Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review: Star-Studded Value or Stellar Disappointment?


Friday, three of the most critically acclaimed games of all time are being released as a three-pack for the Nintendo Switch. Super Mario 3D All-Stars includes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy.

All three games have received a perfunctory level of polish: they’ve been upscaled to 1080p.

However, is this a value purchase that’s too good to be true, or a lazy cash-in by Nintendo? Let’s take a look at the celebration of 35 years of Mario and get to the bottom of what’s going on with it.

The Games

If there is even one game in this set that you missed when it released, you should get this three-pack. Each of the games in the bundle is truly excellent in its own right, even if they released in very different eras of gaming.

These are respectable ports, retaining the buttery-smooth controls and excellent polish of the original releases.

As it stands, this is the best way to legally play these three games. The HD upscaling and the support for Joy Con and Pro Controller controls makes the package worth it for any platforming fan.

While fans have created emulators of these games that can run at a better framerate and with higher resolution, these are technically not legal. Still, their existence does make this release’s price tag sting a bit.

A Cash-in?

Mario on a phone next to money

Nintendo’s handling of legacy content on the Switch has left a lot to be desired. The system has no support for the Virtual Console initiative, which previously allowed players to purchase numerous older games on newer systems.

Despite being a hit on the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS, Nintendo discontinued the program on the Switch. This baffled many players, who have been clamoring for legal ways to play legacy content on new hardware.

Some have accused Nintendo of creating artificial scarcity of these games to drive sales of full-price remasters. This accusation has also been leveled at 3D All-Stars. The game is a bare-bones package: it’s simply three games from prior generations, bundled together.

However, for us, it doesn’t feel like a cash-in. We do wish it had done a bit more to spruce up the visuals. Even a slight graphical update to Super Mario 64 would have gone a long way.

That the game is presented in its original aspect ratio is a bit jarring compared to modern, wide-screen games.

The Bottom Line

Nintendo proved a long time ago that they’re the masters of precise 3D platforming. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a resounding reaffirmation of this.

It’s a bit bare, and we would have loved more attention to updating the games for modern audiences. However, as a window into Mario’s storied history, it functions perfectly.

The bottom line is that this is a solid package for any Nintendo fan. We award Super Mario 3D All-Stars an eight out ten.