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vert1 Sep 6, 2011 (edited Sep 6, 2011)

I gotta say that I've seen a lot of people slam Super Mario Sunshine as the worst Mario game, and I can't understand it. I can't understand how people can enjoy the slow gimmick-ridden world of Galaxy over Sunshine. I will be posting a review up for both of them eventually.

So which game do you prefer?

Idolores Sep 6, 2011

Sunshine. Galaxy is a fantastic game through and through, but I loved Sunshine just that much more. Don't know why.

Wanderer Sep 6, 2011

I wasn't a fan of Sunshine's assortment of beach levels (and hunting for the endless blue coins grew tiring). The only thing I *really* enjoyed about the game were the sadistic levels where the game took away the water pump. In contrast, I fell in love with Galaxy from the first level. Space is more my thing. wink

XLord007 Sep 6, 2011

I'm one of the few people who actually likes Sunshine, but Galaxy is in a whole other league.  Mechanically, the game is just so much more fun to play and the level designs are much more creative.

Qui-Gon Joe Sep 6, 2011

XLord007 wrote:

I'm one of the few people who actually likes Sunshine, but Galaxy is in a whole other league.  Mechanically, the game is just so much more fun to play and the level designs are much more creative.

We agree 100% again.  I enjoyed Sunshine, but the blue coins were ridiculous and it was FAR less balanced.

GoldfishX Sep 6, 2011

Honestly, neither held my attention and I gave both a fairly honest chance (I don't own a Wii, so I played Sunshine at a friend's house). I came into Sunshine with high expectations (it being my killer app for getting a Gamecube) and came away totally disappointed, a combination of frustrated and bored. It had one of the worst cameras I've ever seen in a game and I found it impossible to judge my jumping.

So my answer: Galaxy is better because my expectations were lower and I enjoyed watching my friend play it.

I'll take Mario 3 or Mario World anyday over these.

Amazingu Sep 6, 2011

I don't like Sunshine very much at all, although I will say that it's an excellent "summer game".
I personally think that Mario just works much MUCH better in short, unique stages than in large playgrounds, since that's where it has its roots. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Galaxy is the ONLY 3D Mario that actually captures the essence of the 2D Mario games.

Technique Sep 6, 2011 (edited Sep 6, 2011)

First thing's first, in response to a few posters: the blue coins are not necessary to collect. Complaining about optional collectibles is invalid.

Now, for my reviews of both:

Sunshine began, from the outset, with a slow pace that would deteriorate the player until its unsavory finale. The levels required a good deal of precise controls to heights that not many other 3D action games go to. The level design was interesting in that you could maneuver faster and further if the player were good at the controls. The only big problem was, of course, repeating levels, and to the greatest extent in the Mario series. This was offset by some levels having some entirely different places to go to, but it still wasn't enough to make up for the lack of levels. Some stars are too easy to get, some annoyingly difficult, so it's obvious Nintendo EAD didn't playtest it enough. The bosses were lackluster and annoying, the final boss was also dumb, but the cave levels kind of made up for this at the same time. Some activities required of the player are downright chores. Cleaning up an island, at times, is just as dull as it sounds. But regardless of how much the player does so, Sunshine was and remains a mess.


Super Mario Galaxy took things way past the basic standards of 64 with the linear level design and straddled an easy difficulty which was once unheard of in the beloved series. The result was a fascinating loss of potential. While the basic level design was consistently creative, only so many of its 'innovative' ideas worked. The marvelously distorted gravity everywhere was hampered by a lack of creative ideas to go along with it. While graphically appealing, most levels that could have redesigned very similarly without it. In the long run, it was only a movement gimmick, even weaker than the FLUDD from Galaxy, only it didn't require anything of the player. While the game didn't seem very repetitive on the surface, underneath everything the basic level structure wasn't composed of too many different aspects. The enemies were stupidly easy to deal with from the beginning, and requiring the player to eliminate them at various times cut the pace down a lot. Not to mention all of the easy platforming. Pretty much anyone could've walk straight into the middle of the game and completed a level without much difficulty whatsoever, save for the messy controls required by the Wii Remote. Speaking of the controls, the shake-to-spin move was the worst move added to Mario's arsenal in the entire history of the entire platforming series. It was only justified as an addition by the developer with the addition of enemies that could only be killed by the spin. Basically, every single enemy in the game slowed the pace down. Never was it so utterly boring to waste time with enemies as threatening as domesticated dogs. The bosses were more interesting, only they were also too easy to kill. Bowser in particular was a creative battle the first time, but repeated two more times with only slightly faster attack speeds killed his galactic luster. As did the difficulty everywhere else. The music was as equally forgettable as the rest of the game, with only two or three memorable songs, and the rest already remixed to death.


