In 2002, Mario took a vacation. Wait, what? That’s right. Super Mario Sunshine is a game that takes place in Delfino Plaza, a paradise where Mario goes to enjoy his vacation from hard work. Obviously, chaos ensues and he has to clean up the island, thus making the game: Super Mario Sunshine. I loved this game when I first played it, but how does it hold up today?
Super Mario Sunshine is nearly identical to Super Mario 64 in gameplay. Running and jumping is present, as they are in almost every Mario game. The biggest addition to Super Mario Sunshine is the inclusion of F.L.U.D.D., or Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dowsing Device. Delfino Plaza has been covered in pollution, and Mario is framed for the crime. His punishment? He has to clean it all up! Mario uses F.L.U.D.D. to spray water on all of the pollution to clean it up, and this is implemented into the gameplay. F.L.U.D.D. sprays water with the press of the R button, but F.L.U.D.D. doesn’t just spray water. There are three different nozzles that let Mario hover, shoot up in to the air, or blast across the ground. The hover nozzle is very nice, but the Rocket and Turbo are very situational, but still fun to use. Mario must collect shine sprites, the equivalent of the power stars from Super Mario 64. The more Shines Mario has collected; the more levels he can access. The entire game has a tropical setting, as compared to the varies setting of Super Mario 64. The levels range from an amusement park to a hotel to a beach to a mountain in the bay to a harbor. They’re all well designed levels, and have different missions to collect shine sprites on. Some of the missions are very fun, but some can be downright frustrating. The Watermelon Festival mission is incredibly infamous for being one of the hardest in the game. Mario must find the largest watermelon in the level and bring it down to the fruit shack. This Watermelon is on the top of a hill, must be rolled down, and can easily bust. With all of the enemies, trees, and buildings in your way, it makes for a frustrating time. These frustrating missions are few and far between, and the only only other issue I have with the missions is the over abundance of red coin missions. There are at least two red coin missions in each level, and it gets redundant very quickly. If collecting red coins is your thing, though, you’re in for a treat with this game. In each level, Mario uses F.L.U.D.D. to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and get through the nasty goop. It’s really quite simple. There are several mini challenges Mario can do to get shine sprites, and blue coins are scattered throughout the land, which can be traded for shines. The controls are a bit of a mixed bag. Mario feels kind of slippery and there are several times where I would have fallen off platforms if I didn’t have F.L.U.D.D. with me. Other times I feel like I have 100% control of Mario. It honestly can depend on the landscape sometimes, as in places like Ricco Harbor and Noki Bay this is much more of an issue than in places like Bianco Hills and Serena Beach. The controls and gameplay are still fun, despite a few setbacks.
The graphics in this game are outstanding. This game, along with many other Gamecube games, has very colorful visuals, with stunning landscapes and several amazing character models. For the time, the game’s graphics were outstanding, and while some textures can look a bit pixelated today, but that’s a small price to pay for the amazing graphics everywhere else. The music is also amazing. Almost every single song in the game is memorable, and I can still remember almost all of them. The graphics and music still hold up very, very well.
Super Mario Sunshine is a game that I really adore, and have beaten several times. I can go back to this game at almost any time and have a blast playing it. The game isn’t perfect, but the positive aspects vastly outweigh the negative. I have no issue saying that Super Mario Sunshine has aged well.