Ever since there were whispers that a 3D Super Mario collection could be on the way, it’s been my most anticipated title of 2020. All three of these games are among my favourites of all time, coming into my life at different times and defining a console generation. When the collection was announced a couple of weeks ago, my initial excitement went to disappointment fairly quickly due to the fact that Super Mario 64 didn’t look like it had been given the love that it deserves. But after spending the better part of two weeks with the title, I’m pretty happy to say that the concerns I had faded away fairly quickly.
Starting with Super Mario 64, it definitely does stick out like a sore thumb. The game hasn’t been given the widescreen treatment, and I can definitely see either side of the argument, but when you actually go back and compare it to the original and how that looked visually, it does look a lot better than it did all those years ago.
Everyone has played at the first few levels of Super Mario 64 at least a dozen times, but I actually took the time to play it through almost to completion and had a massive ball with it. The camera is definitely a little bit frustrating and that’s another thing that could have used a bit of an improvement, but I don’t think it was out of laziness, but rather staying true to the original game, which literally created the 3D platformer genre.
I think I would have also liked some kind of reference to Super Mario 64 DS. A lot of people forget just how different and equally great that game was. You had multiple players (with different abilities), 30 new stars, and a bunch of great mini-games.
Moving onto Super Mario Sunshine, it’s the game that’s most divisive, but it’s definitely the game that benefits most from the collection The game ran at 480i on the Gamecube and runs at 1080p on the Nintendo Switch. The visuals are so much clearer, everything is that little bit brighter and more colorful and you can actually take everything in that’s going on around you.
There is one little annoyance, and that’s that the game still runs at 30 FPS. Whilst I’m not a super technical person, I’m guessing it’s due to the fact that these games are literally running on emulators for their respective console (which sounds lazy but would have been a lot of work to create an entirely new, official emulator for one game). It didn’t affect my experience, but it’s definitely would have been nice to have a 60 FPS bump.
Moving onto Super Mario Galaxy, and again, it looks absolutely gorgeous in 1080p whilst running at 60 FPS. The game is obviously still great and was most likely the most challenging to bring over just because it did rely so heavily on the Wii Remote and its pointer when it released.
Nintendo has tackled this with varying degrees of success. Whilst playing in handheld, you need to use the touch screen to collect bits and press on the touch screen to shoot them. This doesn’t work all that well, given you very much need both of your hands to play Super Mario Galaxy.
However, the way they’ve incorporated the gyroscope in both the Joy-Con and Pro Controller to be able to maintain some of that waggle that made the Wii so successful is definitely clever and it works fairly well. Obviously, it’s not a one to one reflection of how it worked on the Wii as that used a very different technology, but it works well enough. There’s also a co-op mode, which allows someone to take control of another Joy-Con in order to help you collect bits and take down enemies.
When it comes down to it, the problem with Super Mario 3D All-Stars isn’t the games, or even how the games do or don’t run, but rather the lack of fan service that surrounds them. This is a full-priced, first-party release, which is fair given the three games, but this collection is supposed to celebrate Mario’s 35th Anniversary and it doesn’t really do that successfully.
The only way that Nintendo has celebrated the franchise is through the inclusion of a music player, which lets you play through the soundtracks of all three games. It’s nice to have, but it would have been even better to have an art gallery or some kind of behind the scenes look to better bring together the three games and franchise as a whole. I know it feels weird to talk about the packaging in a review, but even the physical edition of the game doesn’t come with any extras as we’ve seen in the past.
All-in-all, these are three great games, but I’d love to have seen them celebrated a bit more.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is another must-own game for Nintendo Switch. It brings together three games from three different generations and shows just how timeless the Mario franchise is. At the same time, it is a shame that Nintendo didn't celebrate the iconic franchise a little more throughout the presentation of the package.
Three Fantastic Games
Sunshine/Galaxy Feel Like Brand New Games
Super Mario Galaxy's Control Schemes Are To Be Commended
Presentation As A Package Is Lacking
Not The Complete 3D Collection
Super Mario 64 Could Have Given More Visual Choice