Since 5.5>5, Sunshine is the better game. Or, should I say, the less worse.

vert1 Sep 18, 2011 (edited Oct 7, 2011)

Super Mario Sunshine vs Galaxy: Basic Controls Video

Mario's movements:
Sunshine is the winner. The Gamecube analog stick is superior to the Wii's; Look at Mario tap dancing in place in Sunshine with a slight press of the analog stick. Mario also has the ability to strafe in Sunshine. With ability to dive Mario has more options out of jumping than Galaxy. Galaxy is hideously slow compared to Sunshine as Mario can't waterslide in space. Shooting starbits is the biggest gimmick move added to the Mario universe and has nothing on spraying water (which be done in multiple eye-pleasing ways: from a jump, on the ground while running, in a 360° sprinkler spin on ground, in a 360° spin in the air, while doing a side somersault, and while spinning from a triple jump). The default long jump is nice in Galaxy, but it has been far surpassed with Sunshine's turbo nozzle (more on this in advanced controls). Mario Sunshine allows you to perform multiple moves quickly one right after another making Mario more agile and more fun to control, whereas Galaxy feels like playing Super Mario Bros. without a B button.

Mario's camera control:
When it comes to the camera Sunshine is clearly the winner. Sunshine camera always allowed me to move it where I wanted. It also give you the option to smoothly follow Mario by slightly depressing the L-trigger. Galaxy's camera movement, on the other hand, is jerky and very often unresponsive. I find it best when playing the game to not even bother trying to adjust it.

vert1 Oct 6, 2011 (edited Oct 6, 2011)

I will post this and develop it more but Galaxy has way too much "lag time". I may even go so far as to call it "loading times". I may even start a new thread on these time consuming additions in Mario games. Here is what is annoying me in Galaxy:

1. Watching the cinematic of Mario flying to other parts of the stage. This is a cool intro into the stage, but it gets rather tiresome to watch this constantly in moving throughout a level. You have no control of your character and are essentially just watching a mini-movie of Mario flying. I would describe this as Mario being "Sonicified" in that we are now watching not playing anymore. This is the same sentiment Joshua Farrelly said in a review of Sonic 2 that: "the inaction of watching Sonic pretend to be a bank withdrawal in Chemical Plant or getting shot through cannons for ten seconds in Oil Ocean."

2. Going through multiple screens to access a stage.
(A) Long jump through boring hub.
=> (B) Enter door of said galaxy
=> (C) Click on blue star to cause Mario to slowly float in the air to enter galaxy stage selection screen
=> (D). Click on stage.
=> (E) Click 'Yes' to go to stage.
=> (F) Click the star mission to begin the stage.

compared to Sunshine

(A) Waterslide through hub to any stage portal in less than 10 seconds.
=> (B) Enter stage almost immediately by doing some action (usu spraying water on portal)
=> (C) Click the shine mission to begin the stage

SonicPanda Oct 7, 2011

I give the nod to Galaxy. It's not perfect, but it's the best 3D Mario after SM64 (still my favorite, for reasons I'll get into in a bit), and yes, that includes Galaxy 2.

The first strike against Sunshine would be the characters. Simply put, I don't like a single one of the new characters that appeared in Sunshine - Piantas, FLUDD, Bowser Jr, Petey Pirahna - they can all disappear forever and I wouldn't miss them one jot. Galaxy was, by comparison, free of such gibbering useless morons (which they later 'fixed' in Galaxy 2 by adding Lubba and Yoshi. Thanks, Nintendo).

Strike two is the sloppy camera throughout. I can forgive it for not being as refined as Galaxy's, but it should have been at least as good as 64's, and really, really wasn't.

