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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Because of how exaggerated the Kangaroo Court is at the beginning of the game, some believe the Piantas just saw Mario as the solution to their problems and slapped him with the court sentence to make sure he'd stay to fix them. There's also a group of Piantas in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door that are clearly running a crime syndicate, which does little to dissuade such interpretation.
    • The Piantas and Nokis are not hoarding Shine Sprites; rather, the Shine Sprites are simply hiding nearby and are only willing to reveal themselves to Mario when he performs a good deed for them or satisfies their challenges because the Shine Sprites need to determine that Mario is trustworthy.
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    • When Princess Peach says "Mama? Mama Peach? I'm your... Mama?" to Bowser Jr., she was most likely intended to be expressing confusion and disbelief at a ridiculous, bizarre delusion (more like "You think I'm your mama?"). However, between her ditzy, vacant delivery and the fact that she never outright denies the claim, quite a few fans (including SomecallmeJohnny and Caddicarus) have interpreted this infamous scene as "Peach did it with Bowser and is genuinely considering the possibility of Bowser Jr. being her child".
    • Another one involving Peach casts her as a Manipulative Bitch who pretends to be a bit of a ditz while secretly masterminding the peaceful annexation of Isle Delfino, a banana republic on the verge of collapse.
  • Annoying Video Game Helper: FLUDD will frequently interrupt you to give extremely obvious advice. The best example is when you're fighting Gooper Blooper, when he'll tell you what to do even if you're already doing that very thing.
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  • Anti-Climax Boss: Just Ground Pound the platforms in the final boss's stage, which is very easy because his attacks aren't that hard to avoid. The hardest part is keeping yourself from clipping through the floor into a bottomless pit.
  • Awesome Music: While Sunshine itself tends to get mixed reception from a lot of fans, one thing people can agree on is that the soundtrack kicks ass. Particular mention goes to "Platforms-A-Plenty!" (the secret course theme), which is an a Capella version of the classic Super Mario Bros overworld theme that always manages to entertain despite it being played in some of the most Nintendo Hard portions of the game, "Deep Sea of Mare" (the theme that plays during Noki Bay's eighth mission), which is often considered to be one of the best and most relaxing underwater themes since "Aquatic Ambience", and Bowser's battle theme, which to many players makes the rather anticlimactic final battle feel kinda worth it.
  • Badass Decay:
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    • Bowser goes from being an imposing antagonist in 64 to a goofy dad with an easy final boss fight. Thankfully, Super Mario Galaxy rectified this and made Bowser and son more foreboding.
    • The Yoshis of Isle Delfino not only have lost the ability to swim, but they outright dissolve in water. You'd think living on a tropical island would make the Delfino subspecies more adapted to water, not the other way around.
  • Broken Base:
    • The game's commercial definitely split the fanbase. Is it a fun ad or is it just cheesy? It's meant to be a parody of PSAs with upbeat and catchy songs, but people felt it was just dumb. View it and judge for yourself.
    • Whether getting 100% completion is worth it or not. Some argue that it provides for a fun extra challenge, while other feel that it is too frustrating and that there isn't enough of a reward. Some people have gone as far as to say that the 100% completion ruins the game for them.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop: There's two "duh" moments that occurs in the game by FLUDD. In one level, after you clean an eel of its bacteria-ridden teeth, FLUDD tells the player to always take care of their teeth. In another level, after you get the baby Chain Chomps into a pool of water so they can cool off, FLUDD informs you to always be kind to your pets.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: It's not until Pinna Park that you get any explicit evidence that Bowser is involved in the plot at all, but him having been the villain in most of the previous Mario platformers meant that nobody was really surprised when he showed up anyway.
  • Contested Sequel: Mainly due to being very different from the previous well-loved Super Mario 64. Some notable points of debate:
    • Is FLUDD extremely useful or tacked on?
    • Is the inclusion of voice acting a step forward or awkward?
    • Is the shift in direction from the openness of 64 to the more linear Sunshine a good thing?
  • Critical Dissonance: Sunshine got excellent reviews, though not quite as good as the other 3D Mario platformers. To this day, reception among fans remains far more mixed due to the corny cutscenes, Bowser's Villain Decay, and the removal/replacement of many of Mario's moves from Super Mario 64.
