Super Mario 3D All-Stars review: no bells or whistles - but a must for every Mario fan

Super Mario turns 35 this year. If that doesn't make you feel old, then how about combining three of the famous plumber’s best and most iconic adventures that were dotted throughout your young gaming lives into one compilation for the Nintendo Switch?

Well, that is exactly what Nintendo has done by putting the N64's Super Mario 64, GameCube's Super Mario Sunshine, and Wii's Super Mario Galaxy together for Super Mario 3D All Stars, in honour of the great man on his 35th anniversary.

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The compilation includes high definition ports of the first three 3D platformers in the Super Mario series and are accomplished through emulation of the old consoles.

All three games support the Switch’s Joy-Con controls with rumble function, and are displayed at higher resolutions, such as Sunshine running in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Both Sunshine and Galaxy are displayed in 1080p in TV Mode and 720p in handheld. Meanwhile, 64 is displayed in 720p in both modes in a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Galaxy also features optional Joy-Con controls that imitate the motion controlled-pointing of the Wii Remote, with Mario's spin ability remapped to the Y button. In Handheld Mode, players can use the touch screen in lieu of the pointer, although it all gets a bit fiddly for my liking.

How do the new games compare to the originals?

All three games hold up well and any fan boys and girls of Mario will be filled with that fuzzy, warm nostalgic buzz at reliving some iconic gaming moments from your past - all at an increased resolution, which makes each game look better than ever before.

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For most, just having these bad boys to relive on the Switch will be enough. But, for anyone hoping for a bit more gloss and additional content and features, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. Beyond what each individual game has to offer, there is little else to see here.

I found the Super Mario 64 - which, with the benefit of hindsight, was rather unimaginatively named, wasn’t it? - a tough ask to play through again. Despite the slight touching up and amplified visuals, this very much shows its age now and is probably best left to your fond memories from way back when.

The crowning glory of the whole package is Galaxy. This remains a straight up gaming masterpiece and, my god, is it still a challenge. I honestly believe this makes the whole thing worthwhile on its own. I spent months playing Odyssey when I first got my Switch. That, too, is a masterpiece but Galaxy was very much the forefather and revisiting it on Switch was a joy to behold.

Yes, there may not be too much else going on for your money here, and a distinct lack of bells, whistles and gloss. But, having all three of these games together in one collection, on your Switch, available in handheld mode, with boosted visuals is simply a must for any moderate Mario fan.

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Super Mario 3D All-Stars is available on Nintendo Switch as a limited-time release. Physical and digital editions will only be on sale until 31 March 2021, after which point it will no longer be available from retailers or the Nintendo eShop. However, those who purchase the collection digitally will still be able to redownload it after that date.

Rating: 8/10

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