You’ll hear many people on the internet going on about how amazing 3D Mario games are. How they define a genre, how don’t slack in creativity and style and how Sunshine is far from the best one. You might want to play these games if you haven’t already but sometimes demand for consoles and physical copies of these games ramps up dramatically and it becomes slightly hard to get hold of them. Combined with these games not getting re released on modern platforms and you have some amazing games that people want to play but can’t easily do so. Enter Super Mario 3D All Stars, the cure for this slight problem. Super Mario 3D All Stars a collection featuring the first three 3D Mario games with some improvements to make them more convenient and improve some parts of the overall product. Those games being Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy (But no Galaxy 2) and all of them are presented in this collection celebrating 3D Mario games. So join me dear readers as talk about this collection of three of the finest games of all time and see if it’s worth the money.
Mario 64 is the first and oldest 3D Mario game of them all and surprisingly still holds up today. You’ll be running and jumping through 3D courses collecting stars and exploring Peach’s Castle. This is probably my favourite game in the collection because of how fun and free it is. I’m nearly finished the game and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. In terms of changes to the game itself the game is not running in the normal version as it’s using the Shindou version. This version of the game is an updated version that was released in Japan and added rumble support, new voice lines and a few bug fixes like the backwards long jump. In terms of improvements of to the game in the 3D all Stars version the game now runs in 720p instead of the 420p but the framerate is still 30fps. There is also upscaling on the HUD, text and parts of Mario’s face which is a nice touch. However the game still operates at the 4:3 aspect ratio when the rest of the games in the collection runs at 16:9 and fans have proved that putting the game in widescreen is more than possible and improving the framerate too for that matter. Other than that I’d say this is a great way to experience the genre defining classic.
Next up is Super Mario Sunshine and this is not my favourite game in the package. I like it’s creativity and F.L.U.D.D is an excellent addition to opening up tons of gameplay opportunities and platforming challenges. But it’s just too difficult at times and I don’t like it when games just decide to do that for no reason. The game has been updated to run at 1080p and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Controlling F.L.U.D.D has been changed due to the lack of analog triggers on any first party controllers and a lack of gamecube controller support. By holding ZR you can move around and shoot a while holding R locks you in place and allows you to aim F.L.U.D.D freely. Also actual aiming with the right stick has been re inverted from the original which had them inverted and you can’t change them back. personally it took me a while to get used to aiming with F.L.U.D.D but other than that I got used to it quickly. It might take you a while if you’ve got used the Gamecube controls but that’s the only downside to this version. Once again this is a fine way to play this game but it does not add anything to groundbreaking or anything that would have benefited the game for the better.
Finally we have Galaxy which is a game I haven’t had much experience with on the All Stars version but I have played a fair bit of it on the Wii. This game is truly magical and I like it. The levels are amazing, the soundtrack is brilliant and that space setting is unique for a Mario game. Once again the resolution has been increased to 1080p and the icons on the HUD have been upscaled as well. The pointer is controlled using the switch’s gyro or using the touch screen if you are in handheld mode. However if you are using the gyro on a pro controller the cursor has a habit of getting lost and then you have to go try and relocate it. You can play with detached Joy-Con which is most similar to a Wii remote and nunchuck to I’d advise playing the game this way. Speaking of Wii remotes you don’t have to shake the controller to spin or activate warp stars as you can just press Y. Once again a decent way to play this masterpiece but I would say play it on a Wii with an Wii remote for extra precision.
Other than the games Mario 3D All Stars has a music player that you can use to listen to the soundtracks from each game. You can even put your Switch into sleep mode and listen to it on the go if you want but I don’t know if anyone will use this feature seriously and more than once. That’s it in terms of extras and this is where Mario 3D All Stars falters the most, the lack of any extra content. There is no artwork gallery, merchandise gallery, filters for the games, developer interviews, challenges and there isn’t even a border for Mario 64. You could make the argument that the original Mario All Stars didn’t have any extras but that game was released in 1993 on the SNES, a system with not much memory capacity. Now the series is 35 and there is plenty to touch on even if it is just for the games in this collection. Even the menu lacks any Mario flare, it feels like it should be telling me about the Beatles and not Mario. Just look at the Mega Man Legacy collection, that game has more games with, filters, rewind and other than the actual games it has a museum with concept art, scanned in boxart and the original manuals for every single game and you’ve also got challenges and a music player to boot, that is a collection done right. I just can’t quite get behind how Nintendo thinks they can charge full price for a bare bones collection that has enhanced ports, No Mario Galaxy 2, has no options whatsoever and won’t be available to purchase in March next year.
To conclude Super Mario 3D All Stars is a great way to play these games and is nice to have on the Switch for convenience. However it lacks basic options, any extra content and any mention of Galaxy 2. If you have these games elsewhere and can play them and you are personally fine with how they run then this game is not a necessary pickup in my opinion. However if you want to play these games in HD or from the convenience of your Switch then this game is worth it. It just depends on who you are and if you can easily play these games. For me I think it was worth it for Mario 64 alone but I’m not sure many people are going to be dropping £50 just to play that. It’s a mixed bag but if you want to play these games then I’d buy it soon. Just keep in mind that by the time the end of March rolls around you’ll not be able to get it from the eshop and I doubt physical copies will go for reasonable prices. That is unless Nintendo actually does something about this bad decision.