  • Damsel Scrappy: While Peach has always been kidnapped in previous games by Bowser for his own personal agenda, Sunshine highlighted how painfully predictable it was, earning her a negative repetition in this regard. She gets kidnapped several times, including one scene where she sees Shadow Mario running at her from a distance, clearly intending to abduct her - and she just stands there - making no effort to run/hide/fight back and letting him take her.
  • Demonic Spiders: Red Cataquacks. They'll toss you into the air just like the blue ones, but will also take away 1 health every time they do. They also tend to come in flocks, and you won't land far from where they tossed you. Getting stunlocked is all too easy. And good luck trying to complete the last mission of Gelato Beach, as there's a dozen of them waiting to ruin your day.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Corona Mountain is rather short and empty, and the unorthodox controls of the wooden boat that has to be used at one point makes it harder than necessary.
  • Ear Worm: "Platforms-A-Plenty", an acapella cover of the classic "World 1-1" overworld theme from the original Super Mario Bros., which plays whenever you travel to the FLUDD-less platforming sub-worlds. Since these areas can be really demanding tests of platforming precision, you'll probably spend a lot of time in there so it's bound to get stuck in your head.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: 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.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • When the Pianta statue is submerged, a Toad can be found stuck in the goop; clean him off, and he talks about what the goop tastes like. What kind of goop tastes like an ice cream flavor? Are we sure we're cleaning off pollution or a little kid's favorite 31 flavors?
    • Because the precise details of the transaction are only cryptically alluded to, the revelation that the Paintbrush was an invention of Professor E. Gadd's has led fans to come up with many an Alternate Character Interpretation for him.
    • That Peach had to think about it for a second when Bowser Jr. said she was his mother got a lot of people wondering why she had to think about it.
    • On August 22nd of 2019, Nintendo of America tweeted "Even Mario needs a little #Summer vacation! No matter where your summer odyssey took you, we hope it was filled with sunshine!" The specific wording, combined with a never-before-seen artwork of Mario in a new outfit, combined with Nintendo's Gamescom presentations containing a Mario figurine with various fruits next to him, fueled speculation for either Super Mario Sunshine 2 or Sunshine content in a hypothetical Super Mario Odyssey 2.
  • Fanon: Mainly because they're the same colors, it's widely believed that the five Toads in this game are the Toad Brigade from Super Mario Galaxy (with the Blue and Yellow ones in particular being the same as in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, but it's never been confirmed.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Anyone ever wondered how different things would have been if Peach had a better chance to defend Mario in court?
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Despite Bowser admitting that Peach wasn't Jr.'s mother, and Jr. admitting he knew this all along at the end of the game, many fans don't believe this or try to find ways around this. Others simply find it highly suspicious that Peach didn't reject this outright or react like a normal person would when told such a ludicrous claim, which has several fascinating and disturbing implications that she may have done something similar even if the specific claim turned out to be false. It's not helped by the fact that in Mario Superstar Baseball Junior still reffers to Peach as "Mama".
  • Franchise Original Sin: This was the first 3D Mario Platformer to have Mario die if you fail a minigame. This would be carried over into later games, except this time he can be in the air and fail a game. This was reversed in Super Mario 3D World, as running out of time in a Mystery House challenge simply resets the event chain.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • If you remember the true ending of Luigi's Mansion, which came before Sunshine, Luigi managed to make his haunted mansion not haunted. He is apparently relaxing there for the events of this game, which may explain why he was nowhere to be seen in Sunshine.
    • Having Pinna Park being "the villain's secret hideout" makes sense, since kids like Bowser Jr. love theme parks. On that note, this may be why Pinna Park is one of the few parts of Isle Delfino that Bowser Jr. didn't pollute with goop—he doesn't want his "spectacular amusement park" to get dirty.
    • Peach not responding to Jr's "Mama Peach" claim could easily be explained by how Toadsworth expresses concern about her well-being in the heat.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Many fans thought the flooding after you complete all the Shadow Mario missions was funny. Then Hurricane Katrina happened.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Swooping Stus, the blob-like creatures that spontaneously arise out of any goop that's lying around. Players will learn to dread the "nyeooooooooow" noise they make before they attack.
