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Video Game / Super Mario Sunshine

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Pollution and paradise don't mix.

"On a tropical island far from the Mushroom Kingdom, among a people enchanted by sunshine, Mario has taken a break from the hopping, the bopping, and saving the princess to take a well deserved vacation... or so he thinks."

Everyone's favorite plucky plumber, Princess Peach, five Toads (Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, and Purple) and Toadsworth go on a vacation. When they arrive at scenic Isle Delfino, they find that the place has been polluted and plastered with graffiti. Additionally, the Shine Sprites that power the island have disappeared. The culprit is a guy who looks suspiciously like Mario. Everyone's favorite plumber is promptly arrested as he arrives, falsely accused of vandalizing the island. He is put on trial, found guilty, and is ordered to clean up the graffiti and recover the Shine Sprites; but fortunately, to help with the cleaning, Mario uses a water cannon/jetpack contraption called FLUDD. Wacky hijinks ensue, Peach gets kidnapped yet again, Bowser turns out to be behind it all, and he now has a son to boot.


Notably features full voice-acted dialogue for all the main characters except Mario. Subsequent games in the main series have returned to dialogue boxes, along with voiced sound effects. Overall, this was the 3D Mario to break away from the "Mario formula" the most; tellingly, classic enemies like the Goombas and regular Koopa Troopas are nowhere to be found, and since it all takes place on a tropical island, Mario's nowhere near the Mushroom Kingdom.

Originally released on Nintendo GameCube in 2002, the game got an Updated Re-release on Nintendo Switch as a part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars for the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.



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  • Aborted Arc: The very plotline that kickstarted the game (Mario gets framed for Shadow Mario and has to clear his name after being arrested and sentenced to clean the island) is all but essentially dropped after the prologue and barely gets brought up again afterwards once you have access to the full plaza. Essentially acting only as an Excuse Plot to justify why Mario has to clean up the island.
  • Absentee Actor:
    • As in Super Mario 64, Luigi doesn't appear or get mentioned at all. Apparently, the events of Sunshine happen after the events of the first Luigi's Mansion.
    • There are no Goombas on Delfino Island, the closest counterparts being Strollin' Stus can be defeated in similar ways.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer:
    • Ricco Harbor's sewers are very open, so much so that a Blooper race with large obstacles is held down there in Episode 2.
    • The sewers of Delfino Plaza are just large enough for Mario to walk around in. You can use them as a shortcut to get around town.
  • Accordion to Most Sailors: The Port Town hub world Delfino Plaza prominently features the accordion in its music.
  • Advanced Movement Technique: The fastest way to move around is to do a dive into a wet surface, which will cause Mario to slide around on his belly (much further and longer than you'd expect). Since Mario is wearing F.L.U.D.D. most of the time, he can easily create a wet patch in front of him almost anywhere, letting him slide around much faster than by walking around.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Sirena Beach's Hotel Delfino has a very spacious air vent system in the ceiling above the third floor. Mario can go through it to get into some locked hotel rooms, which is required in Episode 3 to get the Shine Sprite.
  • All or Nothing: If Mario fails in the Balloon game at Pinna Park or loses any of the Il Piantissimo races, he will lose a life. An exception is the Ricco Harbor Blooper Race. Crashing will get Mario instantly killed, but if he simply doesn't finish the race in time, Mario will just be transported back to the hub world.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The "Shell Secret" obstacle course in Noki Bay (Episode 6) utilizes sections of almost every secret area that a player would realistically have visited prior, albeit not in order. For example, the beginning features a flipping wooden platform like one that a player would have seen in Bianco Hills' "Episode 6: The Secret of the Dirty Lake". Later on, closer to the end, there are flipping rectangular blocks like those that would be seen in Ricco Harbor's "Episode 4: The Secret of Ricco Tower". The mixture of familiar setpieces in this course is justified, because the remaining secret area ("Secret of the Underside Village" in Pianta Village) is also the last, and uses a gimmick that is frequent in the normal level episodes (Chucksters's throws) but is never seen in obstacle courses until then.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: All the fruit featured in this game are pretty standard and commonplace, with the exception of the durian, which amounts to an organic Spike Ball of Doom that you can't carry around. Its exotic status and spiked nature confused many a gamer but it happens to be a real fruit.
  • Amusement Park: Pinna Park is the island's amusement park.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Once 100% Completion is achieved, you unlock a special Shine Sprite shirt for Mario to wear whenever he equips the sunglasses.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: The director of Pinna Park thinks that the boss fight between Mario and Mecha-Bowser is a staged event designed to lure in tourists.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • You get to keep the same number of lives the last time you played the game, provided you saved beforehand. This is a departure from Super Mario 64 and the eventual Super Mario Galaxy, where you start with 4 lives regardless of how many lives you accrued the last time you played.
    • Each secret level has at least one extra life by the beginning; if you know where they are, it's unlikely you'll get a Game Over.
  • Antepiece:
    • The sinkable mud boats are first found in Noki Bay, where you can practice using them without fear of punishment for crashing them. They are not mandatory to completing any level in Noki Bay, but are very handy for collecting a number of blue coins scattered above the waters. However, a mandatory mud boat section later shows up in Corona Mountain (the Very Definitely Final Dungeon), where crashing the boat will get you killed due to the lava.
    • A similar, more relatively short-term example are the lily pads in Bianco Hills. Most of the time, you have ample time to practice using the lily pads to float around the lake. Since they are more durable than the mud boats, you can cruise around the lake at your leisure, going to places with blue coins in the water. When the lake gets contaminated though, the lily pads will eventually expire, forcing you to find a replacement, and this is one of two routes you'll need to use to access the episode's obstacle level (the other is a triple jump from the windmill spire). This also comes back during the infamous storm drain secret level in Delfino Plaza.
    • The first few fights against Polluted Piranha Plants teach the basic mechanics of F.L.U.D.D.- namely that the timing and direction of F.L.U.D.D.’s spray matter when trying to deal effective damage against bosses. The areas these enemies are fought in are open spaces surrounded by water so the player can experiment with low stakes. The first fight against Petey Piranha is fought in a smaller and enclosed space with no water, but the physical similarities between these two bosses clues the player in that the general strategy of beating these bosses should also be similar.
    • The Bowser pad on the lighthouse roof. These are littered around the edges of the final boss arena and are used the same way; if you didn't do the one on the lighthouse, you might not have known immediately what to do. But then again, it doesn't appear in any place other than the two mentioned.
  • Apathetic Citizens:
    • The residents of Delfino Plaza are not only unwilling to lift a finger to help recover the Shine Sprites or capture Shadow Mario, but at multiple points, there's a man running around on fire and nobody else seems motivated to try to help him. What makes it even worse is that the man on fire doesn't even help himself. He runs back and forth endlessly along the same few feet of sidewalk, despite the fact that he's only a few yards away from the ocean.
    • The manager of Hotel Delfino lampshades this. He asks Mario to get rid of Phantamanta and acknowledges that he doesn't even know who Mario is, just that he looks like someone who is very capable.
    • The citizens of Isle Delfino are in a lather because the Shine Sprites need collecting so they can brighten up the Plaza, yet a ton of said citizens, not the least of which being in the Plaza, already have a number of Shine Sprites in their possession. But instead of just pooling them earlier, or giving them to Mario so the island can be brightened sooner, they putter around and make him collect blue coins for them or break crates or whatnot. The keeper of the blue coin Shine Sprites in particular has one-fifth of all the Shine Sprites in his possession, yet he requires ten blue coins each before he'll let any one of them out. Despite how Easily Condemned Mario was, no one thinks of arresting this guy despite the fact that he's basically holding the island's Cosmic Keystones for ransom. Outside of the plaza is slightly better, such as the hotel on Sirena Beach, where one of the Piantas guesses that the shiny object in the blocked-off room is a Shine Sprite, not actually knowing what they look like, while those in the plaza have a giant statue of one looking over them, and thus really have no excuse.
    • The one exception is a level where you have to traverse a series of platforms by getting Piantas to throw you to them. And even then, if you talk to them from the wrong angle, they'll throw you into the bottomless abyss, essentially murdering you.
    • The Pianta citizens of Isle Delfino in general seem to be either completely apathetic or simply too unintelligent to be of any help most of the time. Some minor characters take this up to eleven: There is one Pianta who claims to be stranded on an island for 30 years because he cannot swim - said island is approached by a boat every two minutes. Another has been looking for a legendary red bird for 38 years, despite the bird in question being the only bird in the whole area and in plain sight for him.
