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Game review: Super Mario 3D All-Stars

02 Oct 2020

Super Mario 3D All-Stars was probably the best surprise of 2020. From announcement to launch we had the game in our hands so quickly! As someone who grew up playing these games, I was excited to dive back in. 

Super Mario 3D All-Stars packages together three amazing 3D Mario adventures from over the decades. It has Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. 

Super Mario 64

This is the first-ever 3D Mario game. It was released over 24 years ago for Nintendo 64. The game was revolutionary for its time. We all enjoyed being able to move Mario somewhat freely in a three-dimensional way. In the past 24 years, I have replayed this game many times - sometimes on very poorly coded emulators - so I was very happy to have an official and polished Nintendo version on the Switch. 

The game originally ran in 240p (wow, we have come so far) and Nintendo impressively upscaled it 720p. This makes the game look smooth and better polished. With the visuals aside, that is where the fun stops for me. 

I did not spend much time in Super Mario 64 as I have played this game to death. And sadly, it did not age that well. The controls are a bit annoying compared to what we have these days. 

I was not that invested after I got over the nostalgia factor. However, I am excited to one day meet a person who has never played Super Mario 64, so I can sit them down and make them play this version.

Super Mario Sunshine

Sunshine was hands down my favourite part of this package (Controversial I know!) Everyone loves Super Mario Galaxy, and they have every right to, but there is something special about Super Mario Sunshine

For starters, it has the best story and world-building out of the three. It takes place on the Isle of Delphino, which is an island that looks like a dolphin. I find that very cute! Mario’s companion in this game is also a water pump, which adds fun game mechanics.

Nintendo did a brilliant job with the upscaling and polishing of this game. Not only did they upscale to 1080p, but they also changed the aspect ratio from 4:3 to widescreen. This made for a much better experience as it gave a better look at the beautiful island. The game plays so smoothly and it holds up well. All the different water areas are also a bonus, as they add something different to all other Mario Games. 

Super Mario Galaxy

Galaxy is definitely the best looking and most polished game of the three. It holds up the best to today’s standards. It runs at 1080p with 60 frames per second. Once you play Galaxy and the go back to the other two games, you can see the massive difference. 64 and Sunshine feel like retro games while Galaxy doesn’t. 
 
Before playing it on Switch, I was not sure how well Nintendo will handle the fact that the mechanics relied heavily on the fact that the Wii had pointed controls. But they did a good job!

When playing in docked mode, you use the motion sensors on the Joy Cons or Pro Controller to move the cursor. When playing in hand-held mode, you just touch the screen. This did cause two different minor problems. The first problem is that this game can’t be played with third-party controllers that do not have motion sensors. 

The second problem is that when playing with handheld mode, you would need to move your hands off the buttons to touch the screen and collect star fragments, which is not very practical. For me, that was not a huge problem as I just play it in docked mode with the Joy Cons. 

The game looks great and plays great and is one of the best Super Mario adventures. It has a very special feel to it as it takes place on these mini planets that feel like mini puzzles. Jumping over from one planet to the other is just so satisfying! 

Verdict

Whether you have played one, two or all of these games, this release is a must-have. Each game has so much to offer. They are perfect for casual play, you can just pick up, get your Mario fix and move on. It is also a great way to introduce the games to friends and family members who never had the chance to play them!