Super Mario 3D All Stars (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Luke Hemming 16.09.2020 13

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   


I wholly disagree with the "it's not a massive issue" of the whole limited thing.
It's a cheap marketing technique (and it will be a very succesful one) that's insulting to say the least.

At least the games are great.

( Edited 16.09.2020 14:23 by Ofisil )

Can't a fella drink in peace?

Oof, yeah, ignoring the fact there are obviously more important things to concern about than vidya gaemz, I am really frustrated at Nintendo's behaviour this gen with certain things, but definitely this limited release of three incredibly massive and historical games is really anti-consumer. There are many fans that have yet to pick up a Switch, especially so during this year because of lay-offs and all sorts of financial problems this pandemic has caused, and yet Nintendo has come in for one hell of a profitable year, with Animal Crossing printing millions for the company alone. Nintendo does not need to perform business tactics like this when they are absolutely raking the cash in, and so many people are going to miss out for not being able to afford either a Switch or the game before it is pulled from the store.

Add in that I'm a big supporter of the archiving and preservation of video games (and therefore know I'm again really disappointed by how Nintendo has handled ports of its classics, the lack thereof, and tying them down behind subscription services), and this does not sit well with me in the slightest. Nintendo may be laughing even more as they watch all the money come in during the six months this pack is on sale, but it's such a middle finger to video game players regardless of platforms they play on, and is setting a worrying precedent for the future.

Unfortunately, I can't say no to this package, and I'm gonna purchase it because I want as many classics that I love as possible on the Switch to play in handheld, and it's been forever since I played the likes of 64, Sunshine, and even Galaxy. Unfortunate that I am sadly encouraging what Nintendo is doing by buying, but excited to revisit all of these...even if Sunshine has some of the worst sections of any 3D Mario game. I'm sure nostalgia goggles are helping me forget just how frustrated I used to get at that game, but I'm looking forward to giving it the time of day again.

And yeah, I am sad at lack of Galaxy 2. As a Yoshi fan, his inclusion made that game even better!

PS. The best Mario girl has got almost two decades on Rosalina. It's Daisy btw Smilie

1) Super Mario's 25th anniversary only had a limited release;
2) The NES and SNES Minis also only had limited releases... but ended up being extended due to overwhelming demand.

I suppose we just have to hope that the second situation applies to SM3DAS!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I reckon it'll get extended personally, I am part of the problem in that I've bought a copy due to the limited demand, but I would have done anyway, I may have waited for it to be £40 on Shopto or Base or something, but I did bite at first opportunity with Nintendo UK Store.

As the years have gone on I've got pretty selfish, so as long as I have a copy I don't lose sleep over it.

I'm a bit more fussed that they didn't allow for a few more options on things like using a Gamecube controller, camera options, filters and borders etc. It would have been nice to have.

jesusraz said:
1) Super Mario's 25th anniversary only had a limited release;
2) The NES and SNES Minis also only had limited releases... but ended up being extended due to overwhelming demand.

I suppose we just have to hope that the second situation applies to SM3DAS!

We're fully locked into the digital age now, though, so there is no need to put a time limit on the digital version of video games. I can perhaps accept the limited printing of physical copies, but putting a time limit on a digital product? You cannot run out of digital copies. Nintendo is not being coy with what it's doing here, and no doubt the games will be back on the eshop a year from now, right before holidays, at the very same £50 price tag it's launching with in two days' time. This guarantees Nintendo will never have to put the package on discounted sale whenever it is available to buy (not that they ever discount their games massively anyway).

I'm 99% a digital gamer nowdays, so the limited digital release really gets under my feathers. I know what Nintendo is doing, but it's the fact that they *don't need* to do this, and proof that they don't give a crap about their customers and fans. Instead, they are banking on their fans to be sheep and all jump into bagging the game at £50, exploiting them for massive gain. I know I'm one of the sheep, but that's the proof of it all. Even I can't resist when it comes to a product I want badly enough.

I fell out of love with gaming a lot this gen for many reasons, but the anti-consumerism and predatory tactics are enough to turn me away, and then we have Nintendo pulling garbage like limited releases on digital video games.

