Game Review: Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Nintendo Switch)

Way back in 1993, Nintendo released a beloved compilation called Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES. It contained remakes of four Super Mario games: 1985’S Super Mario Bros. 1986’s Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, 1988’s Super Mario Bros. 2 and 1988’s Super Mario Bros. 3. The remakes adapted the games’ original premises and level designs for the SNES with updated graphics and music.

2020 sees the Super Mario franchise reach 35 years old and to commemorate that milestone, Nintendo have reached into their back-catalogue and published a new All-Stars collection.

Called Super Mario 3D All-Stars, it contains HD ports of 1996’s Super Mario 64, originally released on the N64. 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine, originally released on the GameCube and 2007’s Super Mario Galaxy, originally released on the Wii.

That’s a lot of classic 3D Mario bang for your buck and for the most part, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a great buy for a Switch owner. However, it’s not necessarily a ‘must-buy’. Starting with the obvious… it feels like it should have been so much more. We can bemoan the questionable exclusion of Super Mario Galaxy 2 but the real problem with this compilation is that it barely feels like a remaster.

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Yes, the games look better and in the case of Super Mario Sunshine, the 16:9 push makes it a more enjoyable experience. However, it’s hard to shake of the feeling that these are little more than just tarted up ports. Just look at Super Mario Galaxy as good example of that, where the Wii’s motion controls have been awkwardly and frustratingly embedded into the Switch controls.

Regardless of that though, this is 2 of the best Mario games ever made and Super Mario Sunshine. Jumping back into Super Mario 64, some 20+ years after I first played it, felt as exciting as it did back then. It is without a shadow of a doubt one of the finest games ever made and playing it on the Switch both at home and in handheld mode is the stuff gaming dreams are made of.

Nintendo knows this, which is why Super Mario Odyssey is arguably Super Mario 64 – 2.

Super Mario Sunshine though… it has as many defenders as it does detractors. Personally, I like it. I like it a lot but its faults are clear to see and replaying it here hasn’t changed that. With the Switch lacking the trigger buttons the GameCube controller had, Nintendo have had a little redesign of how Mario uses FLUDD. It takes a bit to get used to it but once you do, it’s actually far more fluid and enjoyable.

Lastly, the game that made this collection special personally, Super Mario Galaxy. A must buy because I have never played it before. Having got off the Nintendo train with the arrival of the Wii (I hated the obsession with motion controls), this and many other games passed me by. Hearing from many that it is one of, if not the best Mario games ever released. I finally got to experience its starry and gravity defying wonder. It’s just a shame Nintendo didn’t outright redesign the control scheme for the Switch rather then trying to jam in the Wii’s motion control elements. Something that was at the heart of Super Mario Galaxy and makes for an awkward play, more so if playing in handheld mode.

Which brings me back to the original and over-riding complaint. Not enough was done here to really make Super Mario 3D All-Stars a must-buy. The extras? The three game’s soundtracks playable from the main menu. That’s it.

For a celebration of 35 years of the Super Mario franchise it is head-scratchingly bare but seemingly par for the course with Nintendo.




Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Nintendo Switch)
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