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Thoughts on Mario Sunshine: not a very good game.

I originally had a duel post about Mario 64 and Sunshine together, but I realized there was just so much I didn't enjoy about Sunshine that it should have its own post.

Mario Sunshine: I never played this one back in the day, even though I was Gamecube crazy. So I was excited to give it a try. From the opening of the airport, Mario's movement felt great. I was so excited to have a modern camera! I then immediately noticed the lack of the long jump, which was sad. Then I did the dive jump, and kept diving…and it was awesome and hilarious. Got F.L.U.D.D. and started the game proper. I played the first course Bianco Hills, and had fun, but not quite as much as I was expecting. I did love sliding down the opening walkway though. I also died on the first Petey Piranha fight, not from lack of skill, just from not knowing what to do. Then I got to the first "secret" level and I was excited to be back to normal platforming, and it was very challenging. It was also strange, because it started to feel like two different games all of a sudden. I never shook that feeling the whole game, and I think I walked away from it with more complaints than praises. The setting was charming at first, but without the power of nostalgia, it did get old. I actually liked Pianta Village the best just because it visually looked a little different than all the other levels. The levels did seem a lot more "grounded" and less abstract than 64 or previous Mario games, and that was cool. I like my Mario games cute, and this game was pretty cute. The first time I found a giant swing and used F.L.U.D.D. to swing put a big smile on my face.

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What I didn't like: So, so much. I really hate to say it, because I kept a positive attitude the whole time and I am such a Mario fan. It just wasn't what it should have been. I am going to list my main complaints.

  1. Only 7 stages, which lacked visual variety. I also did not feel like many of them were that fun to explore.
  2. You fall, you swim. I think I would have rather just lost a life. The worst offender to me was Episode 8 of Rico Rico Harbor: Yoshi's Fruit Adventure. There is so much wrong with this level. Yoshi Mechanics are poorly explained, and I thought he was a bit glitchy to handle. His running mid-air jump only seemed to work for me 50% of the time. Also, how was I supposed to know he turns enemies into platforms and also that different color yoshis make different colored platforms? I got so good at this one from all the failures, that I can easily do it now, but I did not enjoy that learning process. Yoshi is one of my favorites and instead of a power-up, he always felt like a handicap. The process of getting Yoshi, (mainly in this level) was tedious as can be. I spent more time ground-pounding the pipes looking for a Durian than any other section. Half the time they rolled off down into the next platform and that's the only fruit you can't pick up. Just a huge time sink, where my patience was tested more than my skills.
  3. All the Nozzles. I have to say, I just generally did not care for F.L.U.D.D. Jetpacking around reminded me of playing Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, and it always really slowed my speed down. I didn't hate it, but I was usually kind of happy to lost F.L.U.D.D. because then it felt like a Mario game again. The other nozzle attachments should have absolutely been selectable at all times, without losing the hover-nozzle. I almost never used them, and that was a shame. I realize they would have broken sections of the game, but I think the levels should have been designed with them in mind, rather than have them as a temporary power up. Basically felt like wasted potential to me, and I never bothered with them, even though I would have liked to.
  4. Blue Coins. I followed a guide to find them all. It wasn't that fun. It probably added some replay value for kids back in the day, but it wasn't necessary for me now.
  5. 100 Coin Shines. I used to love going back in Mario 64 to collect 100 coin Stars because it felt like I was mastering the level, and it felt really free form. It also didn't kick you out of the level. Sunshine you can easily select the wrong episode before the level, and not be able to collect 100, meaning this was trial and error. It also kicked you out of the level.
  6. Repetition. There was just so much of it. The lack of level variety made it stand out even more. With more levels, it probably would have been forgiven.
  7. Sirena Beach levels: Manta Ray fight, confusing trial-by-error exploration, and the worst offender: unlocking the secret platforming level by flipping those damn question mark panels. This just took me so long and I hated it. The level being sectioned off in so many ways made it feel intrusive as well. Start at the beach, go to the hotel, go the casino, go to the roulette, wheel, go to the secret level, etc. King Boo fight was fun though!
  8. Yoshi. I mentioned this in my Rico Rico Harbor rant but…LOOK HOW THEY MASSACRED MY BOY!
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Final Thoughts: I wanted to like this game, and it had its moments. Side-flipping up platforms will forever feel great to me. The setting is beautiful and I know this game took some great ideas forward, and left behind some of the weaker ones. Maybe I over-hyped it in my mind, maybe I didn't take my time the way I should have. What do you all think? Did I just do it wrong?

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