It’s hard to believe that the Super Mario Bros franchise is 35 years old. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Nintendo has released a limited edition compilation of some of the best 3D Mario platforming games for Nintendo Switch, Super Mario 3D All-Stars. This compilation consists of Mario’s first three 3D platforming games: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy.
If you’ve never had a chance to play these games before, Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Nintendo Switch is a great way to do so.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Mario’s first three 3D platforming games in one package
Quite arguably some of the best 3D Mario games, all 3 games included in Super Mario 3D All-Stars have higher resolutions than their original versions and have been optimized for a smooth gameplay experience on Nintendo Switch.
Let’s take a quick look at each of the three games in this compilation.
Super Mario 64 (1996)
Mario’s first ever 3D adventure launched with the Nintendo 64 on September 29, 1996 and revolutionized the video game industry. The game takes place in Princess Peach’s Castle, which is made up of three floors, a basement, a moat, and a courtyard. As Super Mario 64 was the first ever fully 3D platforming game, Shigeru Miyamoto designed the starting point of the game, outside of Peach’s castle, to be a place where players can familiarize themselves with the camera and moving in the 3D world.
The game begins with a letter from Princess Peach inviting Mario to come over to her castle to eat a cake she baked for him. However, when Mario arrives, he learns that Bowser has yet once again captured the princess using the castle’s 120 Power Stars. In order to save Princess Peach, you must enter the castle’s various paintings, which are actually portals to other worlds where the Power Stars are being held by Bowser’s minions.
Super Mario Sunshine (2002)
Mario’s second 3D adventure arrived on the Nintendo GameCube on August 26, 2002. This entry in the Super Mario Bros franchise is quite possibly the biggest departure in terms of gameplay and storyline. The game takes place in a tropical resort called the Isle Delfino and it’s inhabited by the Piantas and Nokis.
The game begins as Mario sets out to take Princess Peach on a vacation to Ise Delfino for some rest and relaxation. However, once they arrive, they find that someone on the island has been plastering graffiti all over. As a result, the island’s sources of power, Shine Sprites have disappeared. Soon after arriving, Mario is arrested and convicted of vandalizing Isle Delfino and is ordered to clean up the graffiti and recover the Shine Sprites.
Super Mario Galaxy (2007)
Mario’s third 3D adventure launched on the Nintendo Wii on November 12, 2007. The game begins with the centennial Star festival, which is held every hundred years. During the event, Princess Peach finds a star shaped creature called a Luma. Peach invites Mario to come to the festival to see the Luma.
As Mario arrives at the festival, Bowser invades the Mushroom Kingdom with his fleet of airships and snatches up Peach’s castle taking it to outer space. In an attempt to rescue Princess Peach in outer space, Mario meets Rosalina, a watcher of the stars. He learns that Bowser has stolen all of the Power Stars to create his own galaxy. Mario sets off to reclaim the Power Stars and save Princess Peach.
Do these classic 3D Mario games stand the test of time?
With games in the compilation ranging from 13 to 24 years old, it is only natural to wonder how they hold up today. Video game technology has increased by leaps and bounds since these games were released not only in graphical power but also through more intuitive controls or how games themselves are designed.
After playing all three games again, I can honestly say they are just as fun to play as they have ever been. Initially, I did wonder how each of the three games would play on Switch. The least of my worries was Super Mario 64 and I am happy to report it plays just as it did on the Nintendo 64. Second, Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube made use of the system’s analog triggers. Seeing as the Switch doesn’t have analog triggers, I was a bit worried. However, by using the Switch’s extra shoulder buttons, the game plays just as well as it did when it launched.
Finally, Super Mario Galaxy and it’s Wii-based motion controls were my last worry. However, Nintendo has cleverly made use of the Switch’s touch screen in handheld mode and spin moves are mapped to button presses.
Each game looks better than the original
While none of these games are vastly enhanced visually, they do look better over their original releases. Being the oldest game in the compilation, Super Mario 64 has seen the least enhancements. Although the visuals do look sharper than its N64 counterpart, it does not fill the Switch’s screen. Additionally, the audio in the game sounds compressed and in some instances muffled. Though this could just be that the sound and compression in games has advanced over the years.
Super Mario Sunshine is as colourful as ever and the resolution increase makes the game look better than ever. The tropical soundtrack has perfectly made its way over to Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Finally, Super Mario Galaxy looks marvellous and could easily pass for a new Mario game in 2020.
Moreover, Super Mario 3D All-Stars has a mode that allows you to listen to each of the three game’s soundtracks on your Switch when the screen is off. How cool is that?!
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a great way to play three classic games
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a great way to relive or experience for the first time some of the best 3D Mario games ever. While it would have been great to see further gameplay refinements and greater visual enhancements, each of the games in this collection play better than the originals.
For those that have played these games previously, it will be a walk down memory lane. And, for those that have never played these games, it’s a great way to appreciate Mario and his contributions to the video game industry as a whole.
As a reminder, Super Mario 3D All-Stars won’t be around forever. The game will be available until March 31, 2021 both physically and digitally.
+ Three fantastic 3D Mario games in one package
+ All games look and play better than the originals
+ Nearly 100 hours of gameplay between all three games
+ Each of the three game’s soundtracks included in the compilation
– No bonus content aside from the soundtracks
– Lack of customization options for controls
– Limited physical and digital release
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF SUPER MARIO 3D ALL-STARS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4/5 (80%)
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These are 3 great games, but Nintendo really slacked off in the collection. It would have been nice if they had updated a few things, like making the camera in Super Mario 64 for intuitive. I’ve spent a lot of time playing that game in the past, and sometimes it is difficult to get the camera pointed in a direction I am happy with.
So far I am nearly 100 stars into Super Mario 64, and despite my camera issues I am enjoying it as much as always. At this point I am staying with Super Mario 64 until I finish it because I don’t want to lose my collection of over 50 lives. I hate getting stuck on something and burning through the 4 lives you get when you load a save and having to start over again. It makes me lose all my rhythm.
Super Mario Sunshine is the game I have the least amount of experience with. I did complete the story back when it was released on the GameCube, but it is the only game in this collection that I have not 100%ed in the past. I’m about 2-3 shines into the game. I find I have trouble aiming FLUDD the way I need to, but I’m still early. I think as I play more I will get more accurate with my targeting.
I think Super Mario Galaxy is the best Mario 3D platformer ever made, but I may be confusing it with Super Mario Galaxy 2. Both games kind of blend together in my memory, but they are #1 & #2 on my list of best Mario 3D platformers. So far I am 4 Power Stars into Super Mario Galaxy. So far I have entirely played Galaxy with Nintendo’s Pro Controller, but I’m not sure that is the best way to play this game. As you progress through levels it is important to pick up Star Bits along the way as they will be needed later in the game. I find that moving around the Pro Controller to try and collect the Star Bits feels awkward. When I get back to Super Mario Galaxy I will attempt to play with my joy-cons. I think that will keep the experience closer to the Wiimote and nunchuk control scheme from the Wii version of the game. My only concern with this is the joy-con drift that I have been experiencing. It’s not terrible, but it is annoying at times.
My biggest issue with these games is the price. If you, like me, are a Wii U owner you can purchase Super Mario 64 for $9.99, and Super Mario Galaxy for $28.19. In order to get to the price of $79.99 for this collection, Nintendo must value Super Mario Sunshine at $41.81, which is crazy. In my opinion the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection should have cost $59.99 at the most.
Thanks for the review Jon! Super Mario 3D All Stars is a collection of 3 amazing games, even if the collection itself isn’t that amazing.
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