    • The bees, usually because they're always hanging out around narrow paths and tend to knock Mario off of them. In one instance, they're guarding a red coin on the edge of a cliff. Made even worse by the fact that they're tiny and incredibly difficult to see when there's only a few of them left in a hive. And your only defense against them is Yoshi's tongue.
    • Cataquacks, because their sole purpose seems to be to annoy you. If you get one's attention, it'll chase you around, trying to toss you up in the air. If you're really unlucky, you'll land close enough to it that it can do it again. They're everywhere on Gelato Beach, and spraying them with FLUDD only stuns them; to get rid of them permanently you have to lure them into the ocean, knock them into the sky with Dune Buds or by spraying them with Yoshi juice. They get upgraded to Demonic Spiders in the Watermelon Festival, as they'll do the same to your watermelon, destroying it and making you start over. Also, while blues never hurt you on purpose, the red-colored ones will deplete your life energy.
    • Burst Squirts tend to be pretty irritating because they seem to be magnetically attracted to Mario, and if they touch him they block off FLUDD's squirt nozzle. Now, getting rid of one is easy enough (just spray with the squirt nozzle until the Burst Squirt flies off) and they're not exactly the most common enemies in the world, but it can still be a hassle dealing with them because of how they always seem to gather in swarms in the most inconvenient places. The King Boo battle is an especially prominent case of this.
    • Coo Coos, the fat flying chickens well above Mario's jumping range that constantly splatter the ground with swooping stu spawning goop. They can be defeated by spraying them to the ground with FLUUD but this takes so long is more time efficient to do your best to ignore them, and just clean up the majority of the goop when you have to pass through their territory.
    • Wind Spirits. Boo like Ledge Bats that spawn when Mario ascends too high in certain areas. Only eating them with Yoshi stops the annoyance, everything else only makes them disappear for a short time before they come right back. And the only part of Pianta Village that doesn't count as high ground is its underside, so wind spirits can show up at any time unless you drop to the more cumbersome area, while Yoshi only shows up in one mission where the goal is go to the underside anyway.
  • Good Bad Bugs: You can stack multiple Rocket Nozzle jumps to launch Mario extremely high into the air.Instructions  You can use this trick to bypass some platforming sections, get to otherwise difficult to reach places, or go out-of-bounds.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • FLUDD's Hover Nozzle feature is eerily similar to the real-life water-propelled jetpacks that would eventually come into being well after the game's conception. Marshall from PAW Patrol also has one in his Air Patrol suit.
    • Phantamanta, the manta ray boss made up of a hundred smaller rays. In 2014, an enormous flock of mobular rays appeared off the coast of Baja.
    • The game's Spaceworld 2001 trailer featured a blink-and-you'll-miss-it glimpse of a realistic human girl in Delfino Plaza; come the final game, however, the only residents of Isle Delfino are the cartoony Piantas & Nokis. A decade and a half later, the idea of realistic humans in a Mario game is finally a reality.
    • There are enemies called Swipin' Stus that appear on the beach of Pinna Park in the latter 4 episodes of the level. If you sit near one and let it attack Mario, it steals his hat, but also gains his mustache. However, you don't gain control over the Stu.
    • The graffiti found all over Isle Delfino, as well Mario having to clean it up, makes the game seem like the antithesis to Splatoon. This isn't a coincidence, as the original plan for the game did in fact involve spraying goo instead of cleaning it up, but this proved to be impossible to implement with the technology of the time. Nintendo stuck this idea in their back pocket and eventually built a game around it once it became feasible to do so.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • The only reason Bowser's plan to frame Mario actually worked is because of how stupid the Piantas are. It completely ignores points like the fact that Shadow Mario looks almost nothing like the real Mario, and for all we know, most of these crimes took place in broad daylight. Mario himself wasn't even on the island when this happened, and 2 witnesses were there to attest to the plot, including a princess. And then you have the levels where Mario chases Shadow Mario right in front of the Piantas. And yet none of them suspect a thing...
