Back in 2004, when I first heard about Super Mario 64 DS, I was amazed. It felt like I was living in the future. The fact that a portable console now have the power to play a fully 3D adventure was almost unfathomable to me. It made me so excited to get a Nintendo DS and when I did and I played this, I was addicted. I was very deeply immersed in this game – much more, in fact, than I was in the original Super Mario 64. Though as this is a remake, I suggest that you read my earlier review first. Anyway, let me go over both the good and the bad changes that this version of the game makes.
- The graphics have been improved and every character and creature now fits the standard level of quality associated with Super Mario character designs. No more really blocky or weird looking characters.
- Luigi, Wario and Yoshi are all available as unlockable playable characters with a role in the story. This is awesome. Every character is unique and I especially enjoyed playing as both Luigi and Wario.
- There are several new levels sprinkled throughout the game. One drawing from Super Mario Sunshine, one from Luigi’s Mansion and one even has a returning boss from Paper Mario! Very cool references and throwbacks.
- The existing levels have had some new stars introduced – although some of them are, admittedly, at the expense of one of the originals. These tend to be the less exciting ones, however.
- There’s a selection of touch screen-based mini-games to be unlocked – many of them quite fun. These include quickly sorting Bob-ombs based on colour, drawing trampolines for falling Marios and spotting faces hidden in crowds.
- There’s also a simple, but enjoyable, multiplayer mode where you fight other players over stars in certain levels.
- This game was designed to be played with a + shaped D-pad, while the original was made to be played with a control stick. This means the original controls slightly better – but only slightly. This isn’t the game-breaking change I often see it made out to be.
- The powers of the Flying Cap, the Metal Cap and the Invisibility Cap are now divided between the characters – rather than just having Mario able to do them all. I wish all the characters could have done them all. They have enough other abilities to make them unique.
As you can see, the changes are mostly for the best and the negative ones are relatively minor. Personally, I think that this is one of the best games on the DS. On my first playthorough, combing through the game and getting 100% was really satisfying and picking it up now, it’s still very fun! For a long time, I considered it the definitive 3D Super Mario experience – though as of 2018, that has changed…