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Dear Mario,

Please come to the castle. I’ve baked a cake for you. Now I’m totally inviting you over to share it with me, but I’ve a horrid feeling this afternoon is going to go all wrong. See, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but whenever you come over to visit, I get myself kidnapped. Maybe I’ve some latent desire to be with Bowser after all, and that’s manifesting as this seemingly interminable cycle of abduction. Like Stockholm Syndrome or something. And to be perfectly honest, I’m not really all that into moustaches or foreign guys. Oh well, whatever.

Yours truly

Princess Toadstool
Peach

PS: I licked one of the castle toads today, and now I’m seeing cash lying around everywhere. Far out, man.

super-mario-64-ds-01So, Princess Peach is abducted by Bowser. Again. Someone should nail that woman down or something, because if she’s not learned some basic self defence in nearly 25 years, she’s never going to. Anyway, it’s now up to Mario and his pals to jump in and out of a bunch of magic paintings, and rescue the dizzy strumpet. Again.

Of course, Super Mario 64 isn’t a new game. The game originally turned up on the Nintendo 64 system back in 1996, and its 3D open-world platforming was mind-bogglingly revolutionary at the time. Actually, Super Mario 64 DS isn’t quite a new game either, and I’ve no idea what dark sorcery landed it on my review schedule [that’s the Amulet of Delayed Release Dates +5 -Ed.]. I’ll concede that, as one of the only launch titles alongside the DS’s release, it might have been a killer game back in 2004 even. Hop, skip, and jump five years forward, however, and Toad Town, we have a problem.

“Some games just really, really need an analogue stick,” I concluded as Yoshi fell off the stupid plank for the fifteenth time, and I wondered what my DS would look like in ten thousand bits in the middle of the N1. “Super Mario 64 DS is one of them.”

There’s just no getting away from this, not least of all because, in a frequently precarious 3D platform environment, a high degree of precision is absolutely indispensable. Mix this up with the clumsiest camera control this side of the Blair Witch Project, and you’ve got a game that works hard to make you want to break stuff. Which really is a shame, because elsewhere, it’s a very fine game indeed. Avoid it unless you’ve come down with a terminal case of nostalgia or you’ve the indomitable tenacity of something really indomitably tenacious, like a supermutant velociraptor or a bit of popcorn stuck behind a tooth.

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