City Creator scores a bonus 10 points for not using Flash, and you can’t help but like the campy illustrated nature of old 50s advertisements.
I’d like to like Mario Sunshine more than I do, but I can’t. At it’s core, it is a great game. Very open, exploratory, with a lot of intuitive (and not so intuitive) uses for the water cannon. Searching for, and finding, coins and shines is the bulk of the game, and it’s the best part of it. There are two glaring flaws, in my opinion, that prevent the game from being great.
First, the camera tends to be a bit wonky at times. Often rotating on it’s own when you have lined up a perfect line of sight, or getting stuck behind a wall when you forcefully try to get it to look at you head on. There is a “transparent see through walls” effect that does kick in occasionally, but it takes too long and by the time it does show up, it’s generally too late.
Secondly, the existence of these so-called “secret” areas, where you are warped onto floating platforms of death without the aid of your water cannon, is a major flaw. They are terribly out of place, unneeded, and frustratingly unforgiving. After playing the core of the game for 2 hours and dieing only once, going to one of these “secrets” and dieing upwards of a dozen times in the span of five minutes is not my idea of fun. These stages would work in a typical 2D platformer, but they fail miserably in 3D (especially with the mentioned camera troubles) because the slightest misstep results in instant death, whereas in the core adventure it might mean a loss of a bit of health and the annoyance of having to try it again. The fact that these “secrets” are required to progress through the game further amplifies their level of frustration.