Mario has been through his fair share of adventures. He has stomped over countless Goombas in the Mushroom Kingdom numerous times, been teleported to different lands by jumping into paintings, and even had two games solely taking place in space. The mustachioed plumber is always encountering different mechanics and challenges when a new game is brought out. One of the more underappreciated Mario games is Super Mario Sunshine on the Nintendo Gamecube.
Released in 2002, Super Mario Sunshine takes place on Isle Delfino. Mario and Peach go on vacation, only for Mario to be jailed and put on trial upon arrival because of an impersonator (Bowser Jr) polluting the entire island with a toxic ink and blocking out the sunshine, making the Shine Sprites run away. Armed with FLUDD (Flash Liquidizing Ultra Dousing Device), Mario is sentenced to clean the entire island.
Super Mario Sunshine is the second 3D Mario game and the first since Super Mario 64. Mechanically, the gameplay changed quite a bit. Mario no longer could long-jump, and progressing through a large majority of the game relied on FLUDD having the right nozzle attached and enough water in the tank. There are a few levels in the game that have gone down in infamy for either running poorly or plainly having a bad design (looking at you Pachinko Machine). I think we all know why there are certain people who dislike this game though. Mario wears short-sleeves in the game. Absolutely horrifying.
Mario, please, I didn’t order tickets to the gun show.
Could we see a sequel?
Is there a chance we will ever get to see Super Mario Sunshine 2? Honestly, no. Nintendo has moved on from Sunshine. Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Odyssey were booming successes and generally more loved than Sunshine ever was. If anything gets a new sequel anytime soon I believe it is Odyssey. There is more to be done with Mario “capturing” his enemies than having him spray water at ink.
Compared to other Mario games, FLUDD has limited movement. Simply, Mario feels more stiff because of the over-utilization of FLUDD. It has four nozzles. One for standard spraying, a hover nozzle, turbo for running faster, or rocket for a quick boost into the sky. Compare FLUDD to Cappy in Odyssey. FLUDD lets Mario slowly hover over a gap. Mario throws Cappy out, bounces off of him, throws him again, dives towards him, and bounces higher. Cappy feels much more fluid (haha, get it?) than FLUDD ever does in the entirety of their respective games.
FLUDD is also Mario’s worst move in Smash. Fight me. That’s not even how he uses FLUDD in Sunshine.
What would a sequel look like?
Even though I do not think we will ever see a Sunshine sequel, let’s hypothesize what it would look like. This would be a very boring article if we didn’t.
Let’s start with the main antagonist. The best move is to use Bowser Jr. again. Since Sunshine, he is still included in many Mario properties (R.I.P. Baby Bowser). In the New Super Mario Bros. games he is kind of the leader of the Koopalings. I think it would be interesting to see a game where Bowser does not show up at all. Mario would be fighting purely against Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings. This would give Nintendo a chance to show us more interesting aspects of these guys who have a long past, but are very shallow in how we face them. Imagine eight different bosses each having to use FLUDD in a different way to defeat them. Hopefully these fights would be much better than the Broodals in Odyssey.
Hey, hey, HEY! Get out of my article Broodals!
Location and Story
We’ve got our antagonist, now where is the game taking place and why are we here? I do not see any reason in a second Super Mario Sunshine to return to Isle Delfino. We need a completely new tropical area. A new tropical island that can be inspired by some other marine animal works and it can still be inhabited by Piantas and Nokis. A bigger variety of areas would be nice as well. It could be fun to see Mario travel through a jungle environment instead of only different resort accommodations.
As for the story, we can have Mario and Peach on another vacation (there’s no need to change things up). Bowser Jr. knows that Peach isn’t his mother anymore so this time can be just him trying to kidnap her on his own to show his dad how bad he is. We are talking about a Mario game here. No amazing story needed.
Rounding things off, let’s guess where the gameplay would change. Unlike Mario Galaxy 2, a Sunshine sequel does not have enough to go off of to be successful on its own. Like I said earlier, Mario and FLUDD’s movement together is not great. Fundamental changes would be needed to make this game standout next to Mario Odyssey.
How would Nintendo possibly achieve this though? New nozzles? I don’t think so. That did not really add anything to the previous game. I think, you completely remove FLUDD from being a necessity to Mario. Make him a usable item so Mario is not held back by him. Another idea I think would be very interesting is if you bring Luigi into the game with his Poltergust vacuum. Make a completely cooperative capable Mario Bros. game where Mario can only affect certain areas with FLUDD, and Luigi can only handle others with the Poltergust. This would allow some new innovations for the Mario franchise that we haven’t seen with the brothers working together.
Mario cleans the ink the Koopalings leave everywhere, and Luigi takes care of the dust. The Super Maid Bros.
There really is no way ever we see a sequel to Super Mario Sunshine. It was a good game and I very much enjoyed it back in the day. That being said, Super Mario Odyssey 2 or a Super Mario 64 remake are leagues above it on the wishlist. Sunshine unfortunately just might go down in history as “that one okay Mario game.” Let me know what kind of Mario Sunshine game you would like to see in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter @REVXSHADOWS.
Want to see another opinion piece on the Mario series? Check out Mike Nigrelli’s article on why we need a Newer Super Mario Bros.