Super Mario 3D All-Stars: Masterpieces of another time

Nintendo /

The games in Super Mario 3D All-Stars may have been masterpieces of their time but are subpar by today’s gaming standards.

Title: Super Mario 3D All-Stars
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: September 18

Recently I talked about the Super Mario 3D All-Stars release from a parent’s perspective but how is the game itself? Do these classics successfully make the leap to a modern generation on Nintendo Switch? Let’s get into it.

Nintendo has done a lot of work in the past to celebrate its history starting with Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES. That game not only featured Super Mario Bros. 1 – 3 but also added in the Japanese Mario 2 known as “The Lost Levels” in the States.

With this compilation Nintendo didn’t just feature four great games, they completely redrew the sprite art and added multi scrolling backgrounds. Super Mario 3 All-Stars is so pretty I have a hard time playing the original because I am now spoiled.

With this new Super Mario 3D All-Stars for Nintendo Switch, I think it’s a very different story. Rumors about this game have existed almost as long as the Switch itself and I think Nintendo just gave into it to shut people up. There’s no real love here. It’s a very basic menu that takes you into slightly cleaned-up versions of the three games.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars - Super Mario 64 - Super Mario Collection
Nintendo /

Of course, Nintendo has done the thing Nintendo does whenever they want people to think they care; they added the option to listen to the soundtrack which is a nice feature for anyone without YouTube access. But beyond that, nothing has really been added, changed or modernized.

Find a MegaMan collection and you’ll find a virtual museum, multiple graphical settings, difficulty sliders and a wealth of other features. But apparently Nintendo can’t hang like that because some of these games, without modern features, are rough.

Each game in Super Mario 3D All-Stars has a relic feature that makes the game a bit harder than you might remember, especially if you haven’t played these since their original release.

Super Mario 64 is cleaned in bizarre areas. While Mario is still blocky, he has these unnervingly hi-rez perfectly circular cross-eyes that just stare into the middle distance. And the camera has been reversed but is still terrible by modern game standards. When my kids gave it a try they found themselves constantly running towards the camera completely blinded to what came next. I ran into the exact same problem when it was my turn.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars - Super Mario Sunshine
Nintendo /

Super Mario Sunshine could have featured a massive glow-up. Hi-rez those building textures in the main town. But instead, the city detailing is just as muddied as if you were playing the original Gamecube release. The cameras are better but if the game would have used modern third-person controls for FLUDD instead of the dated “stand still to shoot up and down” mechanics it would have been an incredible improvement.

Super Mario Galaxy should have been the easier and, in most cases, it’s still a wonderful game filled with innovative ideas and enemies. But it also requires you to use the old Wii-mote controls. It’s not the worst thing in the world (or Galaxy, to do the obvious pun) but when you forget that it has motion controls and sneezing makes Mario spin (his spin attack takes a moment to recharge) right before you’re hitting enemies, it becomes a bit obnoxious

Super Mario 3D All-Stars - Super Mario Galaxy
Nintendo /

All in all, the collection could have been so much more. Super Mario 64 could have featured updated camera controls and some nice extras, especially since they originally made a remake for the DS that had so many extra features. You could literally play as four different characters including unsung hero Wario. Super Mario Sunshine could have benefitted by hi-rez textures and modernized controls. Galaxy is pretty cool but having the ability to play as Luigi out of the gate would have been really fun for all of us that don’t have the time to get all the stars all over again.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is fun and it’s nice having these three classics at my fingertips but there’s really not much special about it like in past Nintendo showcases. This reminds me more of those DVDs parents can get that have like four random episodes of a show, just slapped together with a basic menu.

Nintendo. . Super Mario 3D All-Stars. 7. There’s no denying that <em>Super Mario 64</em>, <em>Sunshine</em> and <em>Galaxy</em> are all masterpieces of their time. But without modern trimmings, this is a series that will only fully be appreciated by incredibly hardcore fans. Newcomers to these games may find themselves quickly turned off by the limitations of older software and controls. So while fun, the lack of effort put into Super Mario 3D All-Stars is very disappointing.