Super Mario Sunshine, it's been 6 long years since Mario's last tromp, and the wait has been well worth it, for all those starved platform gamers world wide the plumber has come home again, and in style.
Mario and Peach have gone on holiday, to Isle Delfino, upon arrival the runway is covered in a mysterious sludge, Mario been the hero he is investigates and finds a talking nozzle, the FLUDD, made by E. Gadds the man responsible for Luigi's Vacuum cleaner. The rest of the story goes like this, something has stolen the islands shines, which produce the wonderful sunshine the land over, the missing shines are connected with the sludge, and the mysterious man who looks surprisingly like Mario. The story is very lacklustre but it has its moments that are quite comical.
Mario still has the flare he had in SM64, his inherent ability to jump off anything solid is back, but this time added with the aid of the FLUDD, because of the FLUDD the long jump is gone, replaced with the hover nozzle which does just a good a job if not better.
Mario jumps, spins just as he used to, the reaction time between the push of a button an action on screen is nothing, the moves are so spot on that if something goes wrong, well lets not think about that, doing a triple jump into a wall kick into a hover into a slide has never been easier.
The levels are large, all are bigger than those seen in SM64, but the downside is that there are less of them, although they are packed with more things it would have been nice to have at least 1 or 2 more levels added in. Each level has its own theme, but unlike other Mario games where its, a Snow level, a Sand level, a Fire level, in this incarnation there is, water, water and a little more water. This is from far a bad thing.
At the beginning of each level a small intro of sorts will play which is a sweeping camera to the location where you should be headed for the next Shine, this is good because of the size of the levels, if you were left to your own devices you would waste many hours just jumping looking for the Shines, not that you cant do that anyway.
Apart from the Shines, each level has 30 blue coins which also need to be nabbed, because you trade 10 blue coins for 1 star, and in addition to that there is 100 and more standard gold coins to be collected for an additional coin, this may sound good and well but the blue coins can only be collected in a certain episode, and the 100 coins or more can be collected in each episode but most of the time it is fiendishly hard to do so.
The games difficulty towards the end is quite steep, giving a harsh learning curve to the uninitiated, although people fresh off Mario 64 may find it a bit easier for the most part this game is steadily difficult.
Mario Sunshine graphically is quite under whelming, but the games draw distance is huge, although things far off will lose definition you can still see them there, this is a great thing as there is little to no pop up in the game, as soon as you enter everything is there.
All the characters are varied and well designed, Mario has also had an outfit change, with his sleeves been cut off so that he is wearing a T-Shirt, although this is quite hard to see if your zoomed out it's a nice touch.
The main theme of this game is the water, and the water is stunning, when this game was released it had the most stunning water effects in a game, but has since been outclassed graphically by Star Fox Adventures, but that is not to say the water is any less brilliant, because it isn't.
This is the first Mario game to feature voice actors, although little of it is from the man himself, and when it is used it is rare, which is quite a shame because the game would have been helped a lot if everybody you talked to had their own voice.
Each of the locations features a nice upbeat song, which is great summer music, the musical score fits the game perfectly, and this is definitely a game to be played in the summer time because of the entire motif.
The Hubs music, or Delfino Plaza as it is known to the locals, features a strangely addictive sound track, which one day you might find yourself humming subconsciously.
The game features over 100 Shines to collect, collecting all of these Shines will leaving you banging your head in frustration towards the end as the stars become less and less easy to come by. Since Mario 64 had 100 plus Stars to collect it is only fair to compare, if Mario 64 took you long to get them all, then times that by two and you'll have roughly how long it will take you to get all the Shines in SMS, everything is so ingenuously placed that you will be in awe.