Universal acclaim - based on 61 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 60 out of 61
  2. Negative: 0 out of 61
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  1. 100
    A masterpiece of superior game design, infinite gameplay variety, creativity, and life-and it's got a water cannon…and a damn brilliant one at that.
  2. 100
    The variety of moves at the player's disposal only makes the accessibility of the controls more impressive. Mario is immediately responsive to any command and makes flips, spins, wall jumps, and other complex maneuvers easier than you would think.
  3. Play Magazine
    Mario Sunshine can easily rank as one of the greatest games ever made, perhaps topping the list. [Apr 2002, p.62]
  4. GameNow
    If you don't enjoy Mario Sunshine, your GameCube should be taken away. [Oct 2002, p.70 - A+]
  5. 100
    Clever, challenging, unique and packed with things to do. In short, it's what every game should be. Problems with the camera and some potentially maddeningly frustrating points are all that holds it back from perfection.
  6. Super Mario Sunshine can be completed in roughly 20 hours with nowhere near the 120 Shines hidden in Isle Delfino. Completionists will want to go back and get everything, and considering how addictively fun this game is, I wouldn't blame them.
  7. One of the best games on the Gamecube. Everything is fun, and there is never a dull moment.
  8. Combine the wonderfully fluid control system, level designs that ooze the 'one more go' appeal and the fact that it's Mario, and you've got one of the best games in a long time and certainly the GameCube's finest hour to date. [Import]
  9. The three-dimensional stability of the environment in Mario Sunshine is astonishing. At no time do the seams show.
  10. Nintendo Power
    Superb graphics, excellent music, clever layouts, funny cinema scenes and ingenious puzzles are among the many bright spots. [Sept 2002, p.160]
  11. The most impressive part of the graphics is the fact that mario can spot a coin or shine at the other side of the massive level. Becuse the game engine has amazing draw distance. It's really a sight to see.
  12. Step into the ultimate playground. When you're faced with a challenge or puzzle, you can be assured that the correct way to overcome it is also the most fun solution.
  13. Game Informer
    It can be argued that it is the best Mario to date. [Sept 2002, p.82]
  14. It only takes about half of the total Shine Sprites to finish the game, so those determined to collect everything will be kept busy for ages.
  15. An excellent title, and almost certainly the very best GameCube title to date.
  16. It may not be as innovative as "Mario 64," although I would argue the waterpack alone makes it innovative, but it is a challenging game.
  17. A better game than "Mario 64." Super Mario Sunshine is gorgeous on practically every level, from storyline to graphics, sound to gameplay, design to concept – nothing has been left to languish in an uncared for state, and everything is polished to perfection.
  18. Every Shine is a joy to collect, with hundreds of different tasks to carry through... These different tasks mean that the game always feels fresh, and you never know what to expect next.
  19. The controls, sound, graphics, gameplay… they are all fantastic. Miyamoto has another genius of a game. Super Mario Sunshine beats out Mario 64 by a mile.
  20. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    100 percent pure, unadulterated fun. The moment you start playing, everything just clicks - the same way it did with "Mario 64" - and you immediately know you're in for a hell of a ride. [Oct 2002, p.198]
  21. The outstanding puzzle design and tremendous challenge is what is going to make this game a huge hit, despite any of its flaws.
  22. If you don't mind the minor annoyance of F.L.U.D.D.'s voice or the occasional insignificant camera problem, you will fall in love with this game.
  23. 95
    It will take even the most hardcore gamers a couple weeks to complete 100%. Throughout the game there will be a total of 96 Shine Sprites to collect and 240 blue coins.
  24. 94
    My favorite single-player GameCube title to date. It's completely captivating from the start, and I can't rave enough about the tight controls.
  25. 94
    A little rushed at the end, with too few worlds to explore. Other than that, SMS is an absolute classic...This is pure, "Video Game Crack."
  26. The king of platform games has made a triumphant return, and he has shown that he has not lost a step.
  27. 94
    Mario Sunshine is utterly playable, and oozes quality. The addition of the FLUDD backpack was a wise decision, and really opens the 'fludd-gates' (sorry.) for some clever level design.
  28. Its gameplay is overwhelmingly addicting. We can't put it down – even after we've beaten it. It's definitely safe to say, Super Mario Sunshine is another classic installment in the Mario series.
  29. netjak
    I was truly amazed at the overall completeness of the game.
  30. There is so much in this package that any sane gamer should not even think twice about passing it up. Everything in the game just reeks of shine and polish and though it's flawed in some areas, it's still one of the best games to come down the line this year.
  31. Sunshine isn't the leap forward from Mario 64 that Mario 64 was from the previous Marios. But of all the titles that are available right now, on viable platforms, this is as good as videogaming gets. [Import]
  32. Amazing controls, a beautiful level design, and acute attention to detail, Super Mario Sunshine – as expected – is easily a title to be reckoned with.
  33. While this isn't an altogether epic quest or a ballyhooed Second Coming of Mario, it is simply a very fun game with ample difficulty in the right places, and that special elfin magic that keeps you playing long into the night.
  34. It's the most fun I've had on my GameCube so far, with the notable exception of "Animal Crossing."
  35. 90
    It's perhaps not as innovative and certainly not as groundbreaking as its predecessor, but it's bigger, better looking, and most importantly, more fun.
  36. 90
    Everything in the game just reeks of shine and polish and though it's flawed in some areas, it's still one of the best games to come down the line this year.
