I'd never played a Mario game before this week (apart from Mario Kart once or twice, very briefly and badly; I mean the Mario platform games). I was a Sega girl (actually, I never had any console of my own, but played a lot of Sonic 2 on my friend Amy's MegaDrive, and she lent me her GameGear for a few months and I played that a lot.)
But Alex got a Wii for his birthday with Mario Sunshine, so we could play it 2-player, and we tried it out last night. (ETA: He did get Mario Sunshine for his birthday, but it was actually New Super Mario Bros Wii that we tried out. I got mixed up.)
One thing really confused me, which is that everything is a mushroom
. There are mushrooms which are enemies, and mushrooms which are power-ups. I see a mushroom coming towards me and don't know whether to grab it or run away from it. (I suppose jumping on it is good either way, but not always feasible.) In general I found it hard to distinguish between good things and dangerous things. (Friendly rideable dinosaurs and killer turtles?) I suppose if you've been playing Mario games since primary school it's obvious to you what's what and you find it hard to imagine not knowing. I don't think it's just familiarity which makes me say it's clearer in Sonic. (Robot animals bad, obvious dangers like spikes and lava bad, rings and TVs good.)
However, I really enjoyed it, and want to play it again! It's good fun in a similar way to Sonic, and since it doesn't have the advantage of nostalgia for me, it must be pulling its weight on its own merits.
There are a couple of things which I think it does better. It's nice that the power-ups like the propeller helmet or the ice flower also function as shields, i.e. you can take one hit and only lose the power-up. That didn't happen with Sonic's speed boots. It's also nice that you can replay levels. And it has a better 2-player co-operative mode. Sonic 2 had a fun competitive mode (split screen, graphics got squashed but it didn't matter) but its co-operative mode was a bit rubbish because as soon as Sonic and Tails got more than a screen apart Tails disappeared and became useless and reappeared after a delay. Mario Sunshine solves this by zooming out when you get separated, so you're both still visible (within reason). Obviously this is because it's a more recent game with a more advanced engine; for all I know the later Sonic games might have done something similar.
Anyway, really looking forward to playing it again!
Tags: games, mario, reviews, sonic