    • On a slightly lesser note, another problematic factor for the Piantas is the missing Shine Sprites, which are in the possession of said Piantas. Whether they're too stupid to turn them in or they're willfully hoarding them and the government is too stupid to arrest them is for you to decide.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: Without exploiting glitches, the main story can be finished with a minimum of 50 Shine Sprites note , less than half of the shines in the game, compared to its predecessor's 70 stars. While they ultimately have the same amount of stars/shines, Sunshine is still criticized for having noticeably less content, having only half the amount of levels of 64 and only reaching the same total through Padding and Fake Longevity, with the Blue Coins being the most obvious example.
  • It Was His Sled: Bowser Jr. being Shadow Mario is pretty common knowledge these days, since Jr. has since become a more prominent character as well as his appearance in the fourth Super Smash Bros. using the transformation as his Final Smash.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Narm:
    • Bowser's voice acting and dialogue make him seem less like a giant scary Koopa and more like either Homer Simpson, a pirate or the Cookie Monster. In fact, most of the voice acting is really lousy. And Bowser would remain that way until Galaxy.
    • FLUDD's Disney Death at the end is just goofy and pointless.
    • The commercial for the game featured an incredibly cheesy environmental song.
  • Narm Charm: Bowser's voice sounds draconian enough to work, and some people consider it to be just plain awesome.
  • Never Live It Down: Peach hesitating to answer Jr's assertion that she's his mother caused most gamers to believe that this is proof that the Princess is stupidnote  that's no good for anything other than being kidnapped. This is despite Bowser telling him she isn't his mother and Jr. admits that he knew that she wasn't his mother even when he asked, as well as the fact that Peach displays general competence in other games at the very least (and is usually better characterized in the spin-off games, notably in the Mario RPGs). To a lesser extent, the implication that Peach considered it plausible that Junior was her son gets brought up quite often, given its implications.
  • Older Than They Think: The "Bowser disrupts Mario and Peach's vacation" story angle was also done in Super Mario World.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Bowser Jr. for the Koopalings, until New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Bowser Jr. became this for those who expected either the Koopalings or, at least, a villain they could perceive as more charismatic. Died down with New Super Mario Bros. Wii onwards; he's more of a Base-Breaking Character nowadays.
    • Il Piantissimo's races can be difficult for some players, plus his arrogant behavior tends to get on people's nerves. It isn't helped by the fact that Mario loses a life if he loses the race. If it's any consolation, the actual Piantas find him and his getup offensive.
    • The Blue Coin Merchant, for being the face of one of the game's most notorious Scrappy Mechanics. In-story, it's worth noting that he's basically holding dozens of Shine Sprites, the Cosmic Keystones of Isle Delfino, for ransom, forcing Mario to hunt down blue coins in order to get them.
    • For fans of Princess Peach's more active appearances in other games, her portrayal here is probably among her worst due to being turned into a Ditz who actually lets herself get kidnapped at one point early on, and any opportunity she does have to be useful is squandered by the Piantas (which also adds to their own Scrappydom). And then there's her infamous moment in Pinna Park where she had to think about whether she could have possibly given birth to Bowser Jr.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Yoshi in general feels very tacked on; his controls are awkward, his powers are very limited, and he has Super Drowning Skills. There is, naturally, a sequence which requires you to take a Yoshi across a gargantuan stretch of ocean by utilizing Delfino Plaza boats, which are some of the most awkward platforms in the whole game. Those who make heavy use of the shotgun blast technique will appreciate Yoshi's juice meter being time-based rather than ammo-based, but the aforementioned mission with the boats turns that fact against the player.
    • Also, if you fail a race or a timed mission, Mario dies. The Blooper Surfing minigame in Episode 2 of Ricco Harbor simply kicks Mario out of the level if he fails to beat the current record, which begs the question of why this isn't the case for any of the other timed/race missions.
    • For a game with so many beautiful water features to swim in, swimming beneath the surface with finesse is a lot more difficult than it was in Super Mario 64. Episodes 4 and 8 of Noki Bay take this to the extreme.
    • FLUDD is hated itself by Super Mario 64 purists. Though most of the hate stems not from being hard to control, but for putting the focus away from jumping, replacing the long jump (and making the backflip a minor Guide Dang It!), and replacing Mario's punches. This kind of reaction isn't seen as much from people who played Sunshine first, for obvious reasons.
    • The boat in Corona Mountain, with its very unintuitive and finicky controls and One-Hit-Point Wonder constitution.
    • The Pachinko Game's lock on Mario's controls is extremely vexing, and the rather oddly-implemented physics can get very annoying.
    • Blue Coins. In 64 they were worth five regular Yellow Coins each, and always a delight to players, as they meant less grinding for that tiresome "100-coin total", which is necessary for a star. In Sunshine however, they are a separate currency. Raccoons in this world are hoarding Shine Sprites and will only forfeit the life-source of Delfino Isle over for a whopping 240 of them. Their locations are downright cryptic and every time you grab one, it interrupts play, prompting you to save. Also, no tracking; but the markers (red X's and the sort) reset when you leave a level. Hope you've either got a notepad, a checklist at the ready, or an absolute photographic memory.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Many elements of the story get this reaction. Some standouts include Peach's Never Live It Down moment and anything that Bowser says. The gameplay, while controversial, fares much better.
  • Squick
    • Gooper Blooper's boss battle allows you to rip off all four of his tentacles, Which then proceed to twitch violently after they're pulled off, and then yank on his cork-plugged mouth.
    • Petey Pirahna barfing up goop (like the other goop-Pirahnas) which looks just like barf too.
    • Bowser Jr. thinks Princess Peach is his mother. She does not deny this in any way. Make of that what you will.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The Delfino Plaza theme sounds a lot like the jingle heard in Motel 6 radio commercials.
    • The intro Shadow Mario's theme sounds a lot like the intro to the Nightmare Battle theme from Kirby's Adventure.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Talking to some Piantas will reveal that Il Piantissimo is just as unpopular to them as he is to the player. They refer to him as "rogue", "creep", "uncool", "inconsiderate" and are very insulted by his Pianta costume.
  • That One Boss:
    • Phantamanta in the first mission at Sirena Beach. The music, a somewhat darker version of the usual boss theme, doesn't help. At all.
    • Eely-Mouth as well, mostly due to bad water controls, and you have to get in real close where it's almost impossible to avoid getting hit.
  • That One Level:
    • Corona Mountain. The boat segment is one of the most difficult in the game. The trick to controlling the boat is this: if you're standing at the front and shoot left, it will turn right (and vice versa). If you're standing at the back and shoot left, it will turn left. If you're standing at the center of the boat and shoot left, it won't turn very much.
    • "The Goopy Inferno". You have no access to FLUDD until the end of the level, and the entire town is covered in flaming goop. One touch of the stuff and it's almost a nerve-wrecked mess for you. Although you could just climb to the top of the tree in the western part of the level and jump down to where FLUDD's platform is located.
    • In "The Watermelon Festival" in Gelato Beach, you have to guide a gigantic watermelon down a cliff and along a beach past a horde of Cataquacks, who, if they get anywhere close, will knock the watermelon into the air, popping it. The controls for guiding said watermelon are hellishly awkward, and the melon itself is ridiculously fragile, causing you more often than not to make it go sideways or accidentally pop it while trying to push it. You can squirt the Cataquacks with FLUDD to stun them, but the area is so swarmed with them that for every one you can fend off, there are always two or three more coming at you from the other side. You can kill the Cataquacks beforehand with the Dune Buds or luring them into the ocean, though, making this a little easier, but this takes a long time.
    • "Yoshi's Fruit Adventure", where you have to squirt juice onto jumping fish to reach a series of platforms, is so frustrating that one online FAQ simply states, "I dunno, haven't finished this level."
    • Lily Pad Ride. One of the most frustrating mini-levels to complete. Actually getting there is annoying enough: you have to jump on a series of slow-moving boats in order to reach a small, isolated island with Yoshi, so as to remove the barrier that's blocking your way. This is already hard by itself, because Yoshi dies if he falls into the water, the boats are small, and it can be easy to miss a jump. The level itself, however, is even worse. You have to ride on a slowly-sinking lily pad in order to collect eight Red Coins, so you can obtain the Shine. The water kills you instantly, and the currents are too fast for you to backtrack, meaning that not only is it very easy to miss a coin, but if you do, you're screwed.note  Prepare a lot of extra lives, because this is hard. One last thing: do not assume the Warp Pipe at the end is a nice and convenient way to return to the start of the level. It sends you back to Delfino Plaza.
    • Any of the FLUDD-less platforming levels, to the point where just hearing "Platforms-A-Plenty!" is enough to make players start frothing at the mouth in rage. And you have to visit these places twice: First time to just conquer the course and get the Shine and the second time (with your FLUDD this time) in order to complete a red coin challenge for a secret Shine. The red coin challenges are even nastier due to having to do things you wouldn't have done on the first go-around and they're a Timed Mission.
    • Pachinko Game. You are in, as the name implies, a gigantic pachinko board, where you need to maneuver Mario to collect eight Red Coins. The difficulty comes from one single thing: the "launcher" that propels Mario into the machine makes him go so fast, it's insanely hard to get him to land where you want to. He even goes too fast for you to use FLUDD to correct any mistakes unless you somehow touch one of the openings of the machine and don't get knocked down to your doom. Even if you collect all coins, you still need to get back into the machine to actually get the Shine. What also doesn't help is that if you skip the launcher by wall kicking up and out, you get flung to the right anyway for some undefined reason.
    • "The Red Coin Fish", in Noki Bay, which requires you to catch 8 red coins swimming in the shape of a giant fish. The underwater controls are highly unmaneuverable, it's extremely difficult to tell where Mario is in relation to the coins, the coins are constantly moving, and just to add insult to injury, the coins comprising the fish's body will regularly scatter outward for several seconds, leaving you with nothing to do but wait while you slowly drown. At least the music's relaxing.
    • "The Sand Bird Is Born", a notoriously difficult level that is likely to be one of the first missions attempted by first-time players. You not only collect 8 red coins, but do so on a moving object with flapping wings which, combined with the game's wonky physics, is very easy to fall off of. And when it turns sideways, good luck getting to a safe location in time. To make matters worse, if you think it's too difficult, it's actually one of the easiest of the infamously difficult sub-levels.
    • Any of the 100 coin missions except in Pinna Park (which has two episodes where it's possible to earn 999 coins). In the predecessor, Super Mario 64, the levels were still the same (barring few exceptions) that allowed the player to collect the 100 coins needed for the star in any order and the blue coins gave the player five to help with the collection. In Sunshine, the blue coins and the red coins are their own currency; and so the player has to hunt down 100 coins on their own, which is a colossal pain in the ass. To compound this, the number (and location) of coins in the zone changes from episode to episode; in fact, a lot of episodes won't let you get 100 coins, and it's not always immediately apparent which ones have 100 coins (or more) and which ones don't.
    • "Scrubbing Sirena Beach", primarily because of how tight the time limit is for a mission where you have to clean all of the goop that was present at the start of "The Manta Storm". Thankfully, there's no Phantamanta to fight, but the low amount of time you get for this undertaking will make you pull your hair out a few times. This is one episode where the shotgun blast technique really shines.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • This game has very few enemies and items in common with the other games in the series, in part due to it being set outside of the Mushroom Kingdom. Also, many fans disliked the removal of the long jump, one of Mario's best moves.
    • The voice acting was also heavily criticized for its generally poor quality, to the point that it was completely removed from Super Mario Galaxy, going back to basic grunts.
    • The decision to take the game to an entirely tropical themed hub-world and levels was not well-received, especially among those who have praised the wide variety of different environments and themes in the series, and thus feel that the hot humid island setting starts to feel monotonous.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Princess Peach. She was the first to notice Shadow Mario running amok in Isle Delfino in a plane advertisement, and again at Delfino Airstrip, and knows for a fact that Mario is innocent. But the Piantas don't see it that way, and immediately overrule her when she tries to object on her hero's behalf, despite her being royalty. To make matters worse, just when it feels like we're going to have a grand Mario adventure without her getting kidnapped, the first thing Shadow Mario does when he finally reveals himself is kidnap her, while she makes no effort to get away. What's worse is that, once you get enough Shine Sprites, she is held captive for the rest of the game, even when you start the game again after defeating Bowser for the final time. That's not even getting into the fiasco surrounding the infamous cutscene with Bowser Jr.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The flood radically alters the layout of the hub town by putting 3/4ths of it underwater. Swimming around town is pretty neat... until you realize that you can't really do anything new with this change, and there are no significant secrets to be found. Plus, the flood inexplicably goes away on its own while you