Let me get this out of the way: Generally speaking, I really love Super Mario Sunshine. The mechanics are great, the locations have a lot of variety, there’s a lot of great platforming segments.
But what drags it down for me, and for many other long time fans, is the very real fact that the game, more so than any other Mario game, feels unfinished. This can be seen in several ways, from weird glitches involve clipping issues, from wonky physics in certain areas (The Pachinko machine) and perhaps most notably, how the devs rely on blue coin shines to pad out the experience.
I fucking hate these things. They serve no purpose other than to waste your time. I would say that if you did not have a guide, you would have absolutely NO HOPE of finding half of these. As I understand it, there are three crippling design decisions that make this part of the game the WORST collecting sidequest in Mario’s history.
- The obtuse way in which some coins are hidden.Sometimes spraying completely unmarked areas will yield you a blue coin. This can include random hills, windmills, and other objects that are fucking everywhere.
- The inability to keep track of what coins you have. You have no way, in game, to keep track of what coins you have collected, or how many more there are to go in each stage. The game does give you a counter letting you know how many blue coins you have collected in each stage, but that’s next to useless on it’s own.
- The fact that THEY CANNOT BE FOUND ON MOST MISSIONS. There is a way around this (Just play Mission 8) But it wouldn’t be obvious to most players. Growing up, I always felt like blue coins were spread throughout all the levels and I would have to obsessively play each to find them all.
The real reason I never 100% Sunshine despite dealing with a lot of the game’s other hellish areas is because of these things. I would not be surprised if the Blue coins are a big reason as to why most people don’t really remember this game as fondly as 64 or Galaxy. To this day I genuinely don’t know what happens when you collect all 120 shines.
It looks like I’m going to find out.