    • This is surprisingly inverted with the Nokis, a minority of shellfish people, who are both more likely to notice that Shadow Mario and Mario are two obviously different people and actively assist Mario however they can while he is cleaning up their own section of the island.
    • A notable exception among the Piantas exists in Pianta Village. The mayor of the town elists Mario's help with various tasks because he himself is not capable of assisting. However, before The Goopy Inferno, he gets to the highest point in the center of the village to direct all his citizens to a safe zone away from the burning goop. He is, rightfully, considered a hero by the people.
  • Armless Biped: The Cataquacks, which are large duck-like creatures with no arms or wings; however, they make up for it with their large bills that they use to fling Mario into the air.
  • Artifact Alias: Bowser Jr. initially disguises himself as a double of Mario (Shadow Mario). But even after his true identity is discovered (about midway through the game), Bowser Jr. still often shows up as Shadow Mario. In most cases, this is justified by Bowser Jr. wanting to continue ruining Mario's reputation, but Shadow Mario continues to appear in the cutscenes in which he steals Mario's FLUDD, where only Mario is there to see him.
  • Ascended Extra: Petey Piranha debuts here as a Warmup Boss. He's not remembered as that, though.
  • Asimov's Three Kinds of Science Fiction: The game falls under Adventure Science Fiction — the paintbrush causes the problem, and the FLUDD is the solution to it.
  • Asteroids Monster: Phantamanta splits into smaller versions of itself whenever it takes enough damage. Once the Phantamanta get small enough, they will disappear when hurt instead of splitting further.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Bowser is huge in the final battle.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: This happens in the Boss Cutscene for the second mission of Bianco Hills ("Down With Petey Piranha!") just before the boss battle with the titular giant piranha plant. Mario climbs to the roof of a windmill, where Petey Piranha is polluting the surrounding area with goop. Petey roars a Mighty Roar at Mario, setting the stage for a boss battle... only for the roof to promptly crack beneath their combined weight. The two suddenly look down, then slowly share a worried glance with each other before the roof collapses beneath them. The actual fight takes place inside the windmill itself.
  • Backpack Cannon: FLUDD is a multipurpose water pump created by E. Gadd. It's worn like a backpack, and one of its functions is basically being a super-powerful water hose.
  • Balloon Belly: Petey Piranha, when overfilled with water. The player has to use that ability to their advantage, forcing Petey to drink enough water that he tips over and exposes his belly button.
  • Battle Theme Music: The game improves upon its predecessor Super Mario 64 (which only had three boss themes, and two of them were for Bowser) by having a general music theme for regular bosses, a theme for regular minibosses, a dedicated theme for Climax Boss Mecha Bowser, a Boss Remix of the classic Underground theme of the original Super Mario Bros. for Shadow Mario, and a suspenseful drum-and-piano track for Bowser in the final battle.
  • Beach Episode: The game as a whole is one for the series. In turn, two of the stages are calm, relaxing beaches (one of which even has a hotel).
  • Big Bad: Bowser Jr. takes over the role from his father this time around. While framing Mario and ruining his vacation was Bowser's idea, he's content to just lounge around enjoying his own vacation while his son does all of the work.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Sirena Beach, and Hotel Delfino in particular, becomes this during the first episodes due to the invasion of a ghostly Manta Ray and Boos (led by King Boo who hides in the casino). Afterwards, the level becomes a safe hotel.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Most of the location names have Italian words in them. For those curious:
    • Delfino: Dolphinnote 
    • Bianco: White
    • Ricco: Rich
    • Gelato: Ice creamnote 
    • Pinna: Fin
    • Sirena: Mermaid
    • Pianta: Plantnote 
    • Corona: Crown
    • Il Piantissimo: ...The Very Plant, The Most Plant-iest... or "Very Pianta."
    • Noki: May be an alternate spelling of "gnocchi", a type of short pasta or for small potato dumplings of the same name. The Noki themselves are kind of round and lumpy, so they kind of look like gnocchi. In the Japanese version, Nokis are the Mare (sea) people.
    • There are signs around Delfino Plaza with the word "Benvenuto", or welcome.
  • Blatant Lies: In Sirena Beach, there is a juice bar that always claims to be out of storage. Multiple guests complain that there are some prepared drinks in plain sight, which the Barkeeper claims are only "samples".
  • Booby Trap: The cliff walls of Noki Bay have hidden boxing glove traps in some sections. They don't do any damage, but they will punt Mario back down to the bottom of the cliff.
  • Boss-Only Level: Gelato Beach becomes this during Episode 3. As soon as you enter, the giant-sized Wiggler will be shown running around the coast, terrorizing the characters. The boss music gets to pull a Background Music Override onto the usual cutscene fanfare as a result. None of the Cataquacks (the level's resident mooks) appear, either.
  • Breakout Character: Petey Piranha made his first appearance in this game, and would appear again in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Super Princess Peach, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, New Super Mario Bros., Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, and most of the Mario Sports titles. Super Mario Galaxy would feature "Dino Piranha", an Expy of him.
  • Brick Joke: In the cutscene at the beginning, we see Toadsworth fantasizing about riding the Roller Coaster at Pinna Park. At the end of the game, we see pictures of everyone enjoying their vacation, including one of Toadsworth finally riding the roller coaster.
  • Buffy Speak: On the airstrip at the beginning, after the Shine Sprite appears, one of the Toads says "A shiny! It came out of the yucky!"
  • Busman's Holiday: Mario traveled to Isle Delfino to take a break from his usual routine, but he ends up having to do it anyway.
  • Camera Screw: The camera has a bad tendency to let scenery elements get in the way of your view of Mario. Also, it's impossible to move the camera when you're right in a corner outside of the auto-center feature.
  • Call-Back: Accessing one levelnote  requires Mario to look into the sun, similar to a level in Super Mario 64.
  • Cartoon Bomb: The Bob-ombs, which in this game look like diagonally bisected round explosives with an LED counter in their centre, and are thrown at Mario by a Monty Mole. Players can use the Bob-ombs by freezing them and then throwing them back at Monty Mole.
  • Casino Park: "Casino Delfino" in Sirena Beach's Hotel Delfino is a downplayed example. Many stock casino machines are present, but Mario only really interacts with two big slot machines. He can smash some smaller ones for coins though, and a boss battle takes place on a roulette table.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: Losing a life in a standard level mission will kick you back to that level's entrance in Delfino Plaza. However, the game makes an exception with the obstacle courses (including those of the Sky & Sea variety): You can retry them as many times as lives you have left without needing to re-enter the mission where they're located, let alone having to reach them again. Another exception is made with the final battle (which comes off as a huge relief, considering the very difficult path in Corona Mountain).
  • Clam Trap: There is a teacup-like ride at Pinna Park containing several giant twirling clamshells. Mario can open one by spraying it with water and climb in to grab the coins that they have inside them; but after a while, the clam snaps shut, hurting him if he's still inside.
  • Climax Boss: Mecha Bowser, the only boss aside from the Final Boss to be connected with the main plot, is fought in the fourth major level out of eight, and is fought differently from all the others. It is also the only major boss before Bowser to have its own Battle Theme Music, and defeating it leads to a plot-critical cutscene with a reveal.
  • Console Cameo: You'd probably have no way to tell as a normal player, but the layout of Sirena Beach distinctly resembles a GameCube console, controller, and disc when viewed from above and facing towards the ocean.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: When FLUDD is scanning Mario, the camera switches to FLUDD's point of view. A small screen in the corner of its HUD shows scenes from Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, and Super Mario 64 during the scan. Additionally, when FLUDD breaks down after defeating Bowser, the small screen shows the Game Over screen from Mario Bros..
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Professor E. Gadd from Luigi's Mansion created Bowser Jr.'s magic brush and FLUDD.
    • Also to Luigi's Mansion: A janitor in Hotel Delfino complains about the ghost infestation and asks why someone can't just suck them up with a vacuum cleaner. Mario apparently didn't enjoy being reminded.
    • When FLUDD boots up and analyses Mario, some footage from Mario's past adventures can be seen in the lower left corner of the screen.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The final level has Mario traverse the inside of a volcano. By guiding a boat through the lava. A boat made of mud.
  • Contrasting Sequel Setting: While Super Mario 64 took place in Peach's Castle, the Mushroom Kingdom's royal castle where Princess Peach resides, Sunshine takes place on Isle Delfino, a tropical island distant from the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Cosmetic Award: The sunglasses and Shine Sprite shirt (before you beat the game, you just get the sunglasses after getting 30 Shine Sprites). The sunglasses aren't completely non-functional, as they turn down the game's brightness by a degree once it starts getting too bright. However, this doesn't affect gameplay in any way, unless the player just prefers a darker screen.
