Game Review

Super Mario 64 DS Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

A modern masterpiece, marred

When the GameBoy Advance launched back in 2002, it landed with a port of Super Mario Bros. 2, not exactly the most fondly-remembered of plumber outings but one that still hit the mark by fitting the platform to a tee. Come 2005, Nintendo hit on the idea of launching the DS with a revamped Super Mario 64, showing off all the machine's powers and offering newcomers the chance to experience one of the company's greatest ever games.

Super Mario 64 was nearly ten years by the time the DS launched, so Nintendo set about revamping it for the 21st Century. Adding playable characters Yoshi, Luigi and Wario opened up the levels in new ways, with each gaining a power-up similar to the various caps in the N64 original. In fact, it's the first ever Mario game where the main man himself is an unlockable character, requiring the collection of eight Stars before you can even don the plumber's cap. Now that's innovation.

Once you've gained access to the main man, it all becomes pleasingly familiar: climbing trees, wall-jumping, backflip jumps and all the classic moves come flooding back, but also present the biggest (arguably only) obstacle to Super Mario 64 DS's true greatness: the controls.

In its original form, Super Mario 64 pioneered analogue control, granting total precision over all Mario's movements in true 3D for the first time. It was a true watershed moment for the industry, introducing the new standard in game control and genuinely revolutionising how we interact with games. Arguably the DS has gone on to do the same, yet here the two clash. Simulating the analogue thumbstick with the touchscreen was a halfway house, attempting to offer the same precise control that the DS's traditional D-Pad and buttons couldn't match. The biggest drawback to this control scheme is the lack of any feedback; although an onscreen target indicates how far you're pushing the virtual stick, it could never replace the tactility of a real thumbstick. The “thumbshoe" packaged with the original DS was an attempt to encourage this style of control, but there's also a good reason it never caught on.

The stylus controls work far better elsewhere, with the introduction of brand new minigames that quickly highlighted the new console's versatility and accessibility. With tile-flipping puzzles, simplistic card games and the infuriatingly addictive Shell Smash, the minigames were every bit as playable as the game itself and a great deal more enjoyable than most DS titles released in the console's first months.

Graphically, the game was more advanced than its N64 brethren, with more detailed textures and character models bringing the game firmly up-to-date. It's easy to be blasé about the original game nearly fifteen years on, but seeing it improved is a good reminder of what a great first 3D transition this was for Mario. It's almost a shame the Virtual Console release is so faithful to the N64 original; had it included DS graphics it would be an absolutely essential purchase.


It's a shame to criticise such an accomplished launch title for its controls, but Super Mario 64 was designed to maximise the freedom offered by analogue control and, though versatile, the DS's touchscreen simply isn't an adequate replacement. The wealth of minigames and size of the game itself still provide plenty of value for money and as one of only two Mario platformers on the machine you'd be hard-pressed to find many quality alternatives.

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User Comments (145)



TheLonelyGamer said:

Nice review James.
This game is an absolute masterpiece, but I think the N64 version was better in my opinion.
I would have gave SM64DS an 8/10 though.



Sean007s said:

This game deserves an 9/10 for those who haven't played the original before.
What a classic.
I love the DS version way more tho.



FonistofCruxis said:

I highly disagree with this review. I would give this a 10, it's superior to the original and is the best game on ds. I found the controls fine and it has more characters, more levels, mini-games and the graphics aren't ugly anymore. Imo this is the second best game ever with smg and ssbb drawing in first.



Cipher said:

Ouch. 7/10? Nuh-uh. I'd probably give this an 8.5 or a 9.0. The touch-screen controls aren't great, given, but they're good, and the D-Pad works brilliantly.



blackknight77 said:

"It’s almost a shame the Virtual Console release is so faithful to the N64 original; had it included DS graphics it would be an absolutely essential purchase."

I tend to disagree. As much as I like upgraded visuals, I really want my VC games to remain faithful to the original console even if it means slightly downgraded visuals.



Percentful said:

I never thought the controls were that bad. I actually liked them more than the N64 version. Great review anyways!
Oh, and I applaud you for including a picture of a yoshi and a chain chomp. That was awesome.




The original is better because the game is so analogue stick dependent.... HOWEVER once you get used to the controls it is a joy to play. Both the touch and d-pad controls are fine imho and in most user opinions I have come across. The reviewer hasn't given the games controls system enough time imho. Shame.

My lad has even progressed quite far with the controls schemes.

Still i respect your opinion and uderstand where you're coming from.

The game even has decent mini games. It is a clear 9 and a DS classic.



Digiki said:

A seven looks harsh to me. Aside from the controls it's a phenomenal game. I'd find 8 or 9 reasonable (I'd probably go 8 m'self, since this is an ambitous remake rather than a completely original game), since the controls are the only real issue, and they're not that bad.



