SUPER MARIO 3D ALL-STARS: REVIEW

Nintendo celebrates 35 years of Mario this month with the release of Super Mario Bros. on the Famicom in September 1985. The mustachioed plumber has appeared in games before - first in the Donkey Kong arcade in 1981 (where he was a carpenter), and then in the platformer Mario Bros. 1983 year. But the real start of his "career" is considered to be Super Mario Bros. with its insane sales and cult status. The most important 2D Mario games are available on Nintendo Switch with a subscription, and now console owners can experience classic 3D games from the series thanks to the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection.


Strange conditions


We have been waiting for the announcement of this collection for several months - it became known about its existence back in March. Although many were happy about the long-awaited confirmation, the presentation of the remasters was not without bad news. Firstly, the collection did not include Super Mario Galaxy 2, which was rightfully considered the best three-dimensional Mario game before the release of Super Mario Odyssey. It is possible that Nintendo plans to release its re-release separately (and ask for another $ 60 for it, no one will be surprised) or the game will forever remain on the Wii, which will be very strange.

Secondly, the collection will cease to be sold even in digital form after March 31, 2021. Obviously, the physical edition of the collection will become a rarity, so the most agile users have already managed to pre-order and sell it for fabulous sums, which collectors will have to part with, willy-nilly. Disney once did this with its Cartoon Vault and a thriving market for used videotapes and discs because of it, but this stopped last year. Now it was Nintendo's turn.
SUPER MARIO 3D ALL-STARS: REVIEW

It is clear why this was done - all the cartridges will be instantly sold out, the digital versions will be bestsellers, and you can even skip the Black Friday discount. If you don't want to buy at full price, you will never get the collection. The sediment, as in an old joke, remains - such tricks on a console that does not support backward compatibility seem superfluous. In any case, this collection would be actively bought - among the Switch owners there are a lot of those who have not played Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, and their users who have passed them for a long time would probably have purchased remasters in anticipation of the next part.

Like good wine


It is a pity that in a few months the new audience will not be able to get acquainted with these games, because all of them have survived perfectly. Even during the passage of Super Mario 64, released in 1997, you very quickly forget about its not the most convenient camera and other shortcomings - the platformer at that time was so ambitious that even today it is capable of surprising with a variety of situations, a lot of secrets and a ton of content. Many of the gameplay features introduced in the first game have migrated to the rest of the series (including level structure and controls).

In Super Mario 64, a plumber enters a castle and explores unique worlds by jumping into paintings on the walls. Either he finds himself in a desert with quicksand, then he swims inside a sunken ship, then he helps the penguin to find her cub and rolls along the ice slides - so many perfectly realized ideas, even in modern platforming games, are rarely found. When you find a star in one of the worlds, on the next visit, new opportunities appear, and prizes are also given for the coins collected - exploring the locations is very exciting.

I confess, when the first rumors about the re-release of this part appeared, I expected to see a full-fledged remake with updated graphics. It turned out that Nintendo had no such plans - this is a regular re-release in which the resolution has not even been updated, which is why the game is played with black stripes on the sides. The drawing range has remained the same, the models are the same angular, and in front of the castle there are absolutely identical trees. But the game looks cleaner than the original - some textures, including those on Mario and coins, were either redrawn, or otherwise improved.
SUPER MARIO 3D ALL-STARS: REVIEW

Did Super Mario 64 need a full Crash Bandicoot remake? Probably not. In its original form, it inspired a huge number of developers and greatly influenced the entire industry - even the slightest change in mechanics (like the physics of jumping in the same "Crash") would make it a completely different game than before. So in this case, I personally would be interested in going through the original, and not a remake with modern graphics. By and large, I only have a complaint about the frame rate (here, unfortunately, only 30 fps) and resolution - the craftsmen who ported the game to PC were able to increase them, but Nintendo did not.

