By Raymond Nava
“Super Mario 3D All-Stars” is a fantastic Switch port of three 3D Mario classics from the past 20 years with a few issues here and there.
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Mario franchise, Nintendo released a compilation of three past Mario games on Sept. 18.
The games included in All-Stars are “Super Mario 64”, originally released on the Nintendo 64, “Super Mario Sunshine”, originally released on the GameCube, and “Super Mario Galaxy”, originally released on the Wii. All-Stars though is a limited release and will only be available to purchase until March 31.
Super Mario 64 is the first 3D Mario game in the franchise, instead of being a 2D platformer like previous installments which follow Mario in many platforming stages collecting stars inside Peach’s castle.
Super Mario Sunshine follows Mario on his vacation to a tropical island where he’s mistaken for a criminal and is tasked with collecting all of the island’s guardians, the Shine Sprites.
Super Mario Galaxy follows Mario across the galaxy with space based game mechanics while taking advantage of the Wii’s motion controls.
All three Mario games have been ported to the Nintendo Switch in high definition, which makes the games graphically more appealing. This especially is apparent in Super Mario Sunshine where the game’s sunny island setting looks gorgeous in high definition. The game of the three that doesn’t really have a noticeable difference is Super Mario 64 due to the game’s blocky graphics. Super Mario Galaxy also looks fantastic in it’s new high definition resolution.
All of the game’s controls have been optimized for the Nintendo Switch. While 64’s control scheme is relatively unchanged, Galaxy and Sunshine do have some differences from their previous console’s versions.
Super Mario Galaxy was originally released on the Wii, which used motion controls. The Wii nunchuck controlled a pointer the player could move on screen to collect collectables.
The Switch Joy-Con mimics this well. However, when playing in handheld mode, the player can use the Switch’s touch screen to get the collectables. This is a smart decision as users who only have the Switch Lite aren’t limited in playing the game.
The mechanics are also not a major part of the overall game, so using the touch screen is not much of a problem. The motion controls used by the nunchuck have been mapped to the Joy-Con buttons, such as Mario’s spin which was originally made by shaking the nunchuck.
Sunshine’s controls for the switch take some time to get used to but feel strong for the most part. One thing that is disappointing is that the GameCube controller adapter for the Switch is not compatible.
The controller lacks the ability to let the player ground pound in the game, a move that’s needed for many levels.
The games are ported very well, but there are some problems, particularly with Sunshine, because the game has been ported to higher definition.
Some things in the game stand out that were previously hidden thanks to the lower quality at the time the original was released. One example of this is in some of the primary platform levels. The game’s debug boxes can be seen in some parts, which is a little sloppy. So far though there haven’t been big glaring problems and there aren’t any apparent ones in 64 and Galaxy either.
All three games are also ported from their original state. Aside from tweaks to the controls, Nintendo did not add any new content to the games. This is a little frustrating as some quality of life additions would have been appreciated such as adding the ability to skip cutscenes in Sunshine, which are still unskippable. The camera controls in 64 are also still a pain to deal with and can get frustrating at times, but this is more of a sign of the times the game came out in.
The decision to make this compilation pack a limited release is a bad one. On one hand, it’s understandable that making it limited gives it some sort of specialness aligning with its 35th anniversary.
But making it a limited release hurts gamers, especially ones who don’t have enough money to buy a Switch right now. People could buy the game in advance but it’s still a bad move from Nintendo.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is currently available for $60. All three games individually would have cost $60 and it would have been very tempting for Nintendo to release each individually at that price. At that deal, All-Stars is a solid recommendation.