Brainhost said:

I actually thought including the analog stick onto the touch screen was quite clever; I really digged the controls.



cheapogamer4life said:

Been waiting a while to pick this one up from Gamestop used. Soon as it goes under $30 im in.
BTW, good review



Digiki said:

Been waiting a while to pick this one up from Gamestop used. Soon as it goes under $30 im in.
It's that expensive?!

Why not just go with the VC version? The controls are perfect, so it's a better experience anyways.



Percentful said:

@digiki well, for one reason, this version is portable. For someone who doesn't mind the controls, the DS version is completely better. Better graphics, more content, multiplayer, etc.



V8_Ninja said:

Kinda agree with the score. While the analog stick will never find a replacement the game is still fun overall.



SuperDude95 said:

In my opinion, this game gets an 8 solely because the evil camera is fixed.
Also I haven't seen any game on the DS since launch that has better graphics than this other than the Nanostray series.



theblackdragon said:

i'm with pix; the controls were a serious turn-off. also, i think i maybe got halfway through the stars in this version and got bored... it's still sitting on a shelf collecting dust. though the graphics aren't updated, there's only one person to control, there's less stars to collect, and there's no minigames available, i'll take the original on VC over the DS version any day.



shake_zula said:

I never played this game on 64 (my parents bought me DK64 instead), but I tried playing it on the DS a while ago and I thought the controls were awful. I played it for about twenty minutes and never touched it again.



Ren said:

I agree completely with this review. Spot on. This game was built around that N64 controller and theres no better way to play it. The original, in it's day was the biggest single advance for video games that I can remember in all my days, but it didn't hold up well with DS controls which just don't feel the same at all. The mini games are fantastic, though, so it's worth it for those alone.



Digiki said:

For someone who doesn't mind the controls, the DS version is completely better. Better graphics, more content, multiplayer, etc.

Not really. Sure the controls are managable, but the original controls leagues better, you can boldly go out and do all sorts of risky maneuvers, that just often aren't worth trying with the DS as it's much more awkward to perform precisely.

The graphics mean little, and the added content is nice, but it's saturation. The extra content isn't up to the standards of the regular content, it's kind of nice that it's there, but it's nothing major as it's a bit of a step down from the core game anyways.



Croz said:

I never had a problem with playing with the d-pad. but i found playing other characters boring. Still a great game, all the mini games are ace.



CanisWolfred said:

Ugh, I REALLY wanted to like this game, but I simply could not. The terrible control scheme and problematic camera just made it more of a headache than it was worth. Once I was done with it, after a lot of screaming and yelling, I put it in the back of my collection and vowed never to play it again.



ReddLionz said:

For me, this game deserves at least a 9/10. I'd never played the original before, so this was a blast and it has great graphics. I actually liked the touch screen controls called "Dual Hand Mode." It took so long to get all 150 stars, but was so fun and challenging! Plus, you can play as 4 different characters! Quite possibly my favorite DS game.



advance_melee said:

My review - 6.7

The game is amazing on N64. It just doesn't work as well for the DS. Wasn' worth getting the DS version IMO.



Percentful said:

Not really. Sure the controls are managable, but the original controls leagues better, you can boldly go out and do all sorts of risky maneuvers, that just often aren't worth trying with the DS as it's much more awkward to perform precisely.

The graphics mean little, and the added content is nice, but it's saturation. The extra content isn't up to the standards of the regular content, it's kind of nice that it's there, but it's nothing major as it's a bit of a step down from the core game anyways.

You also have to consider that some people can use the controls on the DS version better. However, I just thought of something very important. SM64 on the VC costs $10. The DS version costs $35 new.



TwilightV said:

@theblackdragon: You mean you didn't get to the playroom? You unlock minigames by catching bunnies and getting keys from them. Some of the minigames are from NSMB, but there are exclusive ones too. :3

EDIT: Also, there's actually more stars than the original, with some hidden in new areas. >:3



HipsterDashie said:

I guess this game is like Marmite - some love it, some hate it. Personally, I found it a joy to play, and it enjoys a place in my game wallet which I carry around with me on a daily basis. I admit that the touchscreen controls are a bit of a dud, but the d-pad is wonderful, especially on the original DS or the DSi. DS Lite, less so, but it still works well. I'd give this game a 9.



cheapogamer4life said:

"Why not just go with the VC version? The controls are perfect, so it's a better experience anyways."
Still waiting to use my first Nintendo points card on the Wii. Dsiware is really all im into now. Maybe the wiiware version of Mario 64 and Cave Story will be my first DL's from the Wii shop.

"The graphics mean little, and the added content is nice, but it's saturation. The extra content isn't up to the standards of the regular content, it's kind of nice that it's there, but it's nothing major as it's a bit of a step down from the core game anyways."
This one of the main reasons im looking for the price drop from Gamestop. This version looks good, but all I hear about is the not so good controls. Kinda brings the value of the game down for me. A portable version of a classic mario game, can you really go wrong?