  • Crate Expectations: There are a fair few crates. They can be broken with a ground pound. Two of the game's 120 Shines require the player to break an arrangement of crates within a time limit (and both Shines are acquired through the exact same minigame, but in the second play there are more and have a more difficult arrangement as well).
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: The reason why Mario is sentenced to clean the entire island during his vacation is that Bowser Jr. is impersonating him and causing trouble.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Downplayed; although Mario can still do all his fancy acrobatics at all health levels, his voice noticeably sounds much weaker when he has only one or two hits left, and he acts fatigued during his idle animations.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Mario can't long jump here, unlike in Super Mario 64. Compensated by FLUDD's hover nozzle.
    • When you're climbing on a vertical chain link fence, you press the attack button (B on the GameCube, Y on the Switch) to go through gates. When you're hanging from a chain link ceiling, you press the jump button (A on the GameCube, B on Switch) with the attack button causing you to fall off.
    • In the 3D All Stars version, the aiming/camera controls are no longer inverted by default, and must be switched in the camera controls to match the GameCube original. Button layouts have also changed for Switch controls, some to fit the typical thumb position of players (B is jump and Y is dive), others to match the lettering of the buttons proper (X is still used to change nozzles despite X being the highest-positioned of the face buttons rather than being on the right). A is used to talk to people despite it being the same button as dive in the original.
    • In the original version, Mario would stop and spray water if you pressed R all the way down, but would move and shoot if the button was slightly pressed down. Since the Switch doesn't have analog shoulder buttons, this no longer applies in the 3D All-Stars version unless you use a GameCube controller through the adapter. Instead, you have to press either R or ZR, which can take some getting used to if you're familiar with the original.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Eely-Mouth is a giant eel monster with Extra Glowing Eyes and a jet-black body. Yet it's an otherwise Gentle Giant who's only a threat to Noki Bay thanks to it's gingivitis, and when it's healed, leaves behind a batch of coins in a heart-shaped formation as a way of saying thanks.
  • Degraded Boss: Gooper Blooper is fought twice as a boss in its debuting world (Ricco Harbor), but is reduced to a Mini-Boss in Noki Bay (hence why the Battle Theme Music used in the later is that of the actual minibosses).
  • Demoted to Extra: We don't see Bowser until the end of the game. Of course, his reveal came to the surprise of no one.
  • Deus ex Machina: The flooding of Delfino Plaza. Once you've cleared all the Shadow Mario challenges, a flash flood from Corona Mountain submerges the coastal city in a half-dozen meters of water; it cleans up the city and satisfies the conditions for Mario to be set free after his arrest and being tasked with removing all the graffiti.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Flooded Delfino Plaza has a separate location for the 100-coin shine (atop the Pianta Statue). This is despite the fact that it's impossible to reach 100 coins in the flooded plaza without exploits.
    • In Episode 1 of Bianco Hills, the player can ignore the first Shine Sprite and go straight to Petey Piranha atop the windmill. The developers knew this would be possible; the Pianta at the windmill has completely different dialogue if spoken to in Episode 1, lampshading the Sequence Break:
      Pianta: Whuzzah!? Whozat?! What're you doing over here? You're getting a little ahead of yourself, don't you think? Isn't there something else you should do before coming here?
  • Digital Destruction: The cutscenes in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars release have been upscaled and smoothed out, resulting in a loss of detail. Furthermore, F.L.U.D.D's lines were awkwardly edited to remove mentions of the GameCube buttons, which results in a noticeable jump in the audio.
  • Disney Death: FLUDD becomes broken after the final fight with Bowser, but the Toads repair him in the end.
  • Distressed Damsel: Princess Peach gets kidnapped and held hostage after 10 Shine Sprites are recovered.
    D.E.B.S ALERT ... Princess Peach of the Mushroom Kingdom has apparently been kidnapped...AGAIN.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Part of the reason why the Piantas despise Il Piantissimo is because of his very Pianta-like costume, which brings to mind the phrase "cultural appropriation".
  • Downer Beginning: The plane lands a rough landing at the airstrip because of the goop covering the runway. Mario obtains FLUDD and cleans it up...then he gets falsely accused.
  • The Dragon: Shadow Mario, aka Bowser Jr., making his debut as his father Bowser's official Dragon.
  • Dual Boss: The Final Boss is a fight against both Bowser and his son. Bowser breathes fire at you and tips the tub to splash you with hot water quite often, while a barrage of Bullet Bills is fired at you from Bowser Jr.'s submarine.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After cleaning up Isle Delfino and saving Peach, Mario finally gets to enjoy his vacation.
  • Easily Forgiven: Bowser Jr. pays very little mind to the fact that his father outright lied to him about Peach being his mother (on top of all the other lies he piled up on top of that), and lets it go extremely easily.
  • Easter Egg: One of the levels involves shrinking and getting into a glass bottle. By crawling into a hole in a wall and rotating the camera around, you can see a book behind the wall. It's the only one in the game and nobody knows what it's doing here.
  • Easy Level Trick: Episode 3 of Pianta Village, "The Great Goopy Inferno" has a possibly unintentional one of these. The whole town is submerged in a coating of burning ink, requiring Mario to navigate its mazelike underside without FLUDD. However, there is one opening into the town that Mario can sneak into — the oasis in the center, which also has a river leading to it from the outside that hasn't been covered in ink. By abusing the ink physics and splashing water in just the right way, Mario can clear a path to the building that FLUDD is on, allowing him to complete the mission without even entering the underside. Another method is to hop down from one of the tallest trees in the nearby area onto the building where FLUDD is located.
  • Escort Mission: Episode 8 of Gelato Beach requires rolling oversized watermelons to a juice vendor to be judged for an contest. Complicating matters are the cataquacks roaming the beach, as they can and will throw the melons into the air and smash them via gravity.
  • Excuse Plot: Seemingly averted at first; the game has a legitimate reason for Mario to clean up the island, and each area has a noticeable subplot, but later the overarching plot is abandoned in favor of collecting the rest of the shines and saving Peach.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Piantas don't even realize the blue tint "Mario" is coated with, something the real Mario completely lacks.
  • Fake Longevity: It was an issue that Super Mario 64 created, in that getting a power star would boot you back to the hub-world, but here in Sunshine, the problem is exacerbated to where it hurts the level immersion. It clocks in at 120 Shine Sprites, resembling the count of Super Mario 64, and to reach this high number in only eight courses, a lot of quests were rehashed or even outright repeated, like a boss battle that is fought no less than three times. Even getting the 100-coin Shine Sprite will kick you out of the level.
  • Fall Guy: Bowser Jr. disguises himself as Mario to pollute Isle Delfino and frames the real Mario for it.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Recurring Boss Gooper Blooper must be defeated by unplugging the cork from his mouth, requiring Mario to get in the squid's face, seize the object, and yank as hard as he can before it snaps back. Gooper Blooper fights back by trying to bludgeon Mario with his tentacles, but don't worry — Mario can crush and tear his limbs off one-by-one to make the job easier.
  • Fetch Quest: 56 of the game's 120 shines are centered on collecting coins, be it finding 100 Yellow Coins, finding 8 Red Coins, or finding and trading in Blue Coins.
  • Fishbowl Helmet: Mario wears a fishbowl helmet during the missions "Red Coins in a Bottle", "Eely-Mouth's Dentist", and "The Red Coin Fish". The helmet doesn't allow him to breathe underwater forever, though, it just slows down the Oxygen Meter.
  • Fluffy Tamer: A female Pianta that lives in Pianta Village has a number of Chain Chomps — recurring Super Mario mooks known for being dangerous — as pets. She treats them like her precious babies and gets very upset when they start suffering from being overheated.
  • Foreshadowing: After Shadow Mario is squirted enough times by the real Mario, he will throw a tantrum on the floor like a child. Later, he sticks his tongue at the real Mario like a child.
  • Frame-Up: Mario was framed for messing up Isle Delfino by Bowser Jr. disguised as Shadow Mario.
  • Free Rotating Camera: The camera can be manipulated with the controller's C-Stick.
  • Fungus Humongous: Giant mushrooms large enough to stand on can be found all over Pianta Village.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • FLUDD stands for Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device.
    • The Delfino Emergency Broadcast System is known as D.E.B.S.
