Why We Need Super Mario Sunshine 2 More Than Any Other Mario Sequel

It was a scary time following the release of Super Mario 64. There was inevitably the time to do a follow-up, but how could it not be a disappointment? Finding a sequel to Super Mario 64 ended up being a near impossible task, with everyone frothing for this title and Nintendo quaking at the eventual task of it. While a number of ideas and prototypes were played around with, ranging from Super Mario 64 2 to Super Mario 128, the sequel to the unofficially-lauded “best game of all time” would end up sending Mario to a tropical island, setting him with the task of cleaning up all of the island’s paint and pollution with a mechanized hose system. Oh yeah, and an evil Shadow Mario keeps running amok, spreading this muck, and tarnishing our hero’s name.

It’s definitely not the most conventional Mario story, and certainly not the most logical choice for the sequel. Already the game faced an uphill battle, as it would no doubt be a let down in comparison to its predecessor, but Super Mario Sunshine smartly chose to distance itself from what came before it, focusing on new control mechanics and other things to get excited about, like new enemies. While many people agreed that it certainly was different and most definitely was not Super Mario 64, these people still thought that it was an exceptional game. That being said, others still didn’t warm up to the title, with it often being seen as the neglected stepchild in Mario’s next-gen library. However, with Nintendo having a more sequel- and remake-happy mentality than ever, now is the time for them to strike and finally deliver the Super Mario Sunshine sequel that we deserve.

Now picture those lush island colors popping in crisp HD!
Now picture those lush island colors popping in crisp HD!

To begin, Wii U or 3DS controls make so much sense for the FLUDD design from Sunshine, whether it be through the gamepad or the stylus, that it’s honestly surprising that an update or sequel hasn’t happened yet. It’s practically built for it with the touch interfaces as you navigate your FLUDD or Yoshi around. There’s a pretty heavy Yoshi emphasis here too. In fact, mechanics like cleaning the paint and sludge off of areas could be beautifully done by either wiping your gamepad’s or 3DS’ screen (a similar concept has even been used for the Blooper ink projectile in Mario Kart). Sensible translations like this have been done before in niche franchises when it’s made sense, with the 3DS’ technology and its fit with Luigi’s Mansion being a prime example. Sunshine is a game where the hardware actually compliments the gameplay, which has never been more of the case before. Sure Galaxy used the Wii’s hardware to its optimum capacity, but not in a symbiotic way like this. Even the 3DS’ Mario outings, which have obviously taken heavy advantage of the 3D capability, still wouldn’t have you as immersed in the gaming as you would be if you were cleaning paint as you FLUDDed away. There’s also the simple fact that these other Mario games like Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land, have had sequels and it hasn’t. It’s actually the only 3D Mario game to have not had a sequel or remake, so what’s the hold up?

"Rit-Roo" indeed, Yoshi. "Rit-Roo" indeed.
“Rit-Roo” indeed, Yoshi. “Rit-Roo” indeed.

Super Mario Sunshine also boasted a harder difficulty than typically seen in Mario games, mostly in the form of their blue coins, treating them like badges of honor for completing hardcore platforming at its most unforgiving. Mario games are often given a lot of slack for being too easy, but these blue coins were a direct answer to that, and feel like a more appropriate inclusion than ever with today’s games. Similarly, the game also had special stages which ditched the FLUDD and saw you relying on acrobatics and wall-based platforming. This is more of the Mario that we’re getting now and what people are craving, with these additions in the title feeling even more relevant in the series’ current landscape. These sort of “departure stages” have also been adopted in more recent titles too, like Galaxy and 3D World, showing that more of Sunshine’s makeup is getting integrated into current Mario, whether you realize it or not.

Even the open world platforming approach that Sunshine employed feels more up to date with where Nintendo and these sort of games are now. Playgrounds are bigger and more expansive, with levels not being so clearly defined. With what the Wii U (or even the 3DS) is capable of now, the heights that Sunshine’s hub area could reach are tantalizing.

With the capabilities that we have now, Delfino Island could even double for the Wii Sports Resort or Nintendo Land hub that this increasingly Mii-friendly world has warmed up to. The ability is now there to have a full-out Mario game that also caters to the online hub mentality that Nintendo has adopted in recent generations. Sure Mario can water ski or scuba dive to get Shines, but afterwards, why shouldn’t your Mii be able to do the same, and then trade scores online?

