Super Mario 3D All Stars NSWITCH [REVIEW]

I pointed this out in a previous post, and i have to yet again: the fact this was not only released with limited printing for retail copies, but with an expiration date of 6 months even for the digital version (still priced 60 bucks). It’s insane, even more since the collection doesn’t include Super Mario Galaxy 2, i’m pretty sure it would have fit in a Switch cartridge, but for whatever stupid reason is not in the collection. Maybe to be sold as a separate remaster for full price as well, who knows.

Only Nintendo could pull shit like this and get away with it.

Yes, i got a physical copy of it. No, i didn’t pay extra, i just placed my pre-order fast. Fuck scalpers.

That said, let’s talk about what’s in this “3D All Stars” collection, as in the main 3D installments of the Mario series, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and the first Super Mario Galaxy. All running on some sort of emulation, apparently, not that i can tell or care, since they run fairly well, as you reasonably would expect. I didn’t encounter any issue, in my experience, but i did install the 1.01 patch available at launch, i don’t how much that factors in.

Before going any further, i have to preface i didn’t play any of the games to any kind of completition, but i did spend some time with each of them, So i might have missed some minor changes that happen in later stages of each game (i did hear they fixed the famous “backwards long jump glitch” speedrunners become quite acquainted with), but keep in mind i’m reviewing the collection more than the games.

The games themselves don’t need much introduction, and they have been simply “ported” to Switch, with upgraded textures in higher resolution, overall better visual quality, but essentially unchanged in gameplay or mechanics, for better or for worst the experience is the same. While it has upgraded textures, Super Mario 64 isn’t the one to benefit most of the visual upscaling and stuff, since it still rocks the early polygonal look, from a time when 3D characters we’re made of bricks, and bushes where a 2D image rotating alongside the camera.

Yeah, it still windowed. ABSURD.

Considering it’s a 1996-7 release, yes, having models with smoother looking texture is nice, undeniably, but this would have needed a complete graphical overhaul, which clearly wasn’t the idea here, otherwise Nintendo would had made a remaster/remake of Super Mario 64. And it would have sold. Still, even if Mario’s first 3D outing has quite aged, it’s still good, it definitely aged better than a lot of early 3D platformers, even those that came out after.

And while it’s nice to play on a controller that’s not the N64’s, you could have done so already if you bought the Virtual Console release on the Wii. Or the Wii U. For 10 bucks. And really, the DS port/remake (which itself has been re-released as a Wii U Virtual Console title) could have been included, since it’s supposedly “All Stars”. Also, Nintendo, why the fuck is Super Mario 64 still not running in fullscreen? And you really could at least touched the camera controls to modern standards. Fuck’s sake.

It’s even more ridiculous because they did implement a 16:9 resolution for Super Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy in handheld mode, and fullscreen when docked for both.

Getting back to topic of “visual upgrades”, i do feel Sunshine is the Mario title that most benefits from a HD treatment, not only because it’s 18 years old, but due to its colorful art style, and i honestly feel Sunshine is really maligned just for the hell of it by now, regardless. Still love it, i loved it back on the Gamecube, even if some sections were a bit frustrating, but one thing that threw me a bit off is that they switched the FLUDD aiming from inverted to normal.

Not a major problem, at least i was able to adapt fairly quickly, but it’s more intuitive to have those kinda controls inverted, or it was at the time. At least give options to toggle between them, but it’s not in the collection, even after it’s day 1 patch. This could and should be easy to fix with another patch, but it’s just odd they inverted aiming controls in Sunshine of all games, at least for “old timers”.

On the subject of controls, i was intrigued to see how normal controls would feel in Super Mario Galaxy, designed to be play with the Wiimote and Nunchuck originally. The game offers you the Wii-style controls as well, using the left Joycon to control Mario and the right Joycon the same way as you would have done in the original release with the Wiimote, complete with the piroette mapped to shaking the Wiimote/right Joycon. Or the Y button, preferably.

In handheld mode you can play it without motion controls, with the touch screen used to replicate the pointer/Wiimote, and it works well enough, since the game relies on pointing/swiping to collect star shards, which can be used to stun enemies, feed the “Star Babies” (not that kind), and later to latch onto stars and such. It’s a fairly good compromise, since to make it playable with just a standard controller they would have needed to change or remake the game entirely.

So while the collection as a whole is compatible with the Switch Pro Controller… Super Mario Galaxy itself isn’t. I have a wired Pro-Controller, but it just doesn’t work because the pointing is required. Oddly enough, you can play it docked and use the “slip pad controller” in the Switch’s base offering and it works… but you’ll also need to move the controller itself to move the pointer on screen, so it’s not recommended. Though this means it retains the 2-players co-op mode, which uses the 2 standard Joy-Cons as Wiimote substitutes.

As far as extra content goes, there are the complete soundtracks of the 3 games available from the main menu… and that’s it. There is an universal sub-menu with some options (like switching to the co-op mode in Galaxy), the controls layout and move lists, etc. All the games are localized in the languages of previous official worlwide releases, so Super Mario 64 still isn’t translated in Italian or any other european language besides the ones it launched with in 1997, nor is the chinese localization seen in the iQue’s release included in this package.

Overall, Super Mario 3D All Stars delivers in what it promises, a collection of the main 3D Mario platformers from 3 generations of Nintendo home consoles, with upgraded textures, optimized performance and overall enhanced visuals, a given since even Sunshine is almost 20 years old, i played it on Gamecube a lot when it came out in 2002, and it did look good, but not as good.

In a very Nintendo way, some of the changes are not a deal breaker, but odd, like Sunshine not using the inverted aiming controls for spraying water, quite a common standard at the time, or some of the changes you could reasonably expect… are missing, like Super Mario 64 is still NOT in fullscreen, and the camera controls for it aren’t modernized, even if it would have been a seemless quality of life improvement and not impacted the experience – or the “memories”- in a bad way.

Like experience and marketing tell you, this is a collection that prioretizes fidelity and preservation above all else, more aimed at fans of the series than already played the original releases and want to play them on their Switch as well, instead of dusting off (or trying to retrieve from attics and/or basement) the old consoles, cartridge and discs. Regardless, it’s a good selection, obvious but the games themselves are still quite good, and are classics in their own right. Even if you don’t like (or hate on principle because internet articles told you so) Super Mario Sunshine.

Which is still janky, i loved Sunshine at the time, still do, but i can’t deny its jankiness.

Shame that there are no real extras besides the complete soundtracks for each game, dang good OSTs in their own right, but i would have taken Super Mario Galaxy 2 instead. I really would.

And yes, 60 bucks is a bit extra, given there are only 3 games (good to great, but still 3 games) in this collection, and 2 of those have already been re-released, if not re-re-re-leased for less. The fact you know will have to either luck out with a retailer or get the digital version (still absurdly full priced) because Nintendo will stop selling even that in march 2021…. is BULLSHIT.

It’s a better offering to people that haven’t played the games already, it’s not bad but it’s hard to recommend it if you already own each game on their original hardware, as Nintendo didn’t really made any effort to truly entice that crowd. And the fact they don’t run natively on the hardware but are emulated in some way (i really don’t know, not my field in any way)…… YEAH, doesn’t help at all. 

Why bother, when they can make it a desirable, rare and pricey collectable item (that is already being sold for inflated prices on Ebay) by blatlantly manifacturing its scarcity?

Wait for a eShop sale, don’t give money to scalpers, regardless.



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