Super Mario 3D All Stars (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Luke Hemming 16.09.2020

Review for Super Mario 3D All Stars on Nintendo Switch

Why are you looking at this? Go and play Super Mario 3D All-Stars now! Oh, still here? Fine. Nintendo has done the utterly expected and pulled at the nostalgia strings of all generations to bring a triple threat of titles to Nintendo Switch and make its rectangle of delight almost irresistible. The question now is whether all these previous releases hold up (of course they do) and whether it's worth opening the purse strings to double-dip - or even triple-dip, in some cases - and purchase them all again? Spoiler alert: It totally is worth it, in every regard.

From the outset, it's clear the amount of love that has been squeezed into making Super Mario 3D All-Stars a collection that is pretty much a must-buy. It would have been so simple for Nintendo to simply port Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy over, safe in the knowledge the hat and moustache combo can draw a sale in any situation, but it's clear from the opening FMV greeting players that no expense has been spared making this something really special. Eras of 3D titles flash across the screen, giving glimpses of what treats are packed-in, ready to be sampled. Menus are bright and filled with titbits that any information-hungry fan is going to lap up and appreciate every time they start up one of the three titles included.

A lovely addition that nobody would hold against Nintendo leaving out of the package is the addition of each soundtrack. It could have been so easy to allow gamers to experience these fantastic scores from inside their respective titles, yet including them separately has meant that in the hours played for this review, almost just as much time has been spent with eyes shut, lying back, and relishing some real orchestrated classics.

Screenshot for Super Mario 3D All Stars on Nintendo Switch

When you do finally pull yourself away, you are lost for choice on where to start. Obviously, Super Mario 64 seems like the clear jump-off point, considering its rightful place in history, and there is sheer astonishment at seeing the jump from 2D to 3D that took place back in 1996, all represented here pixel perfectly. The original Super Mario All-Stars is currently available for free through Nintendo's online service, and this is receiving some criticism from the fact the original games were spiced up in terms of graphics for the SNES release. At the time, players were excited by the possibility of seeing their heroes with a higher pixel-rate makeover, yet in 2020 there seems to be distinct disgust for any skewing of those 8-bit representations. All-Stars 3D has very sensibly stuck to its guns and, although the sharper resolutions and softer edges are easy to see, very little has been changed from the original visions.

Super Mario 64 is as close to the classic set-up as this pack provides, with a basic Mario that although is full of tricks from the outset, still relies on the standard hop, skip, and wahoo to get the job done. It's a good starting point for the newcomers and it's these basic control schemes and premises that set the stage for the later titles. Most of the 3D franchise staples are here, and it's a welcome trip to explore where it all started. Master these here and it becomes a lot simpler to grasp the level design and approaches for the rest of the journey through the Mario vault. Those control schemes are also, of course, excellent. While most of this review was done using the Pro Controller, rest assured that in handheld and tabletop mode the controls allow for pixel-perfect precision throughout, as well. With its excellent level design, infinite replayability, and perfect soundtrack, it's easy to get lost in Mario 64 for months and never want to leave. Leave you must, however, in order to jump into one of the most unique platformers Mario has ever headlined…

Screenshot for Super Mario 3D All Stars on Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Sunshine to this day still gets a bit of a bad reputation for not emulating everything its predecessor did before it. Nintendo, in its infinite wisdom, was always going to mix things up and this left many players a bit wary. Having never taken the plunge first time round, owning a GameCube but getting a dungaree fix from Mario Kart: Double Dash instead, it is interesting to come at Sunshine with fresh eyes. Much like the popper trousers of the time, it now ranks as one of the biggest regrets missing out initially. It should never have been in doubt, going by the triple A standard of Nintendo, but Super Mario Sunshine is superb. Tasked with cleaning the island of Delfino, using Mario's new sprinkler-cum-best-friend, F.L.U.D.D., exploration is a delight.

F.L.U.D.D. brings with him a whole new traversal scheme and allows for what would easily have been the most innovative level design that had ever been seen at the time (more on how it was topped later). Not only is the hub world a sprawling utopia of hidden secrets and mini-tasks set by the criminally overlooked Piantas, but the courses themselves are also filled with some unique enemies, platforming over multiple levels, and puzzles that require innovative use of the hose friend strapped to your back. It all proves to be never frustrating, always immensely satisfying. For a game that never really got the attention it deserved, and is frequently overshadowed by other outings for the digitally rendered Bob Hoskins, having Super Mario Sunshine represented in all its paint-covered glory might be worth the price of admission for 3D All-Stars alone.

Screenshot for Super Mario 3D All Stars on Nintendo Switch

Last, but by no means least, Super Mario 3D All-Stars is capped off with the sublime Super Mario Galaxy. Unlike Sunshine, this is one where the amount of hours lost in what could be considered the pinnacle of platforming cannot be countered, and the Wii release is still yet to be topped, despite what some may say about its Wii sequel that is omitted from this new collection. The decision to leave out Super Mario Galaxy 2 was always going to raise a few eyebrows but, as mentioned, it's arguably not as good - don't worry, just move on. What was revolutionary back in 2007 is still incredible to behold in 2020, especially with the optimisation for Switch. Nintendo has also taken the time to simplify the Wii controls and allow for easier planet-hopping by mapping the often-frustrating star spin to the Y button. The Joy-Con set is the control scheme of choice, however by utilising the gyroscope in the Pro Controller, Star Bit collecting mid-galaxy hop is just as comfortable with all control schemes.

Galaxy also has the esteemed honour of introducing easily the best female character to ever grace a Mario game, in the form of Rosalina. The adventure tasks the titular plumber with utilising his trademark running, jumping, and now gravity-manipulating powers, to rescue her family of Luma. Nintendo is never going to be accused of not taking innovation to another level, but it's here that sends the company into the outer atmosphere (excuse the pun… no, don't actually - it was great!). Every galaxy explored offers a unique challenge that requires a different approach from the previous, with even groan-worthy additions like the Bee Mario Suit being used to good effect. Add to this the comets that change the parameters of level completion when in orbit, and the replayability mixed with the grin that comes from popping this on, and the whole experience is yet to be beat. Nintendo has even taken the time to include the co-operative element from the original, with a couch companion able to collect Star Bits and stun enemies to aid first-player progression.

Before wrapping up, it would be doing readers a disservice to not mention the giant Goomba in the room that has caused uproar in the gaming community. With the release coming of the 35th Anniversary of Mario, Nintendo has decided to make Super Mario 3D All-Stars a limited release with all physical and digital copies being removed from stores at the end of March 2021. In truth, if this was any other company then there is no way this would be accepted, yet when you objectively look at the quality on offer here, as well as really thinking about whether or not consumers are going to pick this up, it's not a massive issue. It shouldn't have happened, but anyone who has an interest in this collection is likely to pick it up as soon as it's released. Just be sure to not get taken in by scammers looking to charge over-the-odds when expecting a shortage. There won't be one.

Screenshot for Super Mario 3D All Stars on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

Well, it was never in doubt really, was it? Super Mario 3D All-Stars represents the pinnacle of platforming goodness and with perfect ports, as well as top notch optimisation for the console, it's a must-buy. For newcomers, they are getting the chance to experience the timeline of how Nintendo first experimented and mastered the 3D platformer, all the way up to it improving on the formula with each iteration. For stalwarts, it's a great excuse to dive back in and revisit a childhood hero in all his hat-wearing, moustache-twirling glory. Each inclusion has perfect character and level designs, as well as an ever-increasing level of innovation that simply cannot be matched by any other gaming company in the platforming genre. To sum up Super Mario 3D All-Stars in one word? Unmissable.






3D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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