Given the recent news, broken by the awesome people at VGC, about Nintendo remastering most of their back catalog of Mario games, it’s safe to say that I lost my mind. Top of the list of the games that shaped my childhood that I’d like to see remastered is Super Mario Sunshine. Where do I begin?
A Totally Unique Mario Game
Super Mario Sunshine was only available for Nintendo GameCube. When I bought my console, I wasn’t originally that interested, but after seeing it on offer in my local WHSmiths I simply had to buy it, and I was so glad that I did. This is one of the most unique Mario games that’s ever been created, and I’d go as far as saying that Super Mario Odyssey wouldn’t exist without it. The way that the game subverted your expectations for a Mario game was initially jarring, but once you were in, you were hooked.
Instead of simply playing as Mario in yet another adventure where he jumps on stuff and throws Bowser about by his tail, you’re given a water-powered jetpack and fireman’s hose all in one. That backpack is called FLUDD, and it’s one of the most ingenious additions to Mario’s arsenal that’s ever been created. Using FLUDD, Mario gains the ability to hover, blast himself into the air like a rocket, wash away paint, and of course fire water as much as he wants.
This changed the game from being more of a platformer into being more of an adventure, with new areas and secrets that could only be brought to life because of Mario’s new abilities with FLUDD attached. It really does feel like a totally unique Mario game, and I’m so pleased that a whole new generation of gamers are going to get to play it.
A Setting Built Around FLUDD
Super Mario Sunshine is set on and around the tropical island of Isle Delfino, which is now an iconic location in the Mario universe. The place is being covered in paint by Bowser Jr, who has found a magical paintbrush that produces paint that acts more like toxic sludge. The paint transforms those who consume it, and turns locations into horrific jumping puzzles where the floor will kill you. After the initial mission that sees Mario clean up a location, it starts to become obvious that the developers really did built every place that you visit around the idea that this was going to be Mario’s holiday destination.
The water looks inviting to swim in, there are beaches to chill out on, lush jungles to hike in, and loads of places to relax. Sadly Mario won’t be doing any of this, but he does have FLUDD, who comes in handy in every area. The backpack must be filled with water regularly, but as long as it is it’s possible to do some mad stuff as Mario, like triple jump and them hover over to a ledge. The people behind the game used the limitations of FLUDD to design every location, which makes them all so different to any other Mario game.
In Mario 64, for example, levels are built to allow Mario to jump from one point to another, or explore within his limitations as a plumber with some serious leg power. With FLUDD, things are turned on their head. Mario could jump to a ledge, or he could use the jetpack to ascend to it. Mario can also just shoot stars off of their perches, meaning that there’s no need for him to climb up to it. Along these lines, every star was carefully thought out, and made to be more challenging to obtain because of this added mobility that players have.
Enemies and locations are all also built around aquatic life, some of which are really hard to figure out how to fight. I still remember the level with the shadow rays on the beach, it drove me mad for a good few hours. I also have fond memories of blasting Mario to the tallest point on Isle Delfino, where a cheeky star lay hidden, and got angry because I knew I’d never have looked for it there.
I can’t wait for you to play Super Mario Sunshine when it gets remastered.
Sometimes we like to write about games we’re excited about. If you enjoyed my excitable rant about a Super Mario Sunshine Remaster, check out some more excitement here.