Mario is the king. There is no two ways about it. If you know anything about video games, you know about Mario. Many of the big titles about the character are often considered the best of the era and some even the best ever made. But some titles have split bases. Some hate a particular game with a fiery passion and others love the same game with an equally fiery passion. Enter Super Mario Sunshine, probably the most contentious Mario game in existence and might be the most contentious that will ever be made.
I do have a bit of experience with 3d platformers. The PS2 era in particular had some of my favorites, like Jak and Daxter and the Sly Cooper trilogy. In recent years, I have been left mostly unimpressed with recent entries. Super Mario Odyssey, while fun and lively, I forgot most of what happened in the game after 10 minutes. Racket and Clank remake was rather light on challenge. A Hat in Time though I did have a pretty good time though.
Mario, I’ve played a couple games. Like Odyssey, Maker 2, Kart 8 Deluxe, a couple hours of Origami King, enough time in 64 to realize it sucks and I’m currently zooming my way through Galaxy. So I have a pretty good idea what to expect from the franchise.
The Game Itself
If you are familiar with the 3d Mario games, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how Mario moves. He jumps, he dives, he jumps, he climbs and he jumps. The big twist for this game is FLUDD. Initially it will seem like you’ll use it entirely as a weapon or a cleaning tool, but by the end of the game it will be second nature to use it as a jetpack to get past some of the more annoying aspects of the games. The worst I can say about FLUDD is the lack of variety in usages, with only 4 modes and only 3 feel like they have been used to their fullest capability. But those 3 that work, they feel really nice. Squirt Nozzle takes a bit of getting used to, but it has a lot of potential to cause some mayhem, jetpack is as important as a jump, and rocket can you flying around the map. They all have their little quirks and its delightful to master them.
There are some pretty annoying features in the game. The game is pretty well known for its rushed development and it shows with levels, like ones revolving around chucksters, the pachinko machine and any time Mario is on a boat and has to use FLUDD to steer. And while it’s easy to avoid most of those awful levels to make it to the end of the story, a few are mandatory and are a complete pain in the ass. In addition, the camera, while a massive step up from the abysmal one in 64, has a tendency to freak out in small spaces, especially the hotel level.
But even with the rushed development, it is clear that a lot of love was put into the game. I wouldn’t call Isle Delfino realistic, but it does a better job of seeming like an actual world rather a bunch of loosely connected levels. You get to see where the locals live, you get to see some of what are probably important natural landmarks, the tourist traps, the bars, etc and its all backed by these lively characters that never stop moving, creating the sense that the world is a cartoon. And it’s all back by an incredible soundtrack that perfectly matches every setting, with the highlight being the hub world song.
I never made it a secret that I think most classic games are absolute garbage that only get so much love due to their innovation. Sunshine, while not a masterpiece, is still a pretty good time and I would recommend it. Grab some pineapple, get your coconut smoothie and your sunglasses and head out to Delfino.
Just watch out for hot surfaces.