Genre: Adventure, Action, Platformer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 18/09/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Celebrating 35 Years Of Our Favourite Italian Plumber
In celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise the much-anticipated compilation Super Mario 3D All-Stars is finally here. Featuring three iconic 3D classics from over the years; Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64 – 1997), Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube – 2002) and last but by no means least Super Mario Galaxy (Wii – 2007.)
This impressive collection of games boasts updated HD graphics and improved resolution as well as controls optimised for the Nintendo Switch. Most excitingly out of the 3 titles included is the chance to be able to use the joy-cons in Super Mario Galaxy to mimic the original movement controls utilised by the Wii-mote. As if this wasn’t enough the icing on the cake for this plentiful offering is the inclusion of the OG soundtracks for the games being featured as well. Plenty for fans both old and new to sink their teeth into but the proof is in the pudding.
Let’s-a-go Save Princess Peach… Again!
Every fan knows how Super Mario games go; Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, and it’s left to our hero Mario to save the day and the Princess. The great thing between these 3 titles chosen for this compilation is they each have unique gameplay styles.
Super Mario 64 is hailed as Mario’s debut into the 3D world on the N64, exploring Princess Peach’s Castle to save her from the clutches of Bowser. Fans may also be aware this isn’t the first port for this title, previously being released on Nintendo DS and virtual console for Wii/Wii U. Graphically the game is more polished, visually vibrant and crisper compared to the original N64 instalment. It retains that blocky and bright aesthetic from the original, keeping that nostalgia factor high.
However, for Mario 64, the controls and camera don’t translate well onto the Switch for me. Between awkward camera angles and movement/action controls at times, it feels overly sensitive and makes it a bit of a frustrating experience. Some examples of this include Mario slipping around on even the slightest inclines like a Goomba on ice and basic moves like attempts to grab enemies becoming an unintended dive at them instead. Still, a fun play but could potentially be inaccessible for younger and newer players because of the controls.
Super Mario Sunshine, our second nostalgic offering begins with Mario accompanying Princess Peach on vacation to Isle Delfino. But there’s trouble in paradise as you arrive to find a villain who looks suspiciously like our hero has vandalised the island with a magic paintbrush. After a run in with the Island’s Law over mistaken identity, you are tasked to clean up the island, retrieve the shine sprites and ultimately save Princess Peach.
Sunshine offers a unique and fun gameplay experience from previous Super Mario instalments with the use of F.L.U.D.D, a powerful water cannon that you as Mario aim to clean off graffiti and can also use as a jetpack of sorts. Visually the game is superb; the upscaling translates very well both on screen and in handheld mode.
I found the controls are more manageable, including the use of aiming for F.L.U.D.D and camera controls being normal rather than inverted like the original, inverted controls used to be the bane of my existence! Hardcore fans of the original bear in mind that the option to switch to inverted is not included, this may disappoint some but this for me was a change that helped me reconnect with Sunshine.
Super Mario Galaxy our final title of the collection really is the star of the show! This time our hero must undertake a galactic journey to save the universe and Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser. With the assistance of Luma and guidance from the mysterious Rosalina; Mario can use the Comet Observatory to access and embark on an exploration of galaxies filled with planets and worlds to retrieve the Power Stars.
Galaxy offers a unique gameplay experience from previous titles, combining classic platformer gameplay into a 3D adventure hopping from planets and objects which all have their own gravitational force. There are a few additional features with the use of the ability spin technique to help you navigate planets through the sling stars, specific actions and melee attacks. Plus, the addition of star bits which, when collected, can be fired at enemies, obstacles and fed to the adorable Lumas.
Aesthetically the game is beautiful. The upscaling helps to bring out Galaxy’s beauty making this a gorgeous gameplay experience. Controls are adapted both for handheld mode and also using the Joy-Cons in place of the Wiimote, both translate well and make this game very accessible for all. This game provides an in-depth experience that will appeal to fans of Galaxy, as well as new players.
Success Or Is This Just a Pipe Dream?
Overall, for the 35th Anniversary, Super Mario 3D All-Stars offers a great experience and a lot of gameplay for its price. Three games in one, as well as the additional soundtracks provided, will give hardcore Mario Franchise fans a nostalgic experience and also makes these older titles more accessible for newer players.
My only major critique is with Mario 64. It does feel a bit like the odd one out in this compilation. This is mainly because of its sensitive action controls and frustration inducing camera angles. It also already has a port on the Nintendo DS, and the virtual console on both Wii and Wii U. As iconic as it is, being the first major 3D Mario game, which I will always love for nostalgia’s sake, I do feel that perhaps the inclusion of Paper Mario instead of or as well as Mario 64 would have made this compilation feel more complete.
I would say overall this is definitely worth £49.99 even if you get it solely for Sunshine and Galaxy, with hours of fun for all the family to be had and a great trip down memory lane for more seasoned players of the franchise.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Super Mario 3-D All-Stars from the Nintendo eShop.