(Available for Nintendo Switch only)
The long rumoured collection Mario’s first 3 3D games have finally arrived after months of people saying the collection doesn’t exist it has finally appeared to kick off the 35th anniversary of Mario. The collection contains Super Mario 64 which originally released on the Nintendo 64, Super Mario Sunshine which originally released on the GameCube and Super Mario Galaxy which originally released on the Wii.
The games are basically hybrids of being emulations and ports but with some slight control changes you are mostly playing original releases though they have received a slight texture upgrades to the graphics to be on the Switch. the collection also comes with full soundtracks for each game in the collection which you can listen to with the system in sleep mode. Now because this collection is pretty much identical to their original releases I’m not going to say too much about the individual games in the collection except that all these are still really good and I would recommend them and I’d say I’m even warming up to Sunshine despite some of it’s issues. instead I’ll be talking more about how the transition to the switch has effected the experience of playing these games and if I think the collection is worth it
- Graphics (Galaxy especially): all the games have actually cleaned up quite well, Mario 64 certainly looks better than other Nintendo 64 games that have been ported to the Switch like Turrok and Doom 64 and certainly doesn’t look as badly aged as I was expecting especially in handheld mode and certainly has a lot more care put into it’s look compared to Virtual Console releases on the Wii and Wii U, Sunshine is now full 1080p HD in widescreen and has surprisingly really good looking game. the game was always one of the real graphical standouts on the GameCube and this update works well on the Switch really showing off the level of colour and life that the game had. however the standout is Galaxy, this was already an outstanding looking game on the Wii and now in 1080p HD on the switch it actually stands up to modern releases. While the game doesn’t live up to Super Mario Odessey in the graphical department it certainly comes close and is really amazing updated for the modern era.
- soundtracks: these games all had really good soundtracks, even sunshine which arguably was the weakest of the 3 games< when it comes to their soundtracks and all still hold up and to have the ability to play all of them on the main menu and hear them while the game is in sleep mode is fantastic.
- Controls: the controls have all been updated very well. they all work with the Switch Pro Controller as well as the Joy cons and all have no real issues and in the case of 64 both are better than using a Nintendo 64 controller. The big change to sunshine has been that analogue controls for controlling F.L.U.D.D’s water pressure but it’s not difficult to get the hang of and doesn’t drastically affect the game. The game which needed the most control revisions was Galaxy to replicate the motion controls that were present on the Nintendo Wii. Galaxy didn’t require as much motion controls as a game like Wii sports and mainly relayed on the wii mote pointer function. To make up for this when playing the game docked it uses the gyroscopic functions of the joy cons or the pro controller and in handheld mode uses the touch screen functions similar to how The World Ends With You functions on the Switch but way better on both counts. Now I’m not a fan of the touch screen functionality but it kind of ok though I don’t recommend playing Galaxy with them. The other controls however work really well and make Galaxy the best controlling game on the collection. The joy cons really replicate the Wii mote well for the pointer and motion controls though the pro controller is even better and works very well with the gyro controls. You do have to readjust it every so often by pressing the R trigger but you’re certainly doing it way less than The World Ends With You Final Remix. The spin attack works well to by mapping it to the Y button which makes using it way more precise though you can shake the joy cons or pro controller for a more classic feel.
- Mario 64 isn’t in widescreen: I’m in 2 minds about Super Mario 64. I already mentioned that I think that Mario 64 looks better than the Turrok and Doom 64 Switch ports and part of that is that it doesn’t feel like the image has been stretched but at the same time you can see it playing in full screen on the title menu and it still looks great. I think it could’ve been possible to make this look good in widescreen but it still looks good as is and I’m not going to complain too much
- Mario 64’s camera: it functions fine but playing now in the modern era it has begun to show it’s age especially when its on the same compilation as Mario Sunshine and Galaxy which have much better implemented cameras. That being said you can’t entirely hold it against Mario 64 this was one of the first 3d platformers of it’s type and it would take time to figure out what makes camera’s for these kinds of games work but it was way ahead of the competition at the time. Trust me I was there.
- Less easy control options playing Galaxy on a Switch Lite: I mentioned in handheld mode with galaxy you have to play the game with the touch screen. Now it is possible to put the switch on a surface with the kick stand and remove the joy cons from the Switch and play the game with the gyro controls but the Switch Lite doesn’t have a kick stand or detachable joy cons so if you want to play like that with one of them it’s a right faff since you will have to prop it up somewhere and connect more joy cons or classic controllers. Obviously this only effects Lite owners but if you didn’t like having to use the touch screen for galaxy you won’t have much of a choice in the matter and shows up more of the shortcomings of the Lite compared to the regular Switch
- Not too many extras: The Soundtracks are great and having the ability to play them all in sleep mode is great but there really should’ve been more. Especially since I have access to most of these songs in Smash Bros Ultimate. Why does the game not have more like interviews, historical timelines, concept artwork etc. it seems Nintendo is still cagey about keeping that to themselves and I really don’t understand why. This is meant to be a celebration of 35 years of Mario and it really doesn’t have the presentation of that.
- No GameCube controller support for Sunshine: the Smash Bros team went to lengths to add support to use GameCube controllers to Smash Ultimate and it seems weird that the team behind this game wouldn’t add it to Sunshine to really add to the nostalgia. You can use a GameCube controller with the adapter, but the Switch will act like you’re using a pro controller and will not replicate the analogue controls the original game gave you. Yes it’s a minor complaint but it’s a complaint none the less
- Still maintains many issues I have with the games (Sunshine especially): these games are identical to their original releases which is great in many parts but of course it retains much of their problems. In the case of Sunshine it is still the worst if you’re going for 100% completion. The blue coins are still a real pain to get especially the hidden ones, some of the environments were not designed around Mario’s control scheme that was implement for this game especially if you went from 64 to Sunshine, some of the levels are infuriating (looking at you Pachinko Machine Level), and you get a rubbish reward for 100% completing the game compared to the rewards for 100% completing 64 and Galaxy. Nintendo had an opportunity to fix a lot of faults but because these were emulation/port hybrids they didn’t have the opportunity to do so which means that they haven’t been.
Despite some minor complaints this collection is completely worth it. to have these 3 amazing games in one collection is amazing and I’ve had a ton of fun revisiting these games. 64 is still really great, sunshine is better than I remember and I have a new appreciation for Galaxy. While Super Mario Odyssey is still my favourite Mario game playing Galaxy again on the Switch has really made me have a new appreciation for what a technical achievement it is. I didn’t put Galaxy 2’s absence in the cons section since I’m personally not the biggest fan of that game and wasn’t too upset by its absence in the collection though I acknowledge it’s a notable absence for many people. You really should get this collection though since all these games really hold up as some of the greatest platformers and this is one of the best ways to play them though I wish Nintendo had put slightly more effort into making this feel like a 35th anniversary celebration.
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