I still care about things like this even if I am able to get a copy for myself just because I don't like where the industry has been going this generation (although it was going there last gen anyway). I hope I ain't reading too much into this one, but the way the industry is, what's successful now can end up being doubled-down on in the future. I hope this doesn't continue to be a thing.

I don't mean to detract too much from the package and games themselves, but this is a big related talking point that concerns me for the future. I do indeed hope it's a one-off like it was with Mario's 25th.

If I'm not mistaken, I think a GameCube controller can work, but the game just hasn't been optimised for it, so things like the analogue control of water spraying in Sunshine won't be utilised. Big shame there. Those analog trigger felt so good back in the day!

But yeah, really expected more in terms of 60fps, more options, more unlockables. But looking forward to revisiting them all for sure Smilie

Ace! I can't wait to get this pack on my birthday! Looking forward to revisiting all the games especially on the go!

I think lootboxes, microtransactions, massive day one patches, gatelocked DLC, ads within paid games (UFC 2021) , all irk me more than a timed/limited anniversary release. 

With that said, I do agree, it does feel strange given that it is available digitally, mainly just because they know that people would continue to purchase it digitally, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is proof in the pudding there. 

I think they might change their decision....or you never know...maybe there might be a different proposition come March 31st Smilie

Flynnie said:
I think lootboxes, microtransactions, massive day one patches, gatelocked DLC, ads within paid games (UFC 2021) , all irk me more than a timed/limited anniversary release. 

Absolutely. They all started somewhere, though, and got progressively worse, with more and more devs/publishers following what brings in the cash, with no respect for customers or fans. UFC's mid-game ads I think are a fairly new trial that may or may not stick the course, but these companies are always trying new things to see what they can get away with and what sticks.

The limited release thing might just be something that others follow suit with if it proves to pay off massively for Nintendo. Granted, I don't expect companies to only do limited releases of their next major franchise entries, of course, but for anniversary packs and compilations of the Mario 3D All-Stars kind, it's possible we will see more. Charge £50-60 for a special compilation of revered classics for a limited time, then do it all again a year or two down the line. You'll never need to drop the price, and each occasion will see massive sales.

I don't agree with it for any product, especially for digital games.

Heck, Nintendo did this for Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition, making that game only available for a limited time, and that was a *free* download! I believe it did come back again for a time, but it's just utterly bizarre to me to even do that.

Fingers crossed it never turns out as bad as I think it potentially could do!

As long as something works, it will continue, sadly...

Can't a fella drink in peace?

I don't think too many brands and IP's could pull off such a release and I don't think many other publishers would have the balls to do it. 

It is a bit of a salesy tactic to get fast sales but I can't see it happening all too often. Let's hope not anyway!

As for the criticisms I've seen online about these being straight up ports I would point people to that Zelda collection on Gamecube where all four games were pretty much straight ports right? (Albeit it was a promotional disc rather than a full on purchase). I don't remember the discourse being the same as this.

Flynnie said:

As for the criticisms I've seen online about these being straight up ports I would point people to that Zelda collection on Gamecube where all four games were pretty much straight ports right? (Albeit it was a promotional disc rather than a full on purchase). I don't remember the discourse being the same as this.

Perhaps not, although me being more of an ignorant fanboy in my youth, I probably didn't care as much. Times change, and you just expect more from certain companies when others do it so much better. I mean, shitty Activision even created entire full-on remakes from the ground up of the Spyro and Crash trilogies...*and* sold them both cheaper than what Nintendo is asking here. It's not a lot to ask from a company that's absolutely raked it in this year.

I remember being extremely annoyed that the port of MM on the Zelda Collector's Edition was prone to freezing and crashing, however. They made the game worse than the N64 version in that regard.

( Edited 17.09.2020 10:44 by Azuardo )

I think it's timed to that date because we're going to see some sort of replacement at that date. Perhaps alongside the HD Switch.

Yeah, I'm thinking SMG2 is suddenly going to be added to a revamped release at the end of March, with original owners able to download it as DLC for a nominal fee.

EDIT: By the way, Luke, did you have problems with the Sunshine camera?

( Edited 17.09.2020 15:18 by jesusraz )

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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