But the final, most damning strike is that it was almost entirely joyless. Outside of the Dash Nozzle and Warp Zones (which handily took FLUDD and all its issues out of the picture), precious few of the in-game maneuvers or quests were genuinely entertaining, and most were just anti-fun. Also, God help you if you're a completist, because combing each stage eight times over for 240 Blue Coins puts any other so-called collect-a-thon game out to pasture. The greatest bar to getting every Star in Galaxy is a handful of fun, tough challenges. The greatest bar to getting every Shine in Sunshine is losing your Blue Coin notes.

As a side note, the most disappointing flaw that both Sunshine and Galaxy share are the divided 'chapter' structure. The greatest thrill of that first SM64 was realizing that when I entered the stage I could try for nearly any star I wanted; the first star I got in Bob-Omb Battlefield was actually the 'last' - the one where you free the Chain Chomp and he opens the gate for you. When I re-entered the stage and found I'd vaulted clear past five other stars in 'sequence', I felt a quick flush of satisfaction. Such freedom must make modern-day Nintendo itch, but it's a huge part of why 64 is my favorite.

But yeah, Galaxy is my pick between these two, no question.

vert1 Oct 7, 2011 (edited Oct 7, 2011)

What are you talking about? The camera in Sunshine is far better than Galaxy and SM64. You can't even zoom in and out with Galaxy's camera. I can make a video showing how ineffective the camera in Galaxy is -- there are multiple times when I am walking towards the camera (going back in the stage) and it does not let me adjust at all. This means that I cannot see any enemies coming my way (which happens in Resident Evil rarely).

The camera in Galaxy makes the game feel 2-Dimensional (which is good and bad). Nintendo copied SM64's camera and made it worse.

Super Mario 64's camera will have a mind of its own sometimes, but that is because it has the charm of being controlled by a Lakuta Bros. camera man. In Sunshine there is no Lakuta Bros. The camera is something that just belongs to the game, to the machine which has reached full operationalism in filming itself. In Galaxy, the camera is like space itself: dead.

Let us look at the history of the camera:

Super Mario 64
A) [Normal Camera] - Camera will follow Mario 
B) C-Button Left + Right [Directional Camera Control] - Camera can be adjusted to move to the left or right
C) C-Button Up + Down [Directional Camera Control] - Camera will zoom in or out
D) R-Button [Zoomed-in Camera] - Camera will zoom in close behind Mario

Super Mario Sunshine
A) [Normal Camera] - Camera will stay panned where it is left
B) C-Stick Left + Right [Directional Camera Control] - Camera can be adjusted to move to the left or right
C) C-Stick Up + Down [Directional Camera Control] - Camera will zoom in or out
D) Y-Button [Shoulder Camera] - Mario locks in place and the camera is fixed over-the-shoulder.
E) L-Button (Slight Pressure) - Camera will stay centered behind Mario
F) L-Button (Full Pressure) - Camera will snap behind Mario

Super Mario Galaxy
A) [Normal Camera] - Camera will track Mario somewhat or not at all
B) D-Pad Left + Right [Directional Camera Control] - Camera can be adjusted to move to the left or right
C) D-Pad Up [First Person Camera] - Camera will zoom into first person mode
D) C-Button [Directional Camera Control] - Camera will snap behind Mario


Jay Oct 7, 2011

You don't need that much camera control in Galaxy precisely because the camera is so much better. The camera in Sunshine is the deadliest enemy in the whole game.

vert1 Dec 10, 2011 (edited Aug 8, 2012)

Galaxy's only strength right now is its boss battles. They are much more challenging than Sunshine's boss battles. However, the enemy design and animations in Sunshine were much more lively than Galaxy's boss battles.

The problem with Galaxy is that it takes various elements from other platformers and makes a bastardized mishmash out of them. Bashing spinattack (note: this is without acquiring an item in 2D Mario games like the cape or tanooki suit)= Crash Bandicoot; the circular planets devoid of real platforming = Sonic Adventure Knuckle/Rouge missions; the collecting random pieces of junk (starbits) to unlock levels = Banjo Kazooie; the point n' click exploration = Probably some bs jrpg. The latter is really out-of-place and is not a welcome diversion from platforming.

