I love Mario's 3D platformers and I'm sure you do, too, so let's explore what the new compilation Super Mario 3D All-Stars has to offer.
When Super Mario All-Stars debuted for Super NES, it knocked my socks off as I loved playing the original NES trilogy and playing them again with updated visuals as well as experiencing Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels for the first time was an absolute treat. Fast-forward to current day and we have a similar compilation in the form of Super Mario 3D All-Stars which includes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Each one of these games is exceptionally unique and they really show how creative Nintendo has remained throughout their long history developing Super Mario games. Whereas most developers merely make sequels that expand upon the franchise's core gameplay, Nintendo has crafted some truly innovative takes on the Mario formula and these 3 games illustrate that.
For starters, there's Super Mario 64. When it first released, there weren't many 3D platformers so it definitely helped define the genre in many ways. Not only is running and jumping around the playground-style stages a ton of fun, there's also an impressive amount of variety throughout whether you're sliding down tricky suspended paths, swimming through pools of water, or fighting distinct bosses. Super Mario Sunshine took this gameplay, refined it, and added a whole new central mechanic in the form of the F.L.U.D.D. which is a device that allows Mario to spray water and hover for short periods of time. It's the black sheep of the Mario series but I absolutely love it.
Last but certainly not least, Super Mario Galaxy is set within stages that expand various lands in space with each having their own centre of gravity. Needless to say, running upside-down as you leap between planets, point the controller at the screen to shoot enemies, and fly around in an adorable bee costume really took the franchise in a highly enjoyable yet unexpected and exciting new direction.Super Mario Galaxy vs. Super Mario Odyssey
Now that we're all familiar with the games, let's get to the nitty gritty details. First of all, all 3 games feature sharp visuals and they perform smoothly which is excellent. That being said, Super Mario 64's graphics definitely haven't held up as well as the other 2 games have so I wish that they were remade. This is especially true when you see coins pop in abruptly right in front of your face that weren't there a second ago. It would also be great to have a smooth-controlling camera as the annoying camera controls and sound effects make Super Mario 64 feel very dated. Perhaps one day we'll get a full Super Mario 64 remake aside from the delightful one for DS.
On the plus side, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy have held up beautifully, especially the latter. Keep in mind, Super Mario Galaxy was designed to take full advantage of the Wii's motion controls so the fact that they translated its controls as well as they have here is commendable. You can aim the cursor with your controller when you're playing docked and whenever you want to play portably, you can simply tap the screen. I'd even go so far to say that this is the definitive way to enjoy Super Mario Galaxy.
On top of the included games and the fact that they mostly play great, you also get each game's soundtrack which are accessible from the main menu. That's right; there are 175 tracks that add up to over 4 hours of music so you'll gladly turn your Switch into an old-school Walkman whenever you want to listen to some classic Mario tunes while on the run. Another nifty inclusion is that you can play each game in different languages so if you're more comfortable with Spanish, Italian, or French then you'll be happy with the option. With all of that being said, I'm disappointed that Super Mario Galaxy 2 isn't included because the original Super Mario All-Stars featured 4 games and I wish that this did as well. After all, Galaxy 2 is one of the best Mario games ever created and definitely collection-worthy.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is brimming with charm and fun. It's surprising that these games released so long ago because they have held up beautifully and thoroughly prove Nintendo's brilliant level of creativity over the years. Here's hoping for many more games to come!
- + Contains 3 top-notch classic Mario 3D platformers with clean and sharp visuals
- + Includes the soundtracks for each game
- + Super Mario Galaxy's controls are spot-on
- - Super Mario 64 could use more modernizations and graphical fixes
- - Where's Super Mario Galaxy 2?