Everything must be cleaned! It's Mario meets obsessive compulsive disorder!
Everything must be cleaned! It’s Mario meets obsessive compulsive disorder!

Nintendo has also been moving in an increasingly co-op direction with their titles, with the feature being a big part of most of the new Mario games, but also in their return of the Donkey Kong series, Smash Bros., and more. It’d be all too easy to open Super Mario Sunshine to this set-up, with a second player operating FLUDD while you focus on Mario.

It might sound silly, but Super Mario Sunshine’s inclusion in recent Nintendo games, like the FLUDD being in Smash Bros. Brawl, or references and stages based on the Delfino area and inhabitants being featured in many titles (Mario Power Tennis, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour and Advance Tour, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and essentially all the Mario Kart games since Mario Kart DS), at least shows that Sunshine is still on Nintendo’s radar. They could have just expunged all references entirely, moving on from the creative departure. And let’s not forget that Sunshine also introduced Bowser Jr., who has obviously become a mainstay to the series now. With how much he’s popped up, and the considerable fanbase he’s accumulated, returning to his roots and giving him another substantial story seems logical.

Super Mario Sunshine was also a very atypical Mario game, particularly for its time. For instance, there are actually no Goombas or Koopa Troopas in it, along with the many more obvious differences in the title, like how most of Mario’s moves are done through a water-based jetpack. Nintendo should be embracing more of the unusual though, and with them choosing to resuscitate a lot of older franchises, such as Kid Icarus, Star Fox, Majora’s Mask, the aforementioned Luigi’s Mansion, and hopefully F-Zero. Super Mario Sunshine 2 doesn’t even seem like one of the larger leaps amongst the lot. Isn’t it time to take those game mechanics and translate them over from Delfino Island to the Mushroom Kingdom?

The FLUDD fluids would flow fluidly with Wii U or 3DS controls
The FLUDD fluids would flow fluidly with Wii U or 3DS controls
While no official efforts have been announced regarding any sort of Super Mario Sunshine follow-up, it still remains one of the more satisfyingly creative Mario games ever made. If you’re able to get past the differences early on, you’re likely going to fall in love with it, especially if you think the more recent Mario games have lost their edge. Hopefully Nintendo just makes it a little easier for gamers to play the title so they can see how much of a demand there is for more Sunshine.

Hopefully in the mean time we won’t be treated to a Super Mario Galaxy 3 or Super Mario 3D World 2 to rub more poisonous mushroom into the wound.

Daniel Kurland

Daniel Kurland is a freelance writer and comedian, who recently completed work on his noir anthology graphic novel, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Noir: A Rag of Bizarre Noir and Hard Boiled Tales and is the creator of the surrealist podcast, “Bic Zukko’s Forever Almanac”. His sketch troupe, Business Computer also performs a monthly show in Manhattan.


  1. the best mario game ever made.story line,gameplay(ok the camera had issues)..it’s an open world but with the dynamics straight to the point feel of a 2d platform AND it can be all relaxing by exploring with subplots at the same time.the graphics are amazing and the soundtrack very pleasant.to cap it all,the game is not as easy as it looks and could satisfy any hardcore gamer.this is what i expect from a mario game.

    but varying tastes should be respected and in a perfect world nintendo should release every mario game of this type with a 2d platform.they are also very entertaining.it’s super mario after all

  2. Picture number 3 has no blue coin counter. And that picture was near the end of development. That means BLUE COINS WERE A LAST MINUTE ADDITION!

  3. Sunshine is the most underrated Mario game ever. It’s a diamond in the rough. I’d love to see it remade for the 3DS.

  4. This game, specifically, is the most fun game I’ve played on the GameCube. I don’t have a Wii-U, because while there are a few games that catch my interest, it’s just not enough for me to pay 300 for the console. Mario Sunshine, for me, is a console-seller. I will buy the Wii-U if a sequel is ever made, I could guarantee that.

    As long as they give me the option to invert the camera.