  • Funny Animal: There are three raccoon/tanuki shopkeeper NPCs in the hub world.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Excuse Plot is that Shadow Mario stole the Shine Sprites, causing the Delfino Island's sunny weather to turn gloomy, and Mario gets falsely accused, so he's forced to help gather them again. Except that most of the Shine Sprites aren't "lost" or "stolen" at all; they're held by Delfino Island's inhabitants, who hand them to you when you help them. One can wonder why these people are allowed to keep a Shine Sprite for themselves, given how important they are to the island's climate, or why Mario even gets blamed for their "disappearance". One citizen (the blue coin merchant) even owns 24 of the Shine Sprites!
    • The flooding of Corona Mountain after completing Episode 7 of each stage is said to have cleaned up the graffiti marks in Delfino Plaza, although this is actually done by Mario's vigilant spraying; letting the city flood and not spraying those marks lets them be (which is justified in that cleaning these up yields blue coins).
  • The Ghost: Despite playing a major role in the game's story, Professor E. Gadd never appears in this game, and he's only mentioned by name (barely, his company, Gadd Science Inc., is mentioned) once in the entire game. However, his logo is plastered everywhere on nozzle boxes.
  • Gimmick Level: There are many levels in which Mario is left without the F.L.U.D.D. to navigate through them. If you beat them, you can come back with F.L.U.D.D. for a new challenge.
  • Good-Times Montage: The end credits show photos of Mario, Peach, Toadsworth and the Toads finally enjoying their vacation on Isle Delfino.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Electrokoopas are wearing pink underwear (or possibly pink swim trunks) under their shells.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • Mario can reach Bowser with as few as 50note  Shine Sprites; however, Mario can't just choose any 50 to go after. There is a mandatory path of missions to complete, and any other Shines outside that path do nothing but boost Mario's overall Shine Sprite count. Which means that over half the Shine Sprites in the game serve no other purpose than collecting them for 100% Completion.
    • In turn, collecting all Shine Sprites requires gathering all Blue Coins. In Super Mario 64, Blue Coins are just uncommon coins worth five normal coins, but in this game, they're collectables. 30 in each of the seven levels with another 19 in the main area, 1 in the tutorial area, and 10 in the final area. The point is that a shop on Delfino's pier will trade a Shine Sprite for every 10 Blue Coins, meaning that one-fifth of the game's Shine Sprites are dependent on blue coins.
  • Gratuitous Italian:
    • Most of the place names in Delfino have an Italian component (including "Delfino" itself), and signs around Delfino Plaza say "Benvenuto".
    • Mario sometimes says "Arrivederci" (Good-bye) when he dies. In some translations of the game, "Arrivederci" even appears on the screen when you lose a life instead of "Too bad!".
  • Green Hill Zone: Bianco Hills. The first proper stage of the game with basic level layout and the basic brown goo type. It is inhabited by Piantas, but it has a small mountain village, a huge windmill and a large pond present as well. Several tightropes are present, allowing Mario to maneuver them and reach higher places. The two caves found in the borders of the lake lead to special obstacle courses.
  • Grimy Water: Polluted water can be found in some levels, and it will harm or outright kill Mario if he falls in. Bianco Hills' polluted grime, Ricco Harbor's black tar, and Noki Bay's purple sluge harm for one hit apiece. The entire storm drain of Delfino Plaza's infamous pipe level and Corona Mountain's lava kill instantly.
  • The Ground Is Lava: Episode 3 of World 7 (Pianta Village) tasks Mario with navigating towards the center of the village to retrieve FLUDD and get the Shine Sprite of that level without burning himself alive in fiery paint called "The Goopy Inferno".
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • There are thirty blue coins in every world, but where they are and whether they're even available changes from mission to mission. There are a few you can pick up the pattern for easily enough (i.e. cleaning certain patterns of graffiti), but there are just as many with obscure patterns, so it is basically impossible to tell where they are without a guide.
    • Some Shine Sprites are in extremely obtuse locations or have a bizarre trigger to obtain, with little to no hints to help you. There are such gems as "Spray a random yellow bird", "Spray a random patch of ground", and "Spray water at the sun from a specific spot."
  • Guilty Until Someone Else Is Guilty: The people of Delfino Harbor believe that Mario is the one who polluted their archipelago with insidious paint (despite the fact that Mario looks very different from the sinister-looking Shadow Mario). The court of Delfino Harbor decide that Mario is to be held responsible for the paint until the actual criminal is captured.
  • Happy Circus Music: This game has a rather unusual example with the Pinna Park music. It's a swingy tune on honky-tonk piano/xylophone, not quite what you'd expect from an amusement park. However, it still keeps the fun, bouncy spirit of more traditional circus music.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The boss fights are largely simplistic, and not much of a challenge as a result. The normal levels tend to be much more difficult, as a number require doing tricky platforming or throw curveballs on what needs to be done to obtain the Shine Sprites.
  • Harmless Luminescence: To enter Noki Bay, Mario has to look directly into the sun. He, however, doesn't seem to have taken any damage from this.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Whenever Mario visits the sunglasses vendor after clearing the game, he can wear a Shine-Sprite-patterned shirt in addition to the glasses.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: FLUDD gives you a tutorial at the beginning of the game where he tells you which buttons to press to use its mechanics, this time even fully voiced. In the 3D All-stars remake, the voice acting was edited to remove all misleading hints to the GameCube controls.
  • The Heavy: While Bowser is the Final Boss, and the idea of ruining Mario's vacation came from him, he's content to sit in his tub for most of the game. Bowser Jr., on the other hand, is the most recurring antagonist and the one to drive the plot. He frames Mario for polluting Delfino Island and shows up at every level at least once to screw with him.
  • Hell Hotel: Hotel Delfino is haunted by heat-stricken Boos.
  • Helpful Mook: Pink Boos are non-hostile, and will turn into platforms when sprayed with water.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: Mario, who is usually instantly recognized and admired by everyone in the Mushroom Kingdom. Here in the foreign land of Isle Delfino, only a handful of citizens recognize him, and noone commends him for his past achievements.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Played with. When Shadow Mario reveals his true identity as Bowser Jr., he also reveals it was Bowser who wanted Mario to be framed. However, Bowser himself doesn't make an appearance or any kind of effort until the final battle, preferring to lounge around and enjoy his vacation; Bowser Jr. is and remains the one who does all the work throughout the entire game.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Electrokoopas attack Mario by throwing their electrified shells at him, which fly back to them after either hitting Mario or traveling their maximum distance. They have no grounding against their shells, so if they're sprayed with FLUDD while their shell is in mid-flight, it will electrocute them when it comes back.
  • Homing Projectile: Starting from this game, Bullet Bills in various 3D games home in on Mario to varying degrees (they don't do it in Super Mario 3D World, but a variant known as Cat Bill does).
  • Horse of a Different Color: Yoshi, as usual. His color also affects the color of juice he spits, which has different effects as well. If he's out of juice, he turns his iconic green color and spits water… and then disintegrates in 5 seconds. He also turns green and disintegrates if he jumps into a body of water more than knee-high.
  • Hub Level: Delfino Plaza acts as the game's hub, granting access to all of the main areas and some bonus levels.
  • Hub Under Attack: Frequently used as a progress marker, with Proto Piranhas and Shadow Mario appearing in Delfino Plaza for Mario to fight after collecting enough Shine Sprites. The Proto Piranha fights open new courses when completed, while Shadow Mario drops new nozzles and the Yoshi Egg. After defeating Shadow Mario in every course, Delfino Plaza suddenly floods as he runs off one last time to open Corona Mountain, the game's final level.
  • Humongous Mecha: Mecha-Bowser. There were mechanical Bowsers before, but this is the first bonafide giant robot facsimile of the Koopa King.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the cutscene before the final boss, Bowser will complain about Mario ruining his vacation, despite the fact that he did the exact same thing to Mario's.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Bowser Jr., who debuted in this game and went on to become a major antagonist in the franchise, including both mainline platformers and spin-offs.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • There are many instances where Isle Delfino citizens can see Shadow Mario running around stealing things, leaving many a litre of goop in his wake; he is usually followed a few seconds later by the real Mario, the latter often stopping to scrub the former's mess. Yet the court's decision never gets reversed...
    • Some of the inhabitants have Shine Sprites that they give to to Mario when he completes a mission. Whether they're too stupid to hand over the Shines to the authorities, or they're willfully hoarding them and the authorities are too stupid to arrest them is for the viewer to decide.
  • Idle Animation: Like Super Mario 64, if Mario doesn't move around for a while, he will eventually yawn and doze off.
  • I Fell for Hours: There's a glitch involving Mario, Yoshi, and a flower that forcefully moves sand on the beach to send Mario flying past the sun. The resulting fall can take anywhere from a few seconds to over an hour.