Jumpman said:

i agree with soulsilver IV this game is great, just stay away from the touch screen controls. 9/10



TKOWL said:

This is a 9/10, get used to the touch screen controls any it will flow perfectly.



theblackdragon said:

@TwilightV: i know there's more stars and that there's minigames in SM64DS. i think you misread the last sentence of my comment -- i was saying that despite the fact that it doesn't have the little added goodies and stuff here and there, i still prefer the original version of the game to the DS version. :3




Ugh. I can't stand the reviews on this site anymore. I understand everyone has their own opinion, but reviews are supposed to be as unbiased as posssible, and many reviews here aren't that way. This site is a decent news site, but not very good as far as reviews go.



pixelman said:

Bye unbiased I suppose you mean they're supposed to give every Mario and Zelda game a 10/10?




Not at all. This game and most other mario and zelda games do not deserve a 10/10. As a matter of fact, very few games do.

(Oh and it's By not Bye. Sorry, It's the English Major in me )



maka said:

To me the controls were great. Not as good as the real analog stick, but the thumb thing was a great way to substitute an analog stick for the DS. In fact I've kept the one that came with my original big DS as modern DSs don't come with it anymore and I still like to play this game from time to time

BTW, the thumb thing worked very well with the Metroid Prime DS game and I wish more games that used it were released. But well.



pixelman said:

Sorry, slip of the ring finger.

I've seen a good deal of variety in scores on this site. I fail to see how a 7/10 on a Mario game leads you to believe that the reviewer is extremely biased. The controls hugely marred the experience for me and many others, and obviously for the reviewer too. Poor controls can very often ruin an otherwise great game, which is why I think the score is justified.



CanisWolfred said:


I think you're confusing reviews with news. News articles have to be as unbiased as possible(but there will always be some bias), where as a review is based mostly on personal opinion. An unbiased review would lack any and all opinion, and would therefore be worthless to the reader, whom are assumed to be reading said review in order to grasp the reviewer's opinion of the game. IMO, the reviewers here tend to do a fairly good job at it. I know there are some here and there who need to work at it, but all in all, I'd say this site does a far better job with the reviews than with their news articles, which can be more biased than some of the reviews.



theblackdragon said:

@ATZF: a review is by its very nature going to be biased to some degree, as it's one person's opinion, and no one's forcing you to take NL's word as law. it's just another viewpoint to help people decide whether or not the game in question is for them. :3



JebbyDeringer said:

You can't have a completely unbiased review. 7 is probably a lower score than it deserves but to the reviewer the control scheme was a deal breaker. If I played a game with controls that were terrible I'd have a really hard time giving it a high score unless I was able to get past it and still really enjoy the game. Still if Mario 64 deserves a 9 or 10 then a 7 is really low for the DS version which is essentially the same with more content. I find harsh reviews are actually way more helpful because they bring out all the negative points. In some instances they might be considered overly emphasized but they are still quite valid and you can decide if those issues can be looked past.

Mario 64 is one game I never owned back in the day though I played it a fair bit. It's strange because I have a bunch of N64 games and that was never one of them. I think I'd hold that game higher if I played it more at the time but most of my playing was 6 or 7 years later so while excellent I don't have any real attachment to it.



Rensch said:

Still a great title. It's too bad Nintendo didn't for a more analog-stick-like solution such as the PSP has. 3D platformers don't play very well on DS because of it. Still an essential if you are looking for a cool DS platform game, though.




I shall repeat myself this time highlighting a few key words.

Ugh. I can't stand the reviews on this site anymore. I UNDERSTAND EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN OPINION, but reviews are supposed to be AS UBIASED AS POSSIBLE, and many reviews here aren't that way. This site is a decent news site, but not very good as far as reviews go.
P.S. I don't mean to offend anyone here.



theblackdragon said:

@ATZF: putting 'as ubiased[sic] as possible' in all caps doesn't make it any more true. a review is one person's opinion on a game. opinions are naturally biased. i don't know how to make it any clearer.



Nintendork said:

Spot on review. The game's great in all aspects except the controls which, although is just one problem, REALLY limits the game in actual playability.



CanisWolfred said:


Do you even understand what it means to be unbiased? It means to not let your own personal opinion show up in your work. A review is an opinion piece. An unbiased review would not work. A review is supposed to be biased. If you don't like it, stop reading reviews.




@TBD. Yes reviews are going to be be biased, but the reviewer should aim to not let his biases completely overpower the review of the game. The idea of a review is let the readers get a basic idea of how good the game is, not to tell the readers your own personal opinions. People tend not to care about someone's (expecially a stanger over the internet) own personal opinion.



DJ_Triforce said:

Just don't play it with the stylus. It's way better to use the D-pad and the buttons. The functionality is great. The game is great, and dare I say "better" than the original. They did a great job recreating it, and adding more features.

