Super Mario 64 – Kinda Remastered?

As of writing this, the Super Mario 3D All Stars has been out for a day. I spent the whole night going through Super Mario 64. Finally going to bed around 4AM, just after finishing the game.

The Super Mario 3D All Stars is a pack with 3 games, released for Mario’s 35th Anniversary. I’ll be talking about this more after I have completed all three of the games. This will be a completely separate article.

So I’m going to take a little bit of time talking about this absolute classic of a game today. This won’t be a full review as it’s not exactly a new game, it’s a little bit old anyway. 

If you’d like to see my other Mario related review, check out the Paper Mario one here.

What did they do right?

So let me start off by saying that I had an absolute blast spending all night playing Super Mario 65. Overall, even with the minimal effort put in, it’s a game that still stands up to this day. 

Super Mario 64 collecting a star

That’s not to say that everything is perfect. There are certainly issues with the original but I’ll get into that later.

Let’s start with the first thing that you see, the graphics. They have been pretty thoroughly updated whilst still retaining the aesthetic of the original. It still looks and feels like Super Mario 64 but with less lines. 

This is one of the biggest things that I think is a positive here, it still feels like Super Mario 64. This does seem to be the concept behind this, keeping purists happy. They should be happy as well.

There are people that consider Super Mario 64 as one of the best 3D platformers ever. This iteration really holds true, just improving the smoothness of Mario’s skin, and the performance.

SM64 sleepy mario

I may be wrong with this but it felt like the controls were much tighter playing on the Switch. Again, this might just be in my head but everything was snappier, there seemed to be no input lag. I actually really enjoyed how responsive the game felt, the whole time.

Another thing that could just be my perception is the loading times. I’m not sure the loading times in the original were particularly long but they are practically non-existent now. Dying in a level for example barely feels like a punishment. 2 seconds later you’re back into the level jumping around again.

I touched upon this earlier but the game is still fun. The game hasn’t lost any of the enjoyment it once had. If you like the original, you’ll like this.

How much did they mess up?

Now, what wasn’t so praise worthy? Quite a bit. Mostly, it’s just the pure laziness. Not a lot of effort was put in to add any improvements or quality of life changes. This is the general consensus for this collection, that it’s just lazy. It seems pretty apparent from the start that not an awful lot was put into it.

Super Mario 64 The end

Let’s talk more specifically about Super Mario 64 though. My biggest gripe, that carries over from the original is the camera. It is borderline unusable, still. It was absolute dogs**t in the original but at least they didn’t know better. Now though, they do know better and no effort was put in to fix it.

You can’t turn all the way around or look completely up for example. It just moves in increments, each time you move it makes a really annoying noise too. There is just no need for it in 2020. If they had left everything else the same but just changed the camera, it would be an infinitely better game.

A lesser issue carried over is the end. You beat the final boss, you get the final star but then what? Well you get a card that shows you finished and that’s it. You still can’t save that you’ve finished it, you can’t press a button to go back to the menu. Nothing. You just have to turn Super Mario 64 off. 

Same thing as before, fine, back in the day that’s ok. Now though? It’s not, it’s just another area that could have been improved for today’s standards that was wasted. I guess that’s another notch on the laziness belt.

SM64 star at peach castle

Any buggies?

This is the only bug that I’ve found, there’s some weird bug where Mario’s sprite reverts. It’s a hellish site, he goes back to his more blocky old self. Then when you turn a certain way, he pops back, then turns again and he’s a demon again.

Super Mario 64 horror mario

Other than that, I literally didn’t experience any issues. This could be just me, obviously, but a stable experience otherwise.

Final Verdict?

So what did I think overall, playing Super Mario 64 on the Switch? 

Well this will come as no surprise, especially if you’ve seen anyone talk about it online. It’s a damn fine game in 2020. That’s really the important thing, the game still holds up. It really is a testament to how well a lot of Nintendo’s games are made. Even when you go back this far.

It’s an extremely fun game, with tight controls, smoothed visuals, and maintains its original feel. Being able to play one Switch as well, with both docked and handheld is a complete boon.

If you loved the original Super Mario 64, or you love 3D Mario’s and missed this one, it’s a must play. 

Super Mario 64 happy family

This does come with one caveat. It’s the big elephant that people keep mentioning, even I, it’s lazy. Nintendo released a product that had the bare minimum effort put into it, knowing we’d all buy it. I am as guilty here as anyone, I both purchased it, and am promoting that others should buy it.

To that I say “you’re right, but I can’t do anything about that”. The truth is, that even with minimum effort, the things Nintendo put out are amazing. With next to no effort, with donkey’s old games, Nintendo put out some of the most fun titles.

Hopefully if they have further plans for Super Mario 64, or the 3D All Stars and beyond they try harder. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, I had a blast with Super Mario 64 on Switch and will definitely recommend.

Super Mario 64 – Kinda Remastered?
Written by Kyle Munn.

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