  • Infinite Stock For Sale: The raccoon merchant trades Shine Sprites for blue coins, both of which are in limited quantity. When he's sold the last one, he wonders what he'll do for a living now.
  • Invisible Wall: There's one in the middle of the ocean which not keeps you not only from going out too far, but also from sequence breaking by selecting a mission in one area and then swimming directly to another. For instance, Delfino Plaza and Ricco Harbor are practically right on top of each other, but if you try to swim from one to the other, you'll almost make it, then smack right into the invisible wall and have to go back. D.E.B.S. does mention losing contact with the various levels Mario needs to find entrances to.
  • Item Get!: Whenever Mario gets a Shine Sprite, he does a pose while the camera zooms out.
  • Jerkass: Il Piantissimo is an egotistical braggart who challenges you to flag races and will trash-talk you if you lose. Even the Piantas, who themselves are considered very Apathetic Citizens, despise him.
  • Kangaroo Court: Mario does not receive a defense attorney or witness testimony. He is arrested on the sole premise that his face is the same as the one on a poster, despite multiple witnesses being able to attest that he had just arrived on the island. The one objection he does receive is instantly overruled, despite it coming from Princess Peach.
  • Kill It with Water: Many enemies in the game can be killed by spraying them with water, and the ones that don't get killed will be stunned.
  • Kilroy Was Here: Shadow Mario has gone out of his way to rub Mario's face in the graffiti. Not only is one of the most common shapes a giant M logo, the very first shape of paint you see, which Peach's airplane has to skid to avoid, is a rough rendition of Mario's face.
  • King Mook: Many of the bosses in the game are alpha, enlarged versions of regular enemies: Petey Piranha, Gooper Blooper, a very large Wiggler (in the absence of regular-sized Wigglers, in this game the boss represents the Plungelos instead, with them being the ones who protect Wiggler while it's sleeping), Mecha-Bowser (Mechakoopas, though these don't appear in the game), and King Boo.
  • Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid: Corona Mountain. The lava is actually Grimy Water that is colored yellow and orange. If Mario falls into it, there is a water splash, he instantly dies, and his silhouette can be seen floating like a dead corpse. If you use a cheat code to keep your life meter full at all times, you can actually swim under the surface just like in regular water, too.
  • Leaning Tower of Mooks: In Pinna Park, there's an enemy known as a "Dango". It has a tower of ten Strollin' Stus on top of its head. Defeating them nets Mario a blue coin.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Corona Mountain is the volcanic heart of Isle Delfino, and serves as the game's final level. While short, it displays several elements like burning platforms, lava that can only be crossed with a mud boat, and Spikes of Doom.
  • Level in the Clouds: The game has the daytime obstacle courses, as well as the highest area of Pianta Village. The obstacle courses consist of wooden contraptions floating in the sky, and in each case Mario has to deal with their gimmicks in order to clear them (for example, the Pachinko stage has a collection of red coins necessary to claim the Shine Sprite, but the surrounding physics of the contraption makes their collection difficult). The high area of Pianta Village can be accessed with the fluffs that appear in Episode 8, and one of the necessary red coins in that episode lies in the floating clouds. The oddity is that the cloud platforms can be enlarged with FLUDD's water.
  • Levels Take Flight: Gelato Beach's "The Sandbird is Born" episode has Mario riding the titular bird through a cloud-filled course to collect red coins.
  • Lily-Pad Platform: The lake at Bianco Hills has a number of very large lily pads that Mario is able to stand on.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Bowser Jr. claims Peach is his mother. He's wrong, of course, and knows it.
  • MacGuffin: Mario needs to Shine Sprites to restore Delfino Island's sunlight but no one uses them directly for anything.
  • Machine Monotone: FLUDD's voice is largely monotone and electronic.
  • Making a Splash: FLUDD lets Mario shoot water at enemies.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Gender Inverted, probably thanks to the stork in earlier Mario games. It's obvious to everyone that Bowser Jr. is Bowser's son, and Peach isn't his mother.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Petey Piranha, of all the Piranha Plants.
  • Marathon Boss: Phantamanta provides one of the longest boss battles in the Mario series for being an Asteroids Monster. It starts as a big, phantom-like manta ray, and can split into up to 64 smaller rays, which spread across the coast of Sirena Beach as they spill electric goo; this forces the player to both clean up the mess and eliminate the rays one by one.
  • Mascot Mook: The iconic Goombas and Koopa Troopas are nowhere to be found in the game. The former is replaced by the functionally identical Strollin' Stu, while the latter only has variants of the turtle appear.
  • Mechanical Monster: Mecha-Bowser is a large robot modeled after the Koopa King. It is piloted by Shadow Mario a.k.a. Bowser Jr., and serves as the boss of Pinna Park; it can breathe fire and shoot missiles, forcing Mario to dispel any incoming projectile with the help of FLUDD.
  • Mind Screw: The secret levels where Shadow Mario takes FLUDD, if not just for the backgrounds.
  • Mini-Boss: The game has Bowser Jr. in his Shadow Mario persona, fought in the seventh episode of every world; since the worlds' main bosses are always found and faced in prior episodes, this results in an inversion of the trope (especially as the event flag that unlocks the final stage lies in defeating Shadow Mario, not the main bosses). Other minibosses present in the game include the Polluted Piranha Plant (fought five times across Bianco Hills and Delfino Plaza), the Plungelos (in Gelato Beach) and Phantamanta (in Sirena Beach).
  • Mirror Boss: Both Shadow Mario and Il Piantissimo have the same moves as Mario when facing them.
  • A Molten Date with Death: A physics-based example. Fall into red-hot lava? Enjoy watching Mario burn to death on the surface, just as any normal person would, if they're even able to get up that close.
  • Muck Monster: With the Green Aesop nature of the game, many of the monsters present either thrive on, cause or are made of Shadow Mario's goop.
    • Glorpedoes, or simply "Igas", are jellyfish-like sentient blobs of goop that crawls out of piles of goop to attack mario, creating goop stains wherever they explode.
    • The Pirahna Plants present in the game all prefer goop to water, the Proto Piranha/Gatekeepers growing a coelescence of brown and black goop and Petey Pirahna vomiting the stuff up before melting into it when he's defeated.
    • Bloopers native to Isle Delfino, or "Gesso", spit an ink-like black goop. One of the missions in Ricco Harbor involves the harbor's water flooding with this black goop not unlike an oil-spill caused by Gooper Blooper.
    • The Phantamanta that haunts Hotel Delfino's beach leaves a slimey trail of electrical goop, resulting in the hotel disappearing under it.
  • Mutually Exclusive Powerups:
    • Besides the always-accessible Spray Nozzle, there are 3 secondary nozzles for FLUDD (Hover, Turbo, and Rocket) that Mario can equip. These nozzles cannot be on Mario's person at the same time, and if Mario gets a new one, it will replace the old one.
    • FLUDD cannot be used when riding Yoshi. While Yoshi can spit juice to functionally substitute for the Spray Nozzle, none of his other abilities replicate the other three nozzles. In exchange, however, Yoshi's juice meter is on a timer rather than based off consumption, so it can be used quite a bit in a short amount of time without needing to recharge.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Much of Sirena Beach revolves around Mario battling against ghostly enemies, which are attacking the local hotel and causing a huge inconvenience to the employees and the guests. The first opponent to appear is Phantamanta, a large ghostly manta ray that leaves a trace of electrified painting as it moves. After its defeat, the hotel is available for access, but the problems have only begun: Boos are invading the rooms and the attic during several episodes, a scheme planned by King Boo. A pink-colored type of Boo Block appears as well, which only turns into a solid block when Mario sprays water onto it.
  • Nintendo Hard: This game has unconventional gameplay compared to the previous games, and its physics engine has a tendency to glitch out. Several Shine Sprite objectives require very precision platforming skills or excellent timing. Special mention goes to the Delfino Plaza mission that requires you to keep a Yoshi alive (by not falling into the water or having its Juice meter deplete) as you ride it to a pipe on a far-off island that you need to de-gunk by hopping across several slow-moving boats. Once you get there and jump in the pipe, you have to ride down a polluted waterway that instantly kills Mario if he falls in, riding on slowly disintegrating leaves to collect red coins. There's also the Red Coin level based on a pachinko machine that is incredibly difficult due to the above mentioned wonky physics, which seem to be at their wonkiest and most frustrating here.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: When you return to Delfino Plaza after defeating Bowser, an "X" graffiti can be seen on the side of one of the buildings during a cutscene, regardless of whether you cleaned it off during the course of the game.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Eely-Mouth is hardly evil, but its incredibly dirty teeth are heavily polluting Noki Bay. As the beast retreats into the ocean depths, it gladly relinquishes a Shine Sprite as thanks for the dental work it receives.
