Retro Review: Super Mario 64

With Super Mario 3D All Star's some classic Mario games are back and on the Nintendo Switch. On our podcast Game Bites, when this collection was only a rumor I had said I would pay full price for Mario 64 on Switch. Is that a Statement I will walk back? Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.


Mario 64 was one of my favorite games as a child. I played this game daily for almost the entire lifecycle of the Nintendo 64. I got all 120 stars without the use of the internet. At the time of writing this review, I have defeated bowser, rolled credits, and have 97 stars. There are so many stars left that as an adult I can't figure out, how did kid Brian do it?

When I first started the game and ran around outside the castle, even though there were no visual updates done to the game it still looked beautiful to me. It put a smile on my face that only grew bigger as I jumped into the first painting.

After getting a few stars my inner child was exploding with nostalgia and joy but that was soon taken back when the magic started to fade.

They locked themselves into a format of seven stars in each world which looking at it as an adult really hurt the game for me. Some of the worlds I loved and enjoyed my time in getting all seven but others went on way too long. Some of them didn't even seem all that well thought out. It almost seemed it was there just because they needed another star. Even now that my time with the game is complete there are a couple of worlds that I got zero stars in because I just did not want to play them. That's not what I was expecting to happen here. I fully expected to jump in and get all 120 again.

The game itself ranges from extremely obvious and easy stars to some that are extremely well thought out and fun to figure out, and then, of course, the ones that made no sense to me. There is a Toad in each room you go in and a few of them will give you a star if you talk to them. Why? There are also random difficulty spikes for some stars with the horrific camera controls to blame.

One thing that blew my mind as a kid and still blows my mind today is that Mario can lose his hat in some of the courses in various ways. If you lose your hat and do not get it back, your hat will remain in that course until you go back and get it. I remember when I was a kid, I lost my hat before going away for a week. When I came back my hat was gone and I couldn't remember where it was and I went on an adventure trying to find it and get it back.

The amount of stars in the game is high but it's nowhere near as high as the number of moons in Super Mario Odyssey. With that said out of the 120 stars in the game too many of them feel like reskins of different stars. Every world has a star for finding 100 coins and a star for finding the 8 red coins but that's not what I'm referring to. There are a few worlds where the first star is almost identical, get to the top of the map and fight a boss. That's only one example there are others that are extremely similar.

It was a funny experience for me picking this game back up. The game was basically exactly what I remembered but the joy factor faded so quickly this time around. Even in 2020 the game looks great and plays decent but it just failed to recapture all the magic.


1996 Brian

This is the best game ever! I play it all day and never get bored! This is what all games should be like going forward.

Score 10/10

2020 Brian

When first booting up the game the nostalgia factor is real and it's huge. The magic quickly starts to fade when you are forced to spend more time than you want to in certain worlds. Terrible camera controls that aged poorly make getting some stars and an absolute chore. This was still a fun game to revisit but it didn't pack the same punch it did for me almost 25 years go.

Final Score 5.5/10

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All