them, he can progress on to the next part of the Hub World where he can find more courses to play and complete. Mario repeats this process until he reaches the end and ultimately has a showdown with the big bad.
As well as the main courses with their multiple stars to collect, there are a number of secret stages to find that have their own stars. These can be hidden in certain parts of the castle in Super Mario 64 or within the courses themselves like in Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy.
There are some differences in gameplay between each game. In Super Mario 64, Mario can punch and kick enemies, as well as jump and ground pound (now called “pound the ground”) on them from above. He can also wear special caps that will allow him to fly, turn to metal, and turn invisible for a limited time. Mario can’t just use them straight away though, he first has to find the switch to activate their appropriate item block.
In Super Mario Sunshine, Mario does away with the punching and kicking and washes away his enemies instead, by using the Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device AKA F.L.U.D.D. This handy gadget, invented by Professor E.Gadd, comes with a backpack that can contain water and disperse it in a manner of ways. Mario can use it to clear away the oily paint, reach new heights when set to hover, and defeat enemies.
Super Mario Galaxy as somewhat similar core gameplay mechanics to Super Mario 64. The likes of backflip jumps, long jumps, and kicking. This time around though, Mario can spin around to attack enemies and can give them a kick automatically when they are stunned. Power-ups return that can allow Mario to us new powers like the Bee Mushroom and Boo Mushroom.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
Super Mario 3D All-Stars has three classic Super Mario Games and you would think that would be enough. Well, they have more than enough content in themselves to keep players entertained for hours and hours. However, if you are looking for anything after that like a gallery of game artwork, you might feel a little empty-handed.
What Super Mario 3D All-Stars does have is a Music Player with songs and sounds from the three games. There are 175 songs that total over four hours of music. When you choose a song, it will play until you stop it or play another song. If you let it play to the end, the song that succeeds it on the list will follow after. The songs can also be played in the background on the main menu and if you press the – button, you can even turn the screen off and let the music keep playing.
If you need a refresher on what buttons do what, you can press the – button whilst playing your game of choice to bring up a menu that lists the controls and actions. This is handy for those that have returned to playing the game after a long absence or are a little confused when bouncing between one Mario game and the other.
If you were dreading Wii-style motion controls for Super Mario Galaxy, you may be happy to know that, even though motion control is still a thing, it is purely optional. Whereas you would have to swing the Wiimote in order to do a spin attack, you can now simply press the Y button. If you start feeling nostalgic, however, you can swing the Joy-Con to attack.
As for the star pointer on the screen, you can move it with the Joy-Con or Pro Controller motion controls. It can easily lose itself whilst you are playing but you can simply reset the pointer to the center by pressing the R button. Alternatively, you can use the touchscreen in handheld mode which may be easier for some folks.
The music in Mario games has always been iconic and Super Mario 3D All-Stars is no exception. All three games are complete with their original composition and they still sound as amazing today as they did back in the day. The Music Player is a nice touch that allows players to enjoy their favorite music tracks even when they are not playing the game.
All the sound effects and voice work are the same with a couple of exceptions. No new lines were recorded for this collection but western players of the original Super Mario 64, may remember the famous “So long, King Bowser!” line when Mario swings Bowser by the tail and launches him in the air. This line is absent from the 3D All-Stars version of the game because it is not a western version of Super Mario at all. It is in fact, the Japanese Shindou version that has been localized for the collection.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
All three games in Super Mario 3D All-Stars have had an overhaul in one shape or form. They have all had a resolution upgrade that is very noticeable on the large screen of a TV. Some may complain that 720p is not enough for Super Mario 64. After playing it myself, I can see it is a huge upgrade that needs no further improvement. However, I do wish that Super Mario 64 could have seen a screen ratio upgrade from 4:3 to 16:9, as Super Mario Sunshine got.
Super Mario Sunshine is probably the game that seems the most visually impressive. The game’s resolution is vastly improved and a lot clearer too. More so than it ever did on the Gamecube. I previously tested the original Gamecube game on my Flatscreen TV and it was a bit of an eyesore to watch after a period of time. The Super Mario 3D All-Stars version is much better to look at. The screen ratio upgrade to 16:9 means that you get a greater view of the already incredible looking game.
Super Mario Galaxy is perhaps the game that looks like it had the least work done on it. Though, to be fair, the game already looked incredible beforehand so there wasn’t too much that would require a massive overhaul. The resolution was upped as well as a solid 60 frames per second that makes it feel that much smoother and faster too!
As regards to performance for all three games, I didn’t have any issues with jumping between them or experienced any serious, game-breaking bugs. A day-one update also released this morning so any of the issues that other reviewers may have experienced will probably have been patched out now. That’s not saying that all bugs and glitches are completely removed. I am sure there could be a few lying in wait but I have yet to find them myself.
I have been hyped for Super Mario 3D All-Stars ever since it was rumored earlier this year. I love Mario games and remember playing Super Mario 64 and it was the first game I ever 100% completed. I never got a chance to play Super Mario Sunshine before as I never had a Gamecube until recently. As for Super Mario Galaxy, though I had the game for Nintendo Wii, I never really played it.
When Nintendo finally revealed Super Mario 3D All-Stars, I was over the moon. Three classic Mario games that have been remastered and I will be able to play them on Nintendo Switch? YES PLEASE! I was looking for a reason to play these games again and the opportunity presented itself.
After reacquainting myself with these classic games again, I am pleased to say that I am thoroughly enjoying playing them again. So much so that I even bought my brother a copy of the game just so that he could play them too. I know that some folks may have wanted a Super Mario Odyssey-style remaster for Super Mario 64 or even Super Mario 64 DS that included more content and playable characters than the original game. However, I think that Nintendo chose the N64 version specifically because it was such an iconic and innovative game of its time.
I do wish that Super Mario 64 was given a screen ratio upgrade to 16:9. At the very least, it could have been given a nicer border. The standard black border just looks so ugly and out of place when the other games in the collection don’t have them at all. Perhaps an update will become available that will remove the border or add different ones, only time will tell.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars brings three of Super Mario’s iconic 3D adventures in one tidy package! Ideal for those that wish to revisit old memories and a second chance for those that missed out the first time around. These timeless classics will have you coming back again and again.
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*A download key was provided by Nintendo UK for the purposes of this review
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