  5. my friend says “according to the story line they couldnt make a 2nd one”…
    i say ( think not say ofcousre ) HELL NO ITS NINTENDO THEY CAN MAKE A 2ND ONE XD

  6. Super Mario Sunshine was arguably my favorite Nintendo GameCube single-player title.
    While I know a lot of people might disagree with this notion, I think the plotline for Super Mario Sunshine 2 could be potentially poignant. Spoilers ahead, but the end of the game – if you beat it with less that 120 Shine Sprites, shows an image of Il Piantissimo discovering Elvin Gadd’s brush on Gelato Beach. If this doesn’t tantalize the player with food for thought for a sequel, I don’t know what it is.
    So… I think the plot of the sequel should involve Il Piantissimo using the brush to spread more graffiti on a neighbor island of Isle Delfino, and framing BOWSER for new graffiti incidents, and for Bowser to actually rely on Mario to clear his name. This would sure make for an unexpected twist, but I think we can all agree that the ‘Bowser kidnapped Peach’ gag is TOTALLY overdone. I haven’t even believed Peach to be in trouble for the past decade, and she probably ALLOWS herself to be kidnapped in the first place (heeding that whole subplot of Bowser being in love with Peach), and I also don’t even think Bowser is a real villain, either. To me, he’s just this cute, overgrown big softie who still too macho-wacho to just ADMIT that he’s got it good with friends he actually likes (beat the Story Mode in Mario Party 4 if you don’t believe me).
    Yeah, yeah… he loves to talk big, and act tough, and his scenes are always accompanied by cute little rock and roll guitars, but SERIOUSLY… the Koopa King could pass for a stand-up comedian, nowadays! Bowser mostly just has a witty sense of humor, and he’s actually a pretty cool Dad to his children. Bowser’s not REALLY a bad guy, when you stop to think about it.
    The fact is, Il Piantissimo would make an EXCELLENT bad guy for the sequel… NOT Bowser. Meeting Bowser in these Mario videogames really isn’t like facing the ultimate evil anymore… it’s more like an awkward family reunion where the theatrics of the moment somehow get in the way of Bowser’s pressing need to just come clean and say… “Aw, shucks! You’re the best friends a guy could ever have!”.

  7. Sunshine doesn’t deserve as much hate as it gets. I wasn’t fond for it pre-3D Land but after playing through 3D World and then revisiting Sunshine myself- I genuinely had a more fun time re-experiencing Isle Delfino than I ever did with 3D World.

    People have to understand that the game wasn’t at all about cleaning up graffiti. FLUDD’s real use in the game was his secondary functions. Hovering- rocket jumping- and speed boosting. The graffiti was there to clean up, but the game retained the central focus of platforming. Level design was fantastic- it was the second and the last Mario game to ever make use of unrestricted environments that are littered with dozens of things to do and plenty of secrets to uncover, with the first game to do so being Super Mario 64.

    Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine both deserve sequels. A lot. And I also really want a Super Mario Galaxy 3 to happen eventually. More than anything, I want a new entry in the 3D Mario series that isn’t a step back like 3D Land and 3D World- something that plays like Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine, with the refinements that Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 brought, and proper use of the power of the Wii U.

    It will come, one day. I might have died from old age by then (and at this rate, with all the NSMB games and 3D Land and 3D World comprising almost half of the Mario series to date- I probably will be) but it would be foolish for Nintendo not to return to Nintendo 64-GameCube style 3D platforming again.

  8. Please god no. Mario Sunshine was an awful game. Clean the graffiti off the walls! Water the plants! It was like doing chores. Please don’t resurrect that boring game.

    1. Did you actually play it? I’ve played it through nearly 3 times and not many games get replayed by me. The game wasn’t about chores it was too fun to be… maybe if we all had a water jet device that allowed us to hover, soar into the sky, zoom around at super-speed, vanquish our enemies, annoy others and of course clean a path through the paint and lava then chores could be fun!

      Mario Sunshine was about exploring a beautiful tropical environment that’s been ruined and restoring it by getting to the root of the cause.

      1. yeah it would be nice to revist and see the new things they have on Isle Delfino

    2. how was it awful? it was different how the F was Galaxy 2 good another 2D game I want to progress not digress back into the shell

    3. when you get more into the game the mess goes a way for the most part. each area has 1 maybe 2 shine sprite for cleaning and 8 or so more with no mess in sight

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