Three 3D Mario games are available for the Nintendo Switch

By JAMES WHELAN
On September 28, 2020

Photo courtesy of Aren'tYouAlex-Spencer?, Flickr

“Super Mario 3D All-Stars” is a collection of three, 3D Mario video games upgraded for the Nintendo Switch. These games include the classic “Super Mario 64,” the tropical “Super Mario Sunshine,” and the out of this world “Super Mario Galaxy.” The release of the collection is in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the “Super Mario Bros.” franchise. 

The nature of this release is unique among other Nintendo Switch games. The game was announced on Sept. 3, 2020 during a Nintendo Direct live stream. In a quick turnaround, the game was released only two weeks later on Sept. 18, 2020. During this live stream, Nintendo announced that the game would only be available for purchase through March 31, 2021-- which is coincidentally the last day of Nintendo’s fiscal year for 2020. Physical copies of the game are also only receiving a limited release. After March 31, the game will be delisted from the Nintendo eShop.

While the core gameplay of all three games is the same as their former releases, each has received graphical upgrades, updated controls and textures, and bug fixes. “Super Mario 64” is now playable in 960 x 720p in both docked and handheld mode.

“Super Mario Sunshine” and “Super Mario Galaxy” are now playable in 1920 x 1080p in docked mode, and 1280 x 720p in handheld mode. “Sunshine” has an expanded aspect ratio of 16:9, now being playable in full screen. “Galaxy” also features options for motion controls.

With these graphical upgrades, “Sunshine” and “Galaxy” look better than they ever have before, with their bright aesthetics reaching their full potential in a high definition format. “Super Mario 64” looks as good as a Nintendo 64 game can look in 2020. 

Despite these features, the upgrades to each game are inconsistent. For example, “Super Mario 64” and “Galaxy” received texture updates, where in-game button prompts reflect that of the Nintendo Switch controller. “Sunshine” did not receive these texture upgrades or the ones which use textures from the Nintendo Gamecube for button prompts. Unlike “Sunshine,” “Super Mario 64” did not receive an aspect ratio upgrade, stuck in a 4:3 aspect ratio. It feels lazy that not all the games in the collection received the same upgrades as one another. 

In addition to the three remasters, the game also features all the original soundtracks. Each album is selectable from the main menu. The music player of each album allows you to turn the switch screen off to save battery. The soundtracks are a neat inclusion but sadly fall flat due to the music player’s limited nature. When selecting a song, you cannot pause a song, only stop and restart it. There is also no progress bar to see how much time remains in the song. 

While it feels like corners were cut in this collection via an outdated music player and inconsistent upgrades, I’m glad to revisit these classic 3D Mario games in high definition. Through the portable convenience of the Nintendo Switch, I can get a healthy dose of 3D Mario nostalgia anytime and anywhere.

If you haven’t played any of these landmark games, I would recommend picking up this collection. Due to the limited release of the game, I would pick it up as soon as possible if you plan on buying it for yourself or as a gift this holiday season. 

“Super Mario 3D All-Stars” retails for $59.99 in the United States and can be purchased at most major retailers, while supplies last. Will you be picking up this collection in celebration of Mario’s 35th anniversary?

 

jwhelan1@ramapo.edu

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