I would give it, without a doubt a 9/10. Fantastic game! Buy it and you'll see!



theblackdragon said:

@ATZF: "The idea of a review is let the readers get a basic idea of how good the game is, not to tell the readers your own personal opinions."
so you're saying a review should ignore a game's flaws and just talk up its strengths, then? how would that be doing any kind of service to anybody if no reviewer ever brought up the bad points about a game and attempted to describe how they hurt the gameplay? when i read a review, i want to hear everything the reviewer has to say about each aspect, whether they loved or hated the graphics, the music, the controls, the general gameplay, the plot, whatev'.

also, especially regarding games like this with a plethora of reviews scattered about the internets already, it's easy to find and compare a few reviews, both favorable and unfavorable to the game, and see what multiple people had to say about it all. :3



Odnetnin said:

Good review, messy comments.
Though I prefer the original by quite a margin, this one is still great as far as DS games go.




@TBD. No. That is not what I am saying. When i said "how good a game is" I didn't mean that a reviewer can't talk about the bad aspects of the game. After all a game could not be "good" at all. For example in this particualr review the reviewer is obviously biased against the control system of the DS when used for 3D platformers. If I hate how RPG's play on the PS3, I am not going to go ahead and review Final Fantasy XIII. As far as 3D platformers go on the DS, this is one of the best (if not The Best.) However it is obvious the reviewer dosent like to play 3D platformers on the DS, so why would he review a 3D platformer for the DS?



Pxtl said:

Not only did the controls get worse, I also think that the character-switching mechanic of M64DS was nothing but detrimental to the game. It didn't make the game any more fun, but added another layer of annoyance since you had to ensure you had the correct character to solve certain puzzles, or spend your time chasing caps.

M64 was a fantastic game - quite possibly the best 3d platformer ever - but being the first, it had a lot of bad gameplay experiments (like the hard-to-find switch blocks or the hat-stealer). This game only added more failed experiments.



metaknave said:

I don't know about a seven. The controls were just enough to do everything you could on the 64, and walljumping seemed easier here, too. It also has a longer playtime, especially those who missed out on the original. I'd put it around a 8.2. (By the way, the original would get a 9.4)



Supermegaman said:

To people who have never played the original, this game is awesome! easily an 8 or a 9 our of 10.
And why would i spend 10$ to get the VC one now that i already have this version, and it would make me completly hate this version like many of you guys?
Maybe ill get the original eventually and hate this games controls forever, but for now, this game is awesome



Percentful said:

Why are you talking to yourself, ATZF?
That last comment was stupid. You can't really be biased against controls. If the game has bad controls, the game has bad controls. Also, you must not know much about James.
EDIT: Ah, I see you fixed it.



CanisWolfred said:


And conversely, a reviewer doesn't give two $h!ts what a bunch of internet strangers think, either, so he's just going to tell it like he or she sees it, just as it says in their job description.

Your idea of what a review must be sounds more like a game description than an actual review. Again, I suggest you just stop reading reviews all together, they don't seem like your thing.



cheetahman91 said:

I like this game better than the original for one simple reason: the camera. The minigames are a pretty good time waster too. As for the controls, they aren't THAT bad. The original still has controls that're leagues better though.



theblackdragon said:

@ATZF: again, bias and opinion go hand-in-hand with reviewing, though i think you're off-base trying to assume he would hate all 3D platformers on the DS just because he wasn't happy with the control scheme here in SM64DS.

edit: you've had your say, ATRUEZELDAFAN. find something else to do.



Ren said:

The review is fine. Sounds like many of you just never played it on the original N64. It was an easy 10 especially in it's day, but even now is a great game. The review is for a modern port/update of it, and it is reviewed as such, so it's very fair indeed. I would give it the same score.
It's probably my all time favorite game, but the controls just weren't meant for DS. The extra content is great but the core game feels stunted without the analog. If the DS is your first time with it you won't understand that and you probably just got used to it as is and loved it; but you have to recognize that it's not the amazing thing that the original was when it came out so it gets graded as such, why is that such a big deal?



accc said:

The game controls perfectly fine with the d-pad. The problem wasn't with any of the DS's limitations, it's simply that Mario 64 has aged horribly.



Damo said:

I'm guessing that the vast majority of people complaining about the "harshness" of this review (7 out of 10 is an above-average score) weren't around to appreciate the situation when the game was originally launched on the N64. Mario 64 without the N64 pad is like Street Fighter II without six buttons.

The game was designed around the pad and without it, it simply isn't as good.



CanisWolfred said:

Also, you must not know much about James

Words for truth. This is honestly the first review he's written that I can honestly say I agree with. I know James tends to go off on controls quite often, so they're obviously important to him. In my opinion, I think that's a good quality, as it at least makes him consistent. If the only complaint he throws at a game is with its controls, and I know those controls won't bother me, then I can assume I will really enjoy the game.