There were probably reasons for that, as Super Mario Sunshine increased the resolution. It's still as vibrant and positive a game as it was on the GameCube. It looks great, but retains the flaws of the original. Sunshine was created in just a year and a half, and it is sometimes striking - not all levels are equally good, Mario has forgotten how to make a long jump, and collectibles are sometimes presented as absurd and illogical actions.

However, the game is still good, even if it is considered the worst 3D part about Mario - this is not so much due to its poor quality as to the bar raised by other Nintendo platformers. Sometimes it seems ridiculous (the characters are terribly voiced, but they can talk for a long time), the camera sometimes behaves inadequately (especially in narrow spaces) - in the remaster the mechanics have not changed at all. But it is very pleasant to control Mario, especially when you use his kind of jetpack working on water.

The brightest star in the galaxy


But the highlight of this collection is Super Mario Galaxy. For me, its passage on Switch was the first acquaintance with the game, which in 2007 was praised by the entire foreign press. And after 13 years, I am ready to share this enthusiasm with everyone who gave her the highest scores. An amazing platformer - even if it first came out in 2020, it would have collected the same marks and won the love of the people, and at the end of the year it would have fought for the title of the best game at The Game Awards.

SUPER MARIO 3D ALL-STARS: REVIEW

Time hasn't aged the Galaxy in any way - at 1080p and at 60 frames per second, it looks amazing. A variety of puzzles, intricate platforming in places, a perfectly thought-out system of progress - even if you crack, it is very difficult to find flaws in it. Time flies behind her, I want to collect everything, visit all the locations, find all the secrets - and no "achievements" are needed.

In stationary mode, you need to use the left Joy-Con to control the character, and the right one to control the cursor (swing it in the air). Using the cursor in the Galaxy, you collect "shiny things" scattered across the locations, which serve as currency here, and also solve some riddles. Using the R button, the cursor returns to the center of the screen; to fly out of the stars with a bomb, you need to shake the Joy-Con.

Owners of Pro-controllers can exhale - with its help, they also allow moving the cursor. But if you, like me, bought a cheap wired gamepad from Hori for stationary mode, then you won't even be able to start the game with it due to the lack of gyroscope support.

It's a little more complicated in "portable". If you unhook the controllers from the console and put or put the Switch somewhere, then the control will be the same as on the TV. But if you attach the "joycons", there will be nothing to swing and you will have to move the cursor by clicking on the screen. It's hard to imagine what other option the developers could offer, but playing this way is not very convenient - after all, the Galaxy was created for the Nintendo Wii and used the features of the console and controller.

SUPER MARIO 3D ALL-STARS: REVIEW

As a result, whoever passes the Super Mario 3D All-Stars verdict finds themselves in an embarrassing position. On the one hand, this is a collection of legendary games (Sunshine can be described as a stretch, but still), and surely there are a lot of readers among the readers who, due to various circumstances, have never played them. In these platformers, you can spend under a hundred hours in total, cleaning every location and finding every secret. Super Mario Galaxy is especially beautiful, but the other two games are also good.

On the other hand, the assessment should be given not just to a collection, but to a collection of remasters. And in this regard, the work has been minimal. In Super Mario 64, textures were slightly improved, but the 4: 3 resolution was not touched. In Super Mario Sunshine, the resolution was increased, but the game itself needs at least a couple of innovations - for example, a blue coin counter would be useful. Plus, both games run at 30 fps. Plus, the collection costs $ 60, which is a bit expensive considering the minimal innovations. Plus, due to the limited edition, an artificial shortage is created. In general, if the games can easily be called amazing, then the collection itself is not as highly rated.

Pros: Three great platforming games - one has changed the industry forever, the second is just very good, and the third is amazing even in 2020; Improved textures in Super Mario 64 make the ancient game prettier; increased screen resolution in Super Mario Sunshine; Convenient control of the "joycon" in Super Mario Galaxy.

Cons: Super Mario 64 plays in 4: 3 resolution at 30 fps; the complete absence of at least minimal gameplay improvements or changes that would be useful in Sunshine; high price and the need to rush to buy.

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