  • Nostalgia Level: The FLUDD-less levels strip away all the gimmicks in favor of old-school platforming. The music and some of the backgrounds add to the nostalgic effect.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: If Eely-Mouth traps Mario in its mouth, FLUDD will say "It is dark...I feel fright...".
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: FLUDD says this word-per-word when the head of Mecha-Bowser takes off for Corona Mountain with Peach in tow.
  • Only Sane Man: The owner of Hotel Delfino is one of the few people who can tell that Shadow Mario is an imposter and not the real Mario.
  • Opening the Sandbox: The game opens completely after Shadow Mario starts trying to steal FLUDD accesories and a Yoshi egg. When those are retrieved, every Shine Sprite from Delfino Plaza will be ready to be collected and any level yet to be unlocked will be accessible with the help of those powerups. In fact, by that point the only thing needed to unlock the final mission is defeating Shadow Mario in every level at least once each.
  • Out of Focus: Compared to 64, Bowser is barely in this game in favor of his son Bowser Jr. Bowser only appears in person at the very end of the game as the Final Boss.
  • Oxygen Meter: As per the norm with 3D Mario games, Mario has one while swimming underwater. It's a lot less user-friendly compared to 64 or Galaxy onward, however; given how much shorter it is, how much more slow and awkward the swimming controls are, and the fact you immediately drown — regardless of your health — upon it running out. In Noki Bay, you do get a Fishbowl Helmet that lets you dive deeper and stay underwater a lot longer; which is an absolute godsend for the Eely Mouth boss battle in particular.
  • Palatial Sandcastle: A massive sand-gate act as a portal to one of the Shine Sprites. As might be expected, though, it will collapse quickly if you don't hurry through it.
  • Palmtree Panic: The game's tropical setting means that there are several levels that take place at the beach, with Gelato Beach being the purest iteration due to its focus on classic beach imagery in its aesthetics and level design (there's a nearby coral reef, open-air beachside stores/dining, sand castles, etc.). While Pinna Park and Sirena Beach are an Amusement Park and a Big Boo's Haunt hotel, respectively, they both have a part of their maps at the beach and a couple of their Episodes dedicated to that section.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Shadow Mario. Despite his totally blue color and watery texture (and the fact that his eyes occasionally go completely red), he is obviously Mario doing all that vandalism.
  • Le Parkour: You can waste a lot of time just running, diving, sliding, and wall-jumping all around the hub or levels.
  • Pinball Zone: The Pachinko Machine level is not quite a pinball machine, but it does treat Mario as the ball.
  • Plant Hair: Piantas have a palm tree on their heads.
  • Platforming Pocket Pal: FLUDD is one of those examples where the platforming gameplay revolves around. That said, it does get stolen in the situations where it would be most convenient.
  • Playable Epilogue: The game features a playable epilogue in the story itself, and one for each major level.
    • Levels start off filled with graffiti and enemies for which Shadow Mario is responsible. Once Mario cleans up the area and chases him down in Episode 7 of the level, Episode 8 is unlocked as a playable epilogue.
    • After beating Shadow Mario in each level and winning the game, the player is given an updated Delfino Plaza. It now has new NPC dialogue and messages, and a boat back to the game's tutorial area, where an extra challenge and Blue Coin await, is accessible near the portal to Ricco Harbor.
  • Playable Menu: The file select screen has Mario on a 2-D plane, with the files selected by hitting blocks. You can have Mario use all his regular platforming moves to play around the blocks.
  • Police Are Useless: The only time the Delfino Police attempt to do their jobs is when they arrest Mario — the wrong guy. The worst example of their uselessness comes near the beginning of the game when Shadow Mario attempts to capture Peach, and Mario has to chase him down. The police not only do nothing to stop the kidnapping, but they still refuse to acknowledge that Mario is not the real criminal even though the entire scene unfolds right in front of their eyes, and prefer to accuse him of slacking off.
  • Portal Picture: Many stages are reached by finding a large "M" painted by Shadow Mario that shows an animated image of the next area, spraying it until the goop covering the front is gone, and jumping next to the M. Mario will dissolve into the paint and wind up in the level depicted.
  • Portal Endpoint Resemblance: The multi-colored M portal that takes Mario to the second world, Ricco Harbor, is placed in the wall of the Shine Sprite shop, which is itself a harbor. And the portal that takes him to Gelato Beach is located in a lighthouse facing east, in the beach of Delfino Plaza.
  • Port Town: Delfino Plaza is a port town. By the nature of the whole game's setting and story, it's also quite the tourist spot.
  • Precision F-Strike: An internal example. A map object relating to Gelato Beach has the file name "sandbombbaseshit", which was apparently meant to be "Sand Bomb Base Shit". Since the name was internal, and considering what the model looks like, the choice of filename appears to be deliberate, as the filename can't be seen by normal means.
  • Pushy Mooks: Sunshine introduces the Cataquacks, round enemies that fling Mario into the air upon contact. The blue ones do this harmlessly, while the red ones cause Collision Damage in the process.
  • Racing Minigame: The three races with Il Piantissimo, and two separate missions in Ricco Harbor where you have to ride a Gooper Blooper around as if it were a jetski and beat a certain time whilst doing some sort of task (the first level has you navigate an obstacle course, and the second has you collecting red coins).
  • Railroading: In stark contrast to Super Mario 64, Sunshine is much more linear and restrictive in gameplay, since you can typically only get one Shine at a time due to how each mission sets up the levels, and there are scripted story events in levels like Delfino Plaza and Pinna Park — the Shadow Mario objective in each world has to be completed before Corona Mountain opens up, so sequence breaking gets you nowhere in this game from the get-go, since you have to travel to each world in the first place. The upside is that you can reach the final level with as little as 50 Shines.
  • Recognition Failure: The citizens of Isle Delfino are aware of Yoshi's existence, but are not able to recognize him. The news agency thinks a Yoshi egg on a rooftop is potentially dangerous, and one Pianta in Pianta Village wonders if Yoshi will attend the upcoming festival even if Yoshi is standing right in front of her.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • Shadow Mario (a.k.a. Bowser Jr.) shows up about a dozen times total, the seventh mission of each world being an encounter with him, even after his disguise has been blown. Each "fight" against him consists of chasing him down until you've sprayed him with enough water.
    • Gooper Blooper is fought three times, twice in Ricco Harbor, and once in Noki Bay. Gooper Blooper manages to use a new trick in his second Ricco Harbor encounter, but Noki Bay reduces him back to his first one (as this fight can be done out of order).
    • The Piranha Plant made of goop has to be fought five times. The first three fights are identical, but the last two increase the difficulty by doubling the amount of damage you need to deal.
    • Petey Piranha shows up twice, both in Bianco Hills (though the second fight doesn't take place in an encased battlefield, but instead in all of Bianco Hills).
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The sunflowers with eyes that only have bright looks and warm greetings for Mario unless something is actively trying to kill them. They are also the only characters that consistently answer in a positive way to being sprayed with water.
  • Rule of Seven: The last level is unlocked after defeating Shadow Mario in each of the other seven worlds. And in each of them, Shadow Mario is found in the seventh episode.
  • Save the Princess: Inevitably. Once Shadow Mario is properly introduced, he'll attempt to get away with Peach. You chase him around town and force him to drop her. Peach will subsequently hang around Delfino Plaza, and you can even talk to her. But when Mario gets 10 Shine Sprites, she permanently gets kidnapped for the rest of the game, and she doesn't even return to Delfino Plaza after clearing the game, so Toadsworth and the Toads continue to worry about her.
  • Scaling the Summit: After reaching the end of Corona Mountain, Mario has to equip the Rocket Nozzle to start scaling the top of the mountain by jumping between Solid Clouds. It is at the top where he'll find Princess Peach, who's being forced to take a shower with Bowser and Bowser Jr.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: There are wild bees guarding beehives attached to tropical trees. Yoshi can eat them one by one and, in some cases, when all of them are eaten, either a blue coin or an extra life will appear. The beehives in certain levels are more dangerous than most of Shadow Mario's minions.