  37. Features a rich and colorful 3-D world to explore, with the best-looking Mario game visuals to date.
  38. Even three and a half years later, there hasn't been a more complete, entertaining, lovingly wrought platformer made for the GameCube.
  39. 90
    Mario instils a sense of longing for when the world was new to all of us. Our childhood bright and full of wonder. When we play in Mario's digital playground, we dream about our own.
  40. GMR Magazine
    Not quite as groundbreaking as "Super Mario 64." [Feb 2003, p.96]
  41. The sheer variety in level design and objectives will keep you coming back for more even if you think you're bored.
  42. It features playability by the bucket full, a superb main character and some of the most amazing graphical effects seen on any next generation system so far. It pulls you towards it like a moth to a flame and just like a doomed insect you can do nothing but succumb to it.
  43. A totally different atmosphere has finally graced the scene, and its certainly nothing to complain about, since the same old atmosphere has never been given a break from the start.
  44. Nothing short of brilliant. It has its fair share of highly frustrating niggles, but they are almost totally eclipsed by the real joy and excitement the game can conjure up inside you with such alarming frequency.
  45. Although not quite the revolution in game play or visual aesthetics that "Super Mario 64" was in its heyday, Super Mario Sunshine still stands as one of the premier platform games of this console generation.
  46. Although I lament the camera a bit, the Mario-less voice acting, and the linear stages there's too much to like, too much to enjoy about Mario Sunshine to really bash it.
  47. The only problem in this game that will cause you some grief is the camera. It flies willy-nilly all over the screen on its own, and a lot of the time it goes to places you don't want it.
  48. Small faults like the uneducated camera system, the immediate difficulty of the game and the somewhat below-par graphics are exactly what they are – small faults. Gameplay reigns king here and Super Mario Sunshine has that wrapped up nicely; what more can they offer?
  49. A great purchase for anyone of practically any age who loves fun video games, no matter the genre. Platform veterans in particular will find tough, addictive challenges that have been missing from jumping games featuring checkpoints and infinite lives!
  50. A great, open-ended platforming playground with some amazing visual effects adapted to a slightly updated gameplay and art direction.
  51. After waiting six full years for a true sequel to be released, a few gameplay tweaks and a graphical revamp is not enough to make up for the lapse of time between games. Nevertheless, Mario is back and I'll take what I can get.
  52. Super Mario Sunshine plays pretty much like it's 64-bit predecessor and controlling Mario has never been easier.
  53. The best platform game in years, but I can honestly say I didn't enjoy it as much as Mario 64. [Import]
  54. But its seriously problematic camera control, slightly washed out graphics and occasionally gimmicky gameplay make it hard to say that Super Mario Sunshine lives up to its heritage.
  55. While there are still a few glitches in the camera work, and not every segment is brilliant, this title contains enough moments of unrequited fun to keep you coming back for more.
  56. Hardly the groundbreaking title players have come to expect from the franchise, as it follows the blueprint of Super Mario 64 almost to the letter...Yet none of these issues take away from the fun most will have playing the game.
  57. Cheat Code Central
    The biggest problem with Sunshine is the game's camera, which will be responsible for numerous deaths and missed opportunites.
  58. A game that's generally pleasing but heavily reliant on a few new moves that seem more like gimmicks than gameplay innovations.
  59. The FLUDD system is used throughout the game and can either be why the game is so great or why the game is so mediocre.
  60. Entertainment Weekly
    We have to wonder why, after 21 years, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has decided to make problem-solving less important than button mashing. [Fall 2002]
  61. To say that the camera in this game is atrocious is like saying being kicked in the teeth kinda hurts-it gives the person an idea about how bad it is, but it doesn't even begin to describe the agony in detail.

Awards & Rankings

#2 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2002
#2 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2002
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1006 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Apr 21, 2011
    Super Mario Sunshine was my first and one of my favorite games growing up. I worked through it and always enjoyed the great look and feel.Super Mario Sunshine was my first and one of my favorite games growing up. I worked through it and always enjoyed the great look and feel. Unfortunately my memory card went corrupt and I had to start over, which I put off until recently. The game is just as good if not better then I remember and I just wish Nintendo had gone back to Isle Delfino in another main title and not just as cameos in sports games. The closest thing to it are some of the planets from Super Mario Galaxy, and there my favorite planets in the game. The game is just is full of charm. Go out and find a copy right now, then buy it and don't ever stop playing. Full Review »
  2. May 5, 2011
    It lacks the innovation of Mario 64, truth be told -- especially when it's compared to NGC masterpieces like Resident Evil 4 and Super SmashIt lacks the innovation of Mario 64, truth be told -- especially when it's compared to NGC masterpieces like Resident Evil 4 and Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, it's packed with enough flourishing colors and wacky gameplay to enthrall children and Mario fans of all ages. Pros: Rich, colorful visuals; beautifully structured environments; the gameplay is solid Mario platforming with a few new kicks. Cons: The worst controls and camera in a Mario game; lack of stages and some repetitious level design; the final boss battle is a bit too easy. Full Review »
  3. AndrewG.
    Dec 17, 2006
    The game looks beautiful, especially the water effects. But the bottom line is that I didn't want to continue playing it. I wasn't The game looks beautiful, especially the water effects. But the bottom line is that I didn't want to continue playing it. I wasn't hooked like I was with Super Mario 64. Full Review »