So, I just completed Super Mario Sunshine for the first time. I was playing it on the Gamecube itself, not through an emulator.
Wow, is this one weird Mario game!
For one thing, it absolutely felt like it fit perfectly between Super Mario 64 and the Galaxy series (as it should, duh!). You’ve got the Hub World, Delfino Island, but it has shrunk in size a bit in comparison to the Peach’s Castle in SM64. But, it’s still significantly bigger than the observatories in the Galaxy games. Then you’ve also got these pseudo galaxy style levels where the platforms are suspended in space and Mario must traverse them without the aid of his FLUDD device (a jetpack he uses for most levels which can suspend him in the air for a time)
Here’s an example below, skip to the 5.10 mark
I liked the over all tone of the game. The shiny tropical island definitely provides a bit of escapism for a person who lives in a country with a generally mild climate (although we have had some nice weather a few weeks ago). I thought the music fit into this, but at the same time I actually didn’t like most of the tracks. I found them very boring and the same motifs appeared to be reused throughout many levels. This is a big problem for me, as a stellar soundtrack is something I expect from a Mario game. I expect to come away from them humming the tunes and looking up particular songs on YouTube. This just did not happen, unfortunately. 😦
I liked the FLUDD, I thought it made the game feel unique. At the same time though, it meant the platforming was less about precision. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I’ll leave to you. I like that they tried out that new mechanic and enjoyed it, myself. I’d nearly even like to see it return, not as the focus of the game, but in one or two levels in the next Mario game. Especially with how in SMWorld for example there was no clear link between each level. So I think a tropical level using the FLUDD would be a pretty cool throwback. I hope Nintendo see this possibility when they are developing future titles 🙂
Now I have to talk about this one F***ing level that really p***ed me off. It was in Pianta Village (One of the 8 Areas which themselves contained 8 episodes/levels to obtain a “Shiny”) titled “I’m a Chuckster”. Basically you have to talk to these guys called “Chucksters” and the ‘chuck’ you either forwards or upwards across platforms that are suspended over nothingess. If you miss, that’s it, start over. It was so annoying, because the last guy would not cooperate. It took a while to figure out the strategy and get it lined up perfectly. I game overed(?) at least twice, maybe even three times; when that happens you have to walk all the way back to the level entrance and it’s ll just URRGHH.
There were a handful of bad levels but overall they were quite fun.
So look, let’s be real. It’s a main series Mario game. It’s a great game and plenty of fun, with lots of content and secrets, and plenty of that Nintendo charm. But as Mario games go, it just felt a bit lacking. Like I said, the music was a bit of a downer and there were a handful of bad levels. But really it’s still better than 90+% of the garbage that’s put out there and I definitely recommend it to those who have never tried it. As a person who prefers the linearity of the Galaxy games to the open worldness of 64, you can see this wasn’t set up for me to enjoy it as much. But if you’re more of a 64 fan, and have never played it before, well then in the words of Reggie Fis-Aime…What is wrong with you!?
The end boss was dope btw.
Thanks for reading