  • Scenery Porn: Definitely one of the game's selling points, especially when compared to the blocky, primitive polygons of Super Mario 64. The environments are rich and detailed, the lighting is excellent, and the rendering of the water is at least as good as in Galaxy. The pop-up (or "fade-in") is also remarkably good, except for some items like coins. The huge draw distance helps add to the game's cohesiveness; you can actually see other locations from different points on the island.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • In Noki Bay, there is lone 1-Up standing at a nearby wall for an easy pickup. Attempting to grab it causes a punching glove to pop out from the wall and send Mario flying a few feet.
    • If you reach the end of the poison canal lily pad ride without all the red coins, there's a warp pipe which you would think takes you back to the beginning of the level so you can try again. WRONG! It deposits you all the way back in Delfino Plaza... which means you have to do the long, tedious boat ride with Yoshi all over again just to get back to it. By contrast, if you just kill yourself, you can restart at the beginning of the lily pad course. Alternatively, you can attempt to do a balancing act on the sides of the course and use the Hover Nozzle to grab any missed coins, but this is a dangerous method to use if you're not careful.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Bowser lies to his son that Peach is his mother so that he'll help him capture the princess. In the ending, Bowser Jr. reveals that he knew all along.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Fruit variation: Sunshine was many players' first introduction to the durian, an infamous fruit native to Southeast Asia noted for its spiked rind, acquired taste, and pungent odor. It's also infamous in-game for being the only fruit you can't pick up, with Mario having to resort to kicking them around.
  • Sentient Sands: The Sand Bird is a gigantic bird made out of sand blocks which flies over Delfino Island. It hatched from an egg that was kept in the Shine Tower in Gelato Beach.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • Unlocking Yoshi is supposed to be mandatory to beat the game, as a number of Episodes require using him in some fashion and he's needed to give access to Sirena Beach (via eating the pineapple blocking the warp pipe). Abusing glitches and wall clips means that he can be completely avoided, plus this allows for completing levels out of their intended order.
    • The warp pipe to Pianta Village is on top of the Shine Gate, which normally requires the Rocket Nozzle (acquired for use in Delfino Plaza a good chunk into the game) to access due to how tall it is. It's possible to scale the Gate without it by doing some mildly difficult platforming. Only the first four Shines can be completed without Yoshi, however, unless you manage to clip into the entrance to the secret level in Episode 5 by going out of bounds, in which case the other Episodes can be completed as well.
    • You can get the second Shine Sprite in Bianco Hills without obtaining the first one by going straight to Petey Piranha at to the top of the windmill during Episode 1. This gets lampshaded by an NPC at the windmill if you talk to him, as he wonders what you're doing there.
    • It's possible get the Episode 8 Shine Sprite of Gelato Beach at any time by doing a somewhat tricky wall clip. Getting it makes all previous Episodes available and allows you to jump straight to Episode 7, the only one of that level that's mandatory to beat the game.
    • The intended way to do "The Runaway Ferris Wheel" is to climb a series of grates below the ferris wheel. It's possible to use the Hover Nozzle to simply fly over to the platform with the objective from a platform above the pound because the fast-spinning Ferris Wheel (unlike the slower version you normally encounter) has no collision box.
    • The intended way to do "The Goopy Inferno" is to go through a specific path in the underside of Pianta Village to reach the location FLUDD is at. This can all be bypassed by climbing up the giant tree to the left of the village entrance and jumping off from one of the branches, which is hanging just above the spot you need to go to.
  • Shall I Repeat That?: You're given the option to rehear both FLUDD's explanation of the gameplay mechanics and the backstory on the loss of the Shine Sprites.
  • Sinister Stingrays: Phantamanta is a mysterious being that resembles the silhouette of a giant manta ray. It spreads terror on Sirena Beach by appearing out of nowhere and covering the area with electric goop.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • Electrokoopas have electrified shells, which they can use as projectile weapons. The key to defeat them is to spray them with water right after they throw the shell; this way, the electricity will creep onto their bodies, killing them. It's also possible to simply kick them out from below in fences (in fact, this is the only way to get rid of a larger-than-usual specimen that's overcharging the ferris wheel of Pinna Park).
    • Phantamanta is a ghostly manta ray that spreads electric paint as it moves. It also doubles as an Asteroids Monster, as spraying water will split it into smaller manta rays, and each of them will continue leaving traces of electric paint.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: There's a special attack you can perform in midair (in midair, press the jump button while holding the squirt button) that sprays a bit of your water in a giant shotgun blast of water with huge coverage. If you're willing to spend all your water, it can clean huge areas and end Shadow Mario chase scenes in a hurry. With Yoshi, it's even more useful, since the juice meter seems to be based off time rather than usage, so the shotgun blasts can be done a lot more often with Yoshi than with FLUDD before needing to reload.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Docked at Ricco Harbor is a yellow submarine.
    • Robert Fludd was a 16th century mystic and scientist with interest in perpetual motion machines involving pumps, and how blood is pumped.
    • Il Piantissimo's face texture is a Palette Swap of the Running Man from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
    • Phantamanta is a reference to the end of The Shining, in which a shadowy manta-like shape issues from the hotel as it burns, before fragmenting and vanishing. The boss battle occurs near a hotel, like in that novel.
    • Mario occasionally utters "The horror..." when he dies.
    • Mecha-Bowser is an obvious reference to Mechagodzilla, but takes it a step further by his intro music taking beats from the song that played when the original Mechagodzilla revealed itself.
    • Episode 2 of Ricco Harbor is called "Blooper Surfing Safari".
  • Shown Their Work: In Gelato Beach, a female Pianta warns her kid not to go out to the coral reef because it's dangerous. Indeed, people who have touched coral reefs have been known to get painful lacerations; some corals are even poisonous.
  • Solid Clouds: Present in the Sand Bird obstacle course as well as the highest part of Pianta Village. When Mario sprays a cloud with FLUDD's water, its volume will increase.
  • Space Whale Aesop:
    • After Eely-Mouth is defeated, FLUDD mentions that you should always brush your teeth. Yes, it's bad not to, but most people aren't A- A giant eel whose teeth have literally gone completely black, or B- someone whose act of not cleaning teeth pollutes a whole bay with purple acid.
    • FLUDD mentions that you need to be kind to your pets after dealing with the flaming Chain Chomplets. Real life pets won't turn red-hot and go on a rampage, covering the town with lava, plus the Chomplets weren't even being mistreated by their owner in the first place.
  • Space Zone: Four of the secret levels appear to take place in outer space.
  • Spikes of Doom: The game marks the introduction of floors with spikes that periodically protract and retract, thus requiring Mario to time the jumps carefully. These floors return later in Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • If you spray the WANTED: MARIO posters in the plaza, they'll give you coins. You're cleaning Mario's name.
    • "Puerto" in Spanish means "Harbor". So Ricco Harbor almost literally means Puerto Rico.
  • Steel Drums and Sunshine: Gelato Beach has a relaxing tune on steel drums and saxophone.
  • Stock Audio Clip: Several of Mario's voice clips are reused from 64, while others are new.
  • Suddenly Voiced: This is the first and so far only Super Mario game to use an extensive voice acting system in the cutscenes (with Odyssey being the closest the series has come since). Bowser in particular never had English dialogue in the games until now.
  • Sunny Sunflower Disposition: Episode 4 of Pinna Park gives you a mission to help the sunflowers outside the park. Completing the mission gives you a Shine Sprite. Also, if you water them, they give you Gold Coins, making them one of the main sources of coins for the 100-coins Shine Sprite of this level (the other being the more exploitable bullet bills in Episode 2).
  • Super Drowning Skills: The breed of Yoshi native to Delfino Island cannot swim. He'll disappear if he enters any body of water deep enough for Mario to swim in.
  • Take That, Audience!: Losing to Il Piantissimo results in you getting trash-talked with cutting insults.
    Il Piantissimo: "You pokey little flab-biscuit!"
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: "It is dark... I feel fright." Possibly justified, as this is probably the only way FLUDD has of expressing any kind of emotion.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Delfino Plaza, Bianco Hills, Ricco Harbor, and Gelato Beach all use different arrangements of the same melody.
  • The Power of the Sun: The Shine Sprites are designed after a stylized sun. They also provide sunlight to the island, which will fade into darkness if the Sprites are scattered.
  • The Tetris Effect: Try playing (and FAILING) at "Red Coins on the Water" (at Ricco Harbor) enough times, and you might start to see your own vision feeling like it's careening left and right the way the Surfing Blooper does if you're not gentle enough with the analog stick. This effect may persist even after you turn the game off and walk away.
