"3D All-Stars preserves gaming classics like in a complete package."
Super Mario Galaxy is superb
Feels authentic to the original releases
A ton of Mario gameplay for $ 60
More accessible than original hardware
Super Mario 64 feels its age
Some cumbersome control changes
As someone who had never played Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario Galaxy, I couldn't have been more excited when Nintendo announced Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a collection of the three titles for Nintendo Switch. When I finally played them, I understood how someone could revere a game like Super Mario 64 as something revolutionary in 1996.
Unfortunately, Nintendo decided to keep 64 and Sunshine as they were at the time, to the detriment of experiencing them today, where both titles would have been improved with better controls in more modern 3D Mario games. That being said, you could have told me that Super Mario Galaxy is a brand new game and I would have believed you what it is ultimately worth to acquire this collection.
A product of its time
One of the biggest questions after the Super Mario 3D All-Stars announcement was, "Where's Super Mario Galaxy 2?" For me, playing the collection answers that question; It's not so much about the games themselves, but how they are developed. The progress and differences between the three titles are dramatic. With the release of this game for the Italian plumber's 35th anniversary, 3D All-Stars feels like an intentional showcase of these improvements. Galaxy 2 would have watered down that intention as it is more of a fine-tuning of its direct predecessor's gameplay than a galactic leap forward for the series.
Provided by Nintendo
When I booted up to Super Mario 64, I was impressed by what the game did for a 24 year old title and how much DNA the latest 3D entry, Super Mario Odyssey, had kept. It's no wonder that Super Mario 64, with its hidden layers and non-linear structure, blew players away as I went back to childhood and thought of the content-based experiences that made up the bulk of gaming back then.
My amazement at the game was hampered by the outdated controls. His archaic camera, combined with the fact that Mario plays like a luscious slab of butter floating around the world, made for a sometimes insane experience. Lately the only games that made me want to slam my controller on the table in frustration have been the Dark Souls variety. I did not expect this impulse to be awakened in this game.
No wonder Super Mario 64 blew people away with its hidden layers and nonlinear structure.
Switching from 64 to Sunshine was like a shipwreck, but I found a buoyant and spacious piece of wood that carried me towards land on a distant horizon. What this game does with its mechanics over its predecessor is largely an improvement, in shocking places for a game that wasn't released until six years later. The camera is easier to maneuver and Mario feels like he is working on his shoes with more grip.
The focused tropical theme, which many gamers have mocked for repetitive level design over the years, has a mostly positive impact on the game, although there is occasional over-design that feels a bit aimless and is more of an example: " Look how complex we can level up now! “I found delight in the divisive FLUDD, which is at the center of gameplay, as it has enough of one unique hook and multitude of uses to warrant its implementation.
Provided by Nintendo
Super Mario Galaxy is the land on the far horizon where I washed up on land, and to my amazement, it's a lush and lush island that makes me in vain. While this may not be news to some, it has exceeded my already high expectations to find Galaxy not just my favorite 3D Mario to date, but one of my favorite games of all time.
The flaws of 64 and Sunshine are simply absent here, with razor-sharp level design, pinpoint gameplay, and amazingly unique gravity mechanics that effectively evolve as the game progresses. Where I meandered through parts of the first two titles, I moved through Galaxy as if I were orbiting the sun, gracefully tossed over the game and unable to break free from gravity. To me the inclusion alone is worth the $ 60 price tag, with 64 and Sunshine as a bonus, and I would easily spend another $ 60 on a Galaxy 2 port, and it seems the exclusion is a calculated step from Nintendo was.
Some things change, most stay the same
My love for Galaxy is easily marred by my chaotic feelings towards Sunshine and 64. While I was playing the 64 and GameCube titles, my partner said something about the effect, "They were the only games I had, so I learned to love them." Speaking to other gamers who grew up playing these games in their life, it seems that the feeling is for the most part a common one.
Fans who repeat these games and have seen them front to back over and over again will comfortably nestle into their nostalgia and make up for their shortcomings by knowing exactly how to effectively move through them. As mentioned above, the intent of the package is to keep the games unchanged. It doesn't remove the feeling that ruling out reworked mechanics was an incredibly missed opportunity to turn these games into something someone actually wants to play today.
I found Galaxy not only to be my favorite 3D Mario to date, but one of my all-time favorite games that exceeded my already high expectations.
64 is just the original game with a high definition gloss. The lack of widescreen that is offered to Port of Sunshine exacerbates the camera problems, as what is not seen outside of the player's field of view is what causes the most deaths. To make matters worse, textures sometimes appear right in front of the character, creating confusion about where to go or what to do until you're just inches away. Also, the game is missing some of the additions, including additional levels and collectibles that came with the Nintendo DS remake. It's as easy as remastering.
Left 3D All-Stars, right original
The 16: 9 aspect ratio in Sunshine works wonders for the game, and its HD makeover brings it visually much closer to Galaxy than 64. Unfortunately, one of the things that gave the FLUDD mechanic a bit of charm on the GameCube was the analog triggers on this one Systems. So the player can determine the water pressure of the device. Such functionality is not available on either Joy-Cons or the Switch Pro controller, which means that the FLUDD is set to either zero or 100% functionality.
The game bypasses this missing feature, as certain levels relied on this mechanic in GameCube, in that the ZR trigger allowed Mario to move while splashing even though he couldn't aim. The R-bumper then forces Mario to stand in place, but allows him to aim the FLUDD. As someone who has never played the game before, I'm not sure how drastically this is changing, although given the online reading of fans' interest in how the port handles this mechanic, it could be a disappointment to them .
Galaxy is the title that has required the least refresher. Its visual bump made it almost identical in quality to the 2017 Super Mario Odyssey. As a Wii title, motion controls were an integral part of that experience, and nothing about that port has changed. The accelerometer and gyroscope of the Switch Pro controller provide the functionality of the Wiimote's IR blaster. However, while I was playing it was obvious that it would have been optimal to actually have a device pointed at the screen. Tapping the R-bumper re-centers the star pointer, but it still feels less intuitive.
Provided by Nintendo
How is this motion functionality handled in handheld mode? Touch controls, which is by far the worst way to play the game. For those who don't know, the motion controls are designed to collect stars as you make your way through the level and shoot at enemies and interactive objects. Trying to do all of this with touch controls frequently while moving Mario with the thumb stick is not optimal and makes the TV experience of the game by far the preferred style of play.
The changes brought to 64 and Sunshine seem like the bare minimum of what could be done to bring them into the modern age. It is clear that these small changes were an attempt to petrify them in their original form, but that only makes their shortcomings more apparent. However, Galaxy is a near-perfect game, the age of which cannot be felt, as it was already ahead of its time and outperforms most new 3D platformer to this day.
For those whose favorite playlist includes the three titles in this collection, you will likely be over the moon to find you can play them all anytime on your TV or on the go. Those who missed these entries in game history will likely have a hard time adapting to their controls, but will find the wonder and joy of playing Super Mario Galaxy.
Is there a better alternative?
Super Mario Odyssey is another great 3D Mario with modern controls specially designed for the Switch. A port of Super Mario 3D World, originally released on Wii U to get rave reviews, will also hit the hybrid console in February 2021.
How long it will take?
A straightforward run of each game takes around a dozen hours of gameplay, but 100% completion, showing every secret level and collecting all of the hidden items, will likely double that, resulting in a package with easily over 60 hours of gameplay.
Should you buy it?
Yes. Super Mario 3D All-Stars are almost as must-have as Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8, if only for the strength of Super Mario Galaxy. On top of that, the game will only be available until March 31, 2021, and its value as a collector's item is quite high.