Super Mario 3D All-Stars review – three great games in one lacklustre compilation

I just don’t get Nintendo sometimes. If you want a microcosm of the head-scratching conundrum you’ll often find at the heart of the company it’s here in this, Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Here are two of the greatest games ever made – and Super Mario Sunshine – in a compilation that’s in so many ways lacklustre.

That moniker Nintendo has gone for with this three game bundle – bringing together Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy – doesn’t help. The original Super Mario All-Stars, released back in 1993 on the SNES, was a fairly comprehensive run through all the mainline 2D games to date. It wasn’t just a compilation either – there was a significant visual makeover that gave everything the same Super Nintendo sparkle, improved the audio and introduced save files for the older games. It was more a series of remakes than a remaster.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars, in comparison, can sometimes feel like nothing more than a ROM dump. It is more than that – thankfully – but it still feels like less than it could be. It is not in any way comprehensive – the decision to cut aside Super Mario 3D World for its own re-release next year makes some sort of sense, while the decision to not include Super Mario Galaxy 2, effectively an expansion pack for the original Galaxy which is here in all its glory, does not. Whereas I’m not sure whether the original All-Stars were remakes or not, I’m not sure you can even call the games in 3D All-Stars remasters.

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