  • Third-Person Shooter: Like many 3D platform games during its generation, Sunshine spices things up by mixing in aiming and shooting mechanics, albeit with a family-friendly twist of using water instead of bullets. As if to drive the point home, early previews of the game gave FLUDD a more gun-like nozzle that was ultimately Bowdlerized to the version in the final game.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Yoshi can create platforms by spraying juice at enemies, and they travel horizontally or vertically depending on what fruit it ate. This is for the most part, a pointless ability that could easily be mistaken as a weird visual effect, except it's necessary to complete "Yoshi's Fruit Adventure" in Ricco Harbor. The arbitrary way it was implemented comes off as the developers designing Yoshi around the level rather than the other way around.
  • Tightrope Walking: There are many tightropes which Mario can cross and bounce on. Mario may seem like he's always on the verge of falling while on the them, but it's impossible to fall unless you purposely jump off.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Many of the Red Coin missions are timed, with the amount allotted varying based on the level.
    • "Scrubbing Sirena Beach" (Episode 6 of Sirena Beach) and "Piantas in Need" (Episode 6 of Pianta Village) require completing their objectives before 3 minutes have passed.
    • For Episode 8 of Pinna Park, you have to pop all of the Bowser Jr. balloons before the roller coaster you're riding completes 3 laps.
  • Title Scream: A rather subdued example, as befitting of the tropical island vacation theme, where Mario enthusiastically but quietly says "Super Mario Sunshine, woohoo!" on the title screen.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Delfino Plaza's BGM is rearranged for the first three levels, as well as the credits.
  • Too Dumb to Live: There are two Piantas (one in Delfino Plaza and one at Pianta Village) that end up on fire and proceed to run around in panic. Both are within spitting distance of water bodies that they could just jump in to put themselves out, but you have to do it.
  • Towering Flower: The regular sunflowers are already rather big, but the Great Sunflower takes it much further, being several times as big as Mario
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The game takes place on Isle Delfino, a tropical island Mario was going on vacation to before he got framed by Bowser Jr. and is forced to clean it up and collect the Shine Sprites before he can leave.
  • Under the Sea: Noki Bay has a huge underwater area and the water is poisoned on the first visit by an eel's dirty teeth.
  • Underwater Boss Battle: Eely-Mouth, which is fought in the deepest waters of Noki Bay in Episode 4. Mario has to clean its teeth while shooting water onto them (since Mario is already underwater, what FLUDD's own water does is effectively brush the monster's teeth). Toxic bubbles come out of Eely Mouth, and will drastically reduce Mario's Oxygen Meter if touched; however, if they're shot with FLUDD's water, they'll be purified and will actually restore oxygen upon contact.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • There's exactly one Chain Chomp in the game. It's encountered at Pianta Village during Episode 4, and Mario's objective is to calm it down. It's the stage's closest thing to a boss fight.
    • There's only one group of Stackin' Stus in the game, being in Pinna Park. Defeating the large alpha nets a blue coin.
    • Also in Pinna Park is a flying enemy called Swipin' Stu, which has the unique ability to steal Mario's cap right off his head. A group of them appear on the beach outside the park, but only in certain episodes. A walking variation of Swipin' Stu exists Dummied Out in the King Boo boss fight, but never appears in-game at all.
  • Variable Mix: While riding Yoshi, the music of whatever area you're in changes to include drums and other instruments.
  • Verbal Backspace: In the fifth level of Sirena Beach, the owner of the hotel ask Mario if he could be tricked / "asked" to examine the basement of the casino to investigate the odd noises.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Corona Mountain. The gate to the mountain is present since the beginning of the game, but won't open until Shadow Mario is defeated in every world. Interestingly, Corona Mountain is the only location that can be seen from anywhere on Isle Delfino.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can water the sentient sunflowers outside of Pinna Park, who will give coins as thanks.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • You can have Mario be quite the bastard if you choose. You can run around Delfino Plaza stealing fruit from the vendors or messing up their displays, or simply go around dousing NPCs with water and jumping on characters who don't need to be cleaned. They get upset, but they don't do anything to you. On the other hand, this is a surprisingly satisfying way to deal with characters who are rude to you. Jumping on them also yields a lot of momentum.
    • Additionally, you can throw fruit (and kick durians) at NPCs, who react in pain the same way as being sprayed.
    • You can drown Yoshi, as he's weak against water in this game.
    • You can use a body slide to actually spread the graffiti and swallow up some of the NPCs, or lure those cute little bubble creatures that come out of the goop to spread the stuff to clean areas (avoid them as they jump on you or it won't work). Go restart the game and have fun with it in Delfino Plaza, or go to the second Petey Piranha mission in Bianco Hills. Lots of potential at those spots.
  • Violation of Common Sense: One of the best moves for getting around quickly is to spray water at the ground, then dive at that spot. You'll keep drifting forward like you're on a wet slip-and-slide, still have limited directional control, and you'll just keep going until you jump out of it or run into something. That little patch of water sure goes a long way, even on sand, stone, you name it.
  • Voodoo Shark: It's explained in the manual that the breed of Yoshis found on Isle Delfino cannot swim nor stand water, which are pretty questionable evolutionary traits to develop on a tropical isle, to say the least.
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction: The scene where the Pianta Police go to take Mario away.
  • Watching the Sunset: The end has Mario and Peach watching the sunset on Sirena Beach (where the sun always seems to be setting).
  • Weaponized Exhaust: The Hover Nozzle, Rocket Nozzle, and Turbo Nozzle have their primary purposes of augmenting Mario's movements, but the water they shoot out can still be used to clean up goop and fight enemies. Using the Hover Nozzle or Rocket Nozzle above a pool of harmful goop will clear it away and ensure Mario gets a safe landing.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • Piantas will generally yell at Mario if they are sprayed with water or jumped on.
    • The guests in Hotel Delfino will complain about Mario barging into their rooms uninvited, and a Pianta woman will chastise Mario for his presence in the ladies' bathroom. Also, if Mario has a bunch of coins when he talks to the janitor in the attic, he'll get called a greedy little coin-grubber.
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: Mario's FLUDD is used for nearly everything. Taken further with the blue coins; they're entirely optional and almost every single one is "spray water at X" where X ranges from things that are very clever to things that are... less so.
  • Who Dares?: "MARIO! How dare you disturb my family vacation!"
  • Windmill Scenery: The Big Windmill in Bianco Hills. Its purposes other than being decorative are a mystery, as it is seen to be completely empty.
  • Wingding Eyes: Mario gets hearts in his eyes during the opening sequence while thinking of all the good food the island has to offer.
    Announcer: Come enjoy a natural wonderland, to which we've added the world's finest resort facilities, a spectacular amusement park, and...succulent seafood!
    Mario: [Goes into a trance with the aforementioned heart-eyes] Ooooh~!
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Yoshi dies (Or "heads for home", according to the manual) if you don't feed him enough fruit.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Plungelos are Cataquack-like creatures who cheerfully walk over the tilting mirrors located in Gelato Beach in Episode 2. Problem is, the Sand Bird needs the sunlight reflected by the mirrors to hatch from its egg, so Mario has to defeat the Plungelos: One in the first mirror, two in the second and three in the third, for a total of six. The reward is a Shine Sprite, but there's an additional side effect: The restored sunlight reflections wakes up the giant Wiggler who was sleeping at the top of the tower securing the Sand Bird's egg, which leads to a full-fledged boss battle between it and Mario in Episode 3.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: For some reason, the Delfino Emergency Broadcast System deems an egg on a roof worthy of an emergency bulletin. Yoshi eggs are rare and very interesting, but emergency alert worthy?
  • You Don't Look Like You: As aforementioned, most of the classic Mario enemies were replaced with substitutes in this game (Strollin' Stus replacing Goombas and Koopas only being present in the form of new varieties such as Electro-Koopas and Snooze-a-Koopas), but the classic enemies that did make it into Sunshine were heavily redesigned. Case in point: Bob-ombs with wind-up-toy feet and an LED display for a face and some rather inebriated-looking Boos. Encyclopedia Super Mario Bros explains the designs (as well as Yoshi's weakness to water) as a side effect of the creatures being created by Bowser Jr.'s Graffiti.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: God bless Princess Peach for trying to stick up for Mario on trial, but she was sadly ignored.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Even if you know the trick for opening up the western ruins in Noki Bay, you will never be able to do so in Episode 1... because Mario doesn't "learn" how to do it until Episode 2. This applies even if you come back to Episode 1 after completing Episode 2.



Video Example(s):


Down With Petey Piranha

Petey Piranha is a notable member of the Piranha Plant species, but instead of eating creatures, it vomits gunk. Other occasions, however, show that it isn't above ingesting creatures.

How well does it match the trope?

3.25 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ManEatingPlant

Media sources: