Nintendo Super Mario 3D All-Stars
Well, that all happened quickly, didn’t it? It was only a fortnight ago that Nintendo was announcing its long-rumoured compilation of 3D Mario games, and now here we are reviewing the ruddy thing already. Some of you will have already made up your mind about Super Mario 3D All-Stars before even opening this page, but there are still a few interesting things to discuss here so let’s-a-go, as the man himself puts it.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars bundles together three of Mario’s most iconic three-dimensional adventures: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. All three raised the bar for the platforming genre when they were first released, and all three remain immensely playable today – even if the constant slew of imitators over the years means they don’t feel quite as innovative as they used to.
The games are presented in a fairly bare-bones manner; there’s an extremely brief intro video that you’ll completely miss if you sneeze (like we did the first time), and then you get to choose which of the three games you want to boot. There’s also the option to play the full official soundtrack albums for each game, which is a nice touch – it even lets you turn the screen off so you can pop headphones in and listen to it on the move, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does.
That’s pretty much all you get, though; choosing one of the three games boots you straight to its title screen, and from that point on it’s Mario time. Each title has been tweaked to some degree, and while we aren’t talking anything revolutionary like fully-remade character models or anything like that, each tweak is still useful for the most part. It probably makes sense to talk about each game individually, so let’s do that.
As the oldest game in the compilation, Super Mario 64 is probably the one whose upgrade is most impressive. It may have only been upscaled to 720p here, but the fact it originally ran at 240p means you’re getting a nice clean upscale at three times the number of vertical lines. The result is a brilliantly clean-looking version of the game, although this new clarity does expose some of its previously well-hidden tricks; for example, you sometimes see Mario’s head lose a lot of detail as he moves further away from the camera, which would have been disguised on a blurry old CRT telly.
Speaking of detail, it isn’t just the polygonal elements of the game that get a sharper side. Nintendo has taken time to redo all the sprite-based elements, too, and it’s this move that’s probably the most noticeable upgrade. All the text is nice and smooth, the counters for the number of lives and stars you have are sharp, and even stuff like snow falling during the winter stages looks much better.