The Gamecube was a console on which Nintendo carried out a lot of experimentation. Super Mario Sunshine was the main Super Mario game for the Gamecube and is, indeed, very experimental. Some dislike this game for being too different from other titles in the series, but I appreciate that it is very unique and actually find it very refreshing.
Many of the staples you expect from the Mario series are gone; almost all the enemies are new, the game is not set in the Mushroom Kingdom and there are lots of new elements which have been incorporated too. Toadsworth (who I love) and Bowser Jr. are both introduced for the first time and much of the gameplay is based around using FLUDD (a sentient water pump) to achieve different tasks, such as putting out fires and cleaning up gloop.
The story has also had a lot more thought put into it than the average Mario game; Mario, Toadsworth and Princess Peach all go on holiday to Isle Delfino, Sadly, Mario is arrested upon arrival for scattering the island’s ‘shine sprites’ and putting gloop and graffiti everywhere. Mario then has to use FLUDD (who he wears on his back) to clean up the gloop, find the shine sprites and clear his name. There are loads of tasks to do across several levels and each one will get you a shine sprite; the more shine sprites you have, the more the story progresses.
There are two things I like a lot about this game: it’s setting and it’s weirdness. Isle Delfino is a tropical paradise and playing the game really does convey the feeling of visiting a sunny seaside resort. The sun is always shining brightly, Mario sometimes has to wipe the sweat from his brow, the water sparkles in the sun and the whole place looks like a fairly realistic holiday destination… But at the same time, Isle Delfino is populated by Piantas who are weird hilarious looking blob people. Every existing creature that returns in this game has a new design as well and have all been made hideous. I love it.
The only real downside to the game is that it is occasionally frustrating; some tasks feel a bit unfair or are based on things that don’t seem to work properly, but overall I think this is a very good experience. I hope one day there’ll be another Mario game that experiments as much as this one. Although, let’s not give Bowser that voice actor again.
Buy it here.
(Don’t miss today’s Finger Puppet Show!)