The new suits are mostly terrible. Spring Mario is godawful. Hopping around slowly isn't fun to me at all. Donkey Kong Country 2 Springy snake got it right - high jump and quick speed when short hopping rapidly. When a suit feels a stepdown from normal Mario, that is a problem. Sunshine's rocket nozzle was height soaring done right. The Ice Mario suit is okay. I am letdown because I thought I would be doing some Prince of Persia wall running (except on waterfalls) with it. Bee Mario is another suit that was boring to use except on that one-star stage later on where you have to go through a whole level of wall-climbing with it.

The game developer has messed up the shell-propelling by giving you a brake mechanic. The whole point of the shell was the constant rush forward and the fragileness of bumping into something. So they messed that up. Nintendo's shell chucking and bomb-whirling additions are great though.

vert1 Mar 15, 2012 (edited Mar 15, 2012)

Galaxy had one of those 'this is so much better in Super Mario 64' moments when you realize that you can't dive grab the rabbit; you have to walk into em. Pitiful.

I guess the only thing left for to discuss is the level design, combat, overall difficulty and music&sfx in the games. In brief:

1. The level design is better in Sunshine. Nothing I've played in Galaxy compares to the secret level stages in Sunshine. Also, there are no obnoxious floating Mario dragathons in Sunshine. Simply put quality>quantity is why Sunshine wins.

2. Not sure on this one. Super Mario 64's combat beats both games without a fight. It was all about that jump kick. The horned bob-omb enemy in the lava world brings back great memories. I digress; Sunshine and Galaxy don't have any aggressive enemies that really push combat mechanics. So it would come down to boss fights. I am gonna say for right now that Galaxy has better combat moments.

3. Sunshine is a more difficult game. People complained about the difficulty so Nintendo dumbed down Galaxy.

4. I prefer Sunshine's music. Galaxy's hub music is so boring. Sunshine tunes are upbeat and far more catchy. I just don't like Galaxy as it doesn't really sound like a Mario game to me. This is a music forum, so I am curious if people here agree with this assessment.

I am gonna record footage and write out more indepth analysis for the above. Any other categories of comparison that I missed (like graphics) that you think should be covered, just shout out to me.

Amazingu Mar 15, 2012

vert1 wrote:

4. I prefer Sunshine's music. Galaxy's hub music is so boring. Sunshine tunes are upbeat and far more catchy. I just don't like Galaxy as it doesn't really sound like a Mario game to me. This is a music forum, so I am curious if people here agree with this assessment.

I can understand people feeling that Galaxy doesn't really sound like a Mario game.
The series has always been about catchy, jazzy tunes, and Galaxy is the first to go all-out orchestral.

That said, the original Galaxy is pretty much my favorite Mario soundtrack ever, and one of my favorite Mario games ever, period. Sunshine never interested me much. I hated the controls, the whole cleaning sludge gimmick was boring, the blue coins were incredibly poorly managed (they should have AT LEAST given some indication of how many blue coins can be found for each particular "quest" and most of the level design was just not interesting to me. The music was extremely forgettable as well.

As for Mario 64, it's impossible to deny that it was genre-defining, but I think it doesn't really hold up all that well today. Level design is rather bland and sacrifices fun, tight platforming sections for the sake of sandbox gameplay (the same goes for Sunshine, although that did have the challenge rooms you mentioned. The entire game should've been like that).

Galaxy and especially 3D Land manage to capture the tightness of 2D Mario games in a 3D environment much better than anything else.

vert1 Aug 30, 2012

Playing through Sunshine again and I've discovered that in Noki Bay the L-Button (slight decrease) does not work. What is weird is that it works in the level once you get to a Shine in the secret ancient lair for Shine 2. It also does not work during those timed "secret" levels. While not having the function in certain areas isn't hindering my play, it is kind-of disappointing. Not sure why Nintendo did not program it in. This is something magazines should have asked about during interviews.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that there are no huge jumps to do in Galaxy. I was doing a rocket jump across a huge section (to get to a high up point of another high cliff area that was far away and at a lower point than my location) that requires great accuracy and timing of getting to; it is so far away that it puts Mario into a skydive animation. I was pulling it off wonderfully the first times I attempted it (and it isn't required to get to this other side). After my first attempts I ended up messing up the timing and aiming (if you don't aim enough to the right you don't hit the "platform") leading me to serious frustration and deciding against doing it this hard way.

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