Now, the reason why I can agree with him that the controls are sub-par in this case is because I honestly feel that the game doesn't compensate for the more limited control scheme, which often makes it feel as if the game is trying to force me to something I am physically incapable of doing. Rainbow Road was pretty much unplayable because the D-pad's wide turning radius and the touch screen's imprecision, not to mention the wonky camera, meant that I was constantly falling off the stupid magic carpet things and missing very necessary jumps. Of course, if the problem were just with me, it wouldn't have been much of a problem, I'd just get back on the horse and try again. But unfortunately, in this case, it has more to do with the game, and I can't really do anything about that other than stop playing, unless I just want to be pissed off for the next 3 hours.

Okay, I'll admit, for me controls and good cameras are super important in platformers, since much of your performance hinges on them, and since I never really grew up with older 3D platformers(I played some on the N64 and never really liked most of them. Rayman 2 and Chameleon Twist were good, but that's about it as far as I can remember), I grew up with PS2 and Gamecube platformers that, in my opinion, had pitch-perfect camera and controls. Very rarely could I connect a death with a problem with the game, and even then it was usually avoidable there after. I understand that a lot of people who grew up with N64 and PSOne-era 3D platformers don't mind less-than-perfect controls, which is probably why a lot of people would disagree with the idea that Super Mario 64 DS is a lesser game because of its control scheme.



Corbs said:

Truth is, this is a very mediocre version of a legendary classic and the controls on the game are not good at all. Using a digital d-pad to control this game after years of using an analog stick feels almost broken at times, not to mention incredibly clunky. I thought a 7 was fairly generous, myself. If you want to enjoy this game the way it's intended to be enjoyed, play the Nintendo 64 version and avoid this one.



Linkuini said:

Out of curiosity, how many of the people complaining about the controls tried out the stylus-driven "Dual Hand Mode"? To me, the fact that I often had to re-center the onscreen target put it just behind a good analog stick, but I found it far preferable to the control pad scheme. I say a "good" analog stick because the one on the original N64 was so awful that it made my thumbs hurt, and now mine is so broken that I have to use my whole palm just to start swinging Bowser around.

I agree that the thumb pad that came with the original DS was a dead-end, though; it was just too tough to reach across the touch-screen with it. In fact, I like Damo's comparison: Street Fighter II was playable and popular on home consoles, but a real joystick and six face buttons would really heighten the experience. Anyway, I personally prefer the DS version of this game for its added content, but if you really must have the best possible control scheme, buy the VC version and use a Gamecube controller.



brandonbwii said:

@The Fox
It's a classic Mario game, what do you expect.

Yeah, 8/10 is what I would have given it. The controls took some getting used to and I wasn't a big fan of some of the additions. The new characters were largely unnessesary imo. I warmed up to the controls with the thumb strap and liked it almost as much as the original.



Moco_Loco said:

I lost all desire to get the more difficult stars when I started hitting harder areas like Rainbow Road. I found it impossible to get the precision I needed with the control options on offer. Don't get me wrong, I thought the game was great, but it also convinced me to focus on buying games built for the DS from the ground up.



Raylax said:

Really? Controls are bad? The touchscreen controls are pretty poor, yeah (if the target thing didn't move when you reached the edge of it, it'd have worked better, imo), but there's nothing at all wrong with D-Pad control. In fact, I was suprised at how precise they managed to make those, making turning somewhat gradual to emulate the finer degree of control from an analogue stick. Yes, an analogue stick would have been much better, but this is a game designed to show that not only can it play games of greater calibre and scope of the N64, but also deal with the lack of analogue stick, which I think it managed quite well. It's by no means perfect, but it's far, far from broken (@Corbie). I got all 150 stars in this without any trouble (or at least, the same amount of trouble you'd expect from any other 3D Mario), at no point through doing this did I think "wow, damn, I could've done that if the controls didn't suck."

Coupled with the vastly improved graphics and sound, the extra stars and characters, and the brilliant minigames, I'd argue that this is the definitive version of Super Mario 64 as opposed to an inferior port. But a port is, at the end of a day, a port, so most here has been seen before in the original. I'd give it 8 or 9 out of 10.



rhythmheavenfan said:

Corbie couldn't have said it any better. I'm sorry to the people that are mad at the 7/10 score, but the game is simply egregiously impaired in the controls department to the point where it certainly can't be disregarded. Everybody should do themselves a favor and play the game in its superlative form: on the N64. I'd give the game an 8/10, myself, simply because the game is so good in its own.
Just to bring up though, I think that Super Mario 64 has always been a tad overrated. Galaxy tops it in almost every way possible, and is obviously the superior game, at least in my mind.



HipsterDashie said:

Raylax sums it up perfectly.

Also, do you think we can expect a port of Sunshine for the next portable from Nintendo?



Objection said:

Personally, I didn't like the DS controls either although they were sufficient, they were never quite confortable. I liked the improved graphics, stars, characters and minigames though so I enjoy this in both forms.

"When the GameBoy Advance launched back in 2002" It came out in 2001 in Japan and NA at least. Did Europe/Australia have to wait until the next year?



Knux said:

Boy, the comments on this review make the comments on the Twilight Princess review look like child's play. I completly agree with Prosody's review, the simple fact that you have to use the D-pad or touch screen instead of an analouge stick is just wrong and completly changes the game. Plus the extra characters make the game feel gimmicky. I feel like most people disagreeing with the review have never played the original or not nearly as much as the DS version. The N64/VC version is a masterpiece, and the DS port is a medicore port of a masterpiece.



SilverBaretta said:

I never thought the controls were a problem in any way. I would wholeheartedly give this a 10, even if the fact that Wario kinda sucked was a drawback for me.

@Hyper Knuckles: I beaten the original, and I have to say that the DS version actually is better, mostly due to the fact that the jumping is more floaty and feels like the Super Mario Bros. 1 and 3 floaty jumping style.



Raylax said:

@Hyper Knuckles: Played the original to 100% completion twice - both before and after playing SM64DS (and as it happens, only played the DS version to completion once, although I may replay it again sometime) - and I stand by completely what I said in my previous comment (#81). SM64DS improves on the original in all regards other than controls, but that really isn't a deal-breaker for me. It's certainly not worth hammering off 2 or 3 points for controls that aren't quite perfect but still work pretty damn well (assuming the original is considered a 9 or 10 out of 10 game).



KeeperBvK said:

I've played through the original and the port various times and I love them both. SM64DS might not have controls as good as in the original, but using the thumbpad from the original DS still is more than enough to fully enjoy this masterpiece, which has become even better thanks to the new stages and minigames. Easily a 10 in my books and probably still the best game I've played on he DS so far.



TKOWL said:

The only really bad thing about this game is the versus mode. The minigams are fiendishly addictive, though.



Amrulez said:

Please this game is maybe one of the top 2 or 3 Nintendo games of all time. A 7 is a joke even without the analog controls. The game is huge first of all. This game with updated graphics is still better then almost any of the platform games to be released ever since it came out. Its an 8 at bare minimum and probably a 9 on the DS.



MetalMario said:

The original is 506093498954986 times better, but this one was good too. The controls could have been tweaked better though, IMO.



Kid_A said:

To be honest, I never once had a problem with the controls. Not even once. I thought this improved upon the original in every way (from a gameplay standpoint). While the D Pad controls aren't preferrable, I never felt like I was wrestling with them. Objectively speaking this is a 10/10 game. I can't think of a single problem I had with it.



TwilightV said:

I've played both and I find the 64 version to be way easier than the DS one. During my first playthrough I even had trouble finding one of the hidden stars! And the 64's final battle caused blisters on my thumb, a problem that was not found with the DS's touch screen... >:3

Edit: Of course, that battle was also easier with the Classic Controller. (:3



Capt_N said:

The game is pretty good, but the controls are poor-terrible. It shows why N needs to innovate, if necessary, to create a handheld control setup that operates much akin to a thumbstick. I think this remake was done, b/c N always tries to have a Mario as a launch title for their systems, & I feel SM64 was bound to get remixed anyway, as it seems N wants to always profit from some form(whether it be a pure port/remake read: port, OR remake) of their (home)console main Mario titles. I wonder how this would work w/ a portable Ocarina of Time, or Smash 64?...



naut said:

Boo. Boo I say! SM64DS was an awesome title. I used the D-pad, and sure the analog stick 10x better, but they made it work well. 9 at least.



Knux said:

For the love of Nintendo, why all the hate over a review? Considering that the game is more gimmicky (like how Luigi's and Wario's cap powers were taken from Mario's) and the D-pad controls are inferior, this is a fair review. You guys seriously are going to praise a game that requires you to use the Y button and the D-pad to run!? Should I go into how Luigi's back flip somersault made the game a lot easier in some places than the original? The coolest thing about the game is playing as Yoshi, it is the closest thing you will get to playing as Yoshi in a 3D platformer. Morever, the extra courses are nothing much but a bunch of extra mini-courses that have one to two stars (and occasionally a new boss battle). This is good enough if you want to play something Super Mario 64 related on the road, but it cannot beat the original masterpiece. This review is pretty fair, so why the needless bashing guys? Just because a game has Mario in it does not mean it is an instant classic. New Super Mario Bros. DS was a good game, but it is NOTHING compared to the original classics (NSMBW came real close though). The ultimate DS Mario game was Mario & Luigi:Bowser's Inside Story hands down.



DK_vs_KK said:

Of course the DS version of Super Mario 64 could never translate it's tight controls over to the DS, but Nintendo did the best they could to make each of the control options easy to use.

I played through the entire game, and frankly, I didn't notice any control issues. For those of you who haven't gotten used to them, just get the original Super Mario 64 on Ebay or the Virtual Console iteration.



Kid_A said:

@Hyper Knuckles
We all have different opinions, my man. I think the review is fair, I just disagree with it. I think that this game surpassed Mario 64 in nearly every possible way--it improved upon a masterpiece, so in my book that makes it a masterpiece. Many complain about the controls, but I never had a problem with them--the D Pad isn't better than an analogue stick, but it worked just fine in my opinion. I never once stopped and thought "man these controls are bringing the game down". Now, the touch screen controls DO suck, but since they're optional, who cares? (Oh, and as for your comment about using the Y Button and D Pad to run...how else were they supposed to do it? You can't have Mario running at full sprint all the time--there are times when you need to walk slowly. I thought it was a smart idea, to be honest)



Deviant_Mugen said:

@Raylax: I completely agree, though I personally give this game a 10...

The D-pad controls are perfect and I had no trouble getting all 150 stars...



Ren said:

the point is this game was not made for the DS, we all know that. It is an adaption. The D-pad controls are not horrible, fine, but they take some getting used to because the movements were all designed around that analogue sick and the sensitivity of it to pivot around at will. It's still a great game no on is arguing that but this is not meant to be a review of a great new Mario game, it's Mario 64, and it simply cannot be played the way it was designed to be played the first time. There are nice extras but that is what this review is about.

I think they did what they could do with the controls, what other option did they have? Still it's not the same experience to me, so I would give it a similar score myself, and if I hadn't played it before I'd still play it if I saw it got a 7. 7 is by no means a bad score. same thing happened to the poor ports of Phoenix Wright games and I totally agreed (though they didn't have any cool mini games added).



Warioware said:

I wasn't too impressed when I first played this on the DS but I didn't want to spend Wii points on a game I already owned in a different form. Eventually I gave in on a bored afternoon and got the original from the VC and it was like a different game - even stuff like the race with the penguin just felt so much better on the N64 version.

Still a decent port but the original is better.



James said:

Hey guys, thanks as always for your passionate comments! I'd just like to say I played this game all the way through to completion, sinking hours and hours into it, so I think I got a good handle on how the controls work.

As for my bias against 3D platformers on DS, I play all kinds of games on all systems, and I certainly wouldn't consider myself biased against any kind of game. However, I do value a good control system above other areas, for sure. This game for N64 revolutionised game controls: here they let it down.

Again, thanks as always for every response whether you agree or disagree, and thanks for not making it too personal



Bass_X0 said:

I enjoyed it when I first got it on launch day and found the controls to be okay. Then I stopped playing it for ages. When I eventually came back to it, I found the controls to be horrible and I just couldn't enjoy playing the game at all leading to me selling it.



Vinsanity said:

I really wish that this version of Mario 64 would release on a console with a damn analog controller. The touch controls here are TERRIBLE. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have the "virtual analog stick" (never a good idea anyway; look at the iPhone) slide around while you play is stupid and should've been fired from Nintendo. At least lock it in place - frickin' Rayman 2 DS had the good sense to do that (and worked a lot better; poor Rayman 2 DS got critically slammed. I don't know why. It's at least as faithful a port of that excellent game as the PSX version). But Mario 64 DS is incredibly unpleasant to play because of the controls.

Still, the core game somehow manages to shine. And it looks better than ever and has way more content and bonus features. The extra characters are awesome. But the best thing about the cart is the multiplayer mode; all the minigames here are super, super fun and - unlike the main game - WORK with the touch screen. A good launch title.



JimLad said:

Well at least they tried the idea (virtual 3D stick)
I liked it personally, but the majority obviously didn't so...

Point of consideration: I was playing with the thumb strap that came with the original DS. The stylus does NOT work in this way at all.



Brennan said:

Great review! 7/10 fits perfect. I love the original, just started the DS version but it is okay so far, just trying to get used to the controls.



RyuZebian said:

First Nintendo game I ever played was SM64... But I played it at a friends house, so I never finished it. The DS version was my chance to do so, and so it was my second game for the console. Great game, but like everyone else I think the d-pad wasn't too good...



primeris said:

N64 version 11/10
DS version 7/10, propped up thanks to new content.
The controls are just not precise enough, and require too much conscious attention.



Stargazer said:

I played through the whole game with the touch screen controls, and after a short learning curve I prefered them to the N64 controls.

They are fun, precise, and work VERY well. If you can't grasp them, it's not the game's fault.



Klapaucius said:

My first DS game and still one of my favourites. The graphics don't seem to have been bettered even so long since launch, and the gameplay is awesome (well, it is SM64, after all).
I used the D-pad, not the touchscreen. Had no problem with controls, for me.



rosemo said:

I had no problem with the controls either. Beat the game with 115 stars. It was my first DS game; my brother bought it for me for Christmas.



primeris said:

The controls can indeed be super accurate, but learning how to use them properly requires more skill than the average player has time for.
The original controls were perhaps no more accurate, but they were way more intuitive.



jaw51 said:

This was also my first DS game, and I loved it, but not as much as the original (the original is my favorite game of all time!). It is true that the controls weren't very good, but I definitely would have given it an 8/10.



Willy105 said:

I agree with the 7/10 if you played the original.

Considering we got IMPROVED versions of the NES and SNES games on the GBA, no reason we should like an INFERIOR version of Mario 64.



Rerun said:

I only had control issues when flying. But otherwise, the D-PAD was fine.



Bobpie said:

My first ever DS game!
Harsh review, If you had never played the original, it was great. 7/10 at least.



StarDust4Ever said:

Luigi's spinning backflip made for some of the most asinine shortcuts never intended to be used in the original game. Climb up somewhere high enough with Luigi's cap, and you could do a backflip glide to almost anywhere in the level. Take "Rainbow Ride" for instance. Ditto for usage of Mario's "Balloon" ability in vertical levels such as "Tick Tock Clock". In every level, changes were made. The modifications made in some instances were refreshing, but in others annoying. My favorite new area was the island stage with the "Sunshine" music. Those who played the game will know what I'm talking about.



WWammy said:

Strange thing I prefered the DS title as the Graphics were overall more solid.
What this meant for me is that finding coins is easier to do as they don't disappear or reappear in front of you out of nowhere. This sounds like a minor gripe but I prefer the sharper graphics verses the N64 blurred anti aliased ones. After I completed the DS version of the game I found it hard to go back to play the N64 version although I would have preferred analog controls the game is by no means ruined by the lack of them.
It actually kinda made running in a straight line easier =P



jazzydude said:

7.1/10 imo
its a decent version but the controls are soooooo terrible!!
the minigames were terrible and it wasnt fun.
for the n64 its a 9.7/10 imo



Nintenzo said:

I have 154 stars! I swear!
Oh, I just realized! This game will be good again with the analog stick on the 3DS!



jdkipfer said:

I do not agree with a 7. I think that it deserves a 10. It is SO much fun.
With 150 stars, minigames, multiplayer and different characters with different strengths and weaknesses! This is by far the best DS game I have ever played.



MitchVogel said:

I have both the original and this game, but I don't think the controls were terrible. The D-pad was fine and I found it to be kind of easier to control actually. I give it 9 out of 10.



mariosonic1 said:

Ah...SM64 DS.Was my first DS game.Though I used the Dpad controls so I have no problem with the game.



TeeJay said:

HELLO. I come from the future. In the future, the new Nintendo 3DS will have something similar to the analog stick called the "circle pad", so the only bad point in this older review is negated! I wonder what score it would get now?



Colors said:

The 3DS makes the controls much better. Not quite 360 degrees of movement, but close as it can get.



MadScientistMan said:

@34 (twilightV) well this was released before NSMB so they were actually ported frome SM64DS to NSMB

I need this game...



TheUnknownGame said:

The graphics are really nice, and the added content is nice bonus. The contols...are a different story. I died SEVERAL times because of the annoying contol scheme. Still, fun game.



MrArcade said:

My first ds game, still havn't got all 150 stars but it's great. But i don't have a problem with the controls beacause the dsi d-pad is easier to use than the ds lite's which feels a little slippery



Milkman-123 said:

i hate the camera. its my worst enemy in this game. it movesaround in all the worst spots. i think i would do better w/out one. & why is B jump and A punch? A is usually jump for the predecessors. controls+camera RUIN this game for me. story is fine.
story: 7.4
controls( + camera) : 2.3
delivery: 4.0
overall: 4.8



SuperMinusWorld said:

@sohail What do you mean by played? As far as controls go, it can be a bit awkward using the DS' D-pad or the touch screen. But, the 3DS' analog nub controls very well, giving it a perfect score for me. You'll feel right at home using the circle pad. The B-button represents punching and kicking like in the original. Everyone has a triple jump. Mario is the only one that can wall kick, while the others have special abilities. There's also a run button, due to the D-pad's use on the original DS. But I enjoy holding the run button a lot, it gives it a more retro feel. If you have a 3DS, I absolutely recommend you pick it up. It's a great precursor to Super Mario 3D Land.



Arthedain said:

So the 3DS circlepad makes that much of a difference, eh? I vote there should be an update of this review with a section of playing it with a 3DS!



Takosuke said:

I'll probably get a lynching for this, but I've always had difficulty controlling Mario in M64, wether it was on the N64 back in the day or when I played it with the horrid d-pad on the DS a few years ago. Very curious to see how it controls with the 3DS's analogue stick.



Nightwalker said:

Well then, if the controls are the biggest problem of this game, that means that it would be perfect to play it on the 3DS console.
Ordering it from Amazon immediately!



SonicTheBluBlur said:

Since I have a 3DS, I use the Circle Pad. It's not analog, but it makes moving Mario (or whichever character you have out during that time) A LOT easier to control.



AnimeDude92 said:

Had loads of fun playing this when I was younger, the touched up graphics helped too mind you.

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