Review by NDS_Master

Reviewed: 08/15/05

5 Stars! Nah, It's more like 150


Super Mario 64 was one of the first 3-D games released, and it set standards for all of the 3-D games that were to come. With Nintendo’s new 3-D portable gaming system now on the market, Super Mario 64 has returned to once again set another standard, this time for portable 3-D gaming. Here we will look at the different aspects of Super Mario 64 DS, and see how those aspects shape this game.

Storyline: 8.0

Super Mario 64 DS has a good storyline, for a video game that is. It does not have too many details in it so it becomes more like a movie than a game, and it is not too simple. Players of Super Mario 64 will remember the storyline, but SM64 DS offers a unique twist.

When Princess Peach sent them an invitation, Mario, Luigi, and Wario headed off to the castle. When they arrived, however, they learned that Bowser had captured Princess Peach and stolen the castle’s power stars. To make matters worse, the trio was also captured by Bowser. Had Bowser finally succeeded in eliminating Mario for good?

There was but one hope left. Yoshi, who had been sleeping on the castle roof, woke up to find his friends gone. Soon Yoshi learned that Bowser had captured them. With this knowledge in mind, Yoshi set out to free his friends, as well as the kingdom, from Bowser’s evil rule.

Controls: 8.6

For the most part, the controls of SM64 DS are good. They are similar to those of the N64 version of the game. They give the gamer great control over the characters. On the mini-games, the stylus offers a great new way for control. The touch screen is responsive, and makes playing the mini-games even more fun.

Even with all of the great things about the controls of SM64 DS, there were a few downsides to the controls. The first one gamers will encounter is the use of the D-Pad. In the N64 version of this game, gamers used a responsive joystick to move their character around. In this version, a combination of the D-Pad and the Y button is used to control the character, as well as his speed. Since the D-Pad only has four directions to push, moving your character to just the right place is sometimes difficult. While this is a problem, after playing the game for an hour or so you get used to the controls, and they no longer bother you.

There is one more problem caused by the D-Pad plus Y button combination. Y is used to run, and it is opposite the button to punch, grab, slide, etc. Because of this, it is impossible to perform those actions while running, unless you move your index finger down to push the button. This causes some annoyance, but overall it is not that bad.

Other than the two problems mentioned above, the control scheme for SM64 DS is good. There are other minor factors are sometimes annoying. As you play more you will get used to some of the button combinations that are harder to pull off, and they will become second nature to you. Overall Super Mario 64 DS has a good control scheme.

Game Play: 8.9

Super Mario 64 DS offers some great game play, building tremendously on the game play that Super Mario 64 laid down. Many of the moves are the same, allowing you to maneuver through levels in order to collect power stars. There are also 150 power stars in this game, and that gives gamers plenty of ways to progress through the game.

Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario are also in this game, and this addition drastically improves the game play of SM64 DS. Each character has its own strengths and weaknesses. Also, each character has special moves that only it can perform. The ability to switch characters whenever you feel like it adds variety to game play. Some levels require you to play as certain characters, so no character will get completely left out.

The style of game play is similar to that of Super Mario 64. In each level there is a power star you need to collect. To collect the power star you will have to use various skills, from puzzle solving to plain old hand-eye coordination. The challenges between levels are varied, so it will not feel like you are doing the same challenge over and over again in just slightly different forms.

There are also mini-games in SM64 DS, and they provide a new method of game play. Mini-games only use the touch screen and stylus, so gamers will have to leave their button mashing skill behind when they play the mini-games. There are thirty-six mini-games altogether, and they provide several different types of challenges. Some are pure thinking games, others are card games, and some are skill games. The mini-games, surprisingly, are extremely fun. This game would be worth purchasing for the mini-games alone!

Super Mario 64 DS has some of the best game play on the video game market. People who have played Super Mario 64 will find the DS version to have the same great game play, with several exciting twists. The mini-games also vastly improve the game play. When it comes to game play, this game scores big.

Graphics: 8.6

While its graphics are not the best they could be, Super Mario 64 DS does have good graphics. There are some down points. Anyone who played the original Super Mario 64 will remember how blocky the characters looked, and in this game they still tend to be blocky, though not quite as much. On the other hand, the stages have been redone and have an improved look to them. With the new look and improved look, the stages look much better and are much less blocky than they were in the N64 version. Bowser has also been redone and looks much smoother than he did before. Despite a few flaws, the graphics of Super Mario 64 DS are smooth and overall very good.

Sound: 8.5

The sound in Super Mario 64 DS is simply excellent. The music and sound effects from the N64 version have returned. They sound even better than they did in the N64 version, thanks to the excellent speakers the DS has. There is also new music for the mini-games, and it sounds crisp and clear. Super Mario 64 DS makes vast improvements in the way of sound, providing an experience nearly anyone will enjoy.

Replay Value: 9.0

The replay value of Super Mario 64 DS is excellent. When you finish the game with eighty stars, you are actually just beginning. There are a total of 150 stars in the game, well past the amount you need to beat the game, and these additional stars provide for many additional hours of entertaining game play. There are also the mini-games to consider. While the mini-games technically last forever, there is little chance that anyone would play them forever. Still, with thirty-six mini-games to choose from and master, the mini-games provide many hours of enjoyment. Just like the N64 version, Super Mario 64 DS has great replay value, only this time it is much better.

Multiplayer: 6.7

For being Nintendo’s main release title for the DS, a system that has a great wireless multiplayer feature, Super Mario 64 DS did not offer much in the way of multiplayer. In multiplayer mode you can challenge up to three other people. Each person starts out as Yoshi, and there are four different stages to choose from. During the challenges you have one and a half minutes in order to collect as many power stars as you can, and steal power stars from other people. One power star appears on the screen at a time, unless a character loses a star when he is hurt. As time progresses and characters collect the maximum of five power stars per level, the game becomes more frenzied. The characters then must fight in order to see who will end out on top. With the short time limit, however, people rarely get to this stage of the multiplayer, and once they do their time soon expires. There is virtually nothing customizable about the multiplayer, making it the same thing every single time you play it. If you wanted to buy Super Mario 64 DS for the multiplayer, don’t. It only looks like the multiplayer was thrown in as an afterthought.


Fortunately, Super Mario 64 DS has plenty of reasons why you should buy it, even with the sub par multiplayer. If you have read through this review, you will have seen a fistful of reasons why this game is so great. Normally, I would end a review by telling how great this and this and this is, and how not so great this and this and this it. Then I would say that if this outweighs this, than you should buy the game. However, I am not going to say that. I am going to say that you should definitely buy this game. If you own a DS, this game should be in your collection. It has so many great aspects and it is so well made, there is no reason that you should not buy this game. Its main game is great, its mini-games are superb, and it is probably the best thing that you could blow $30 on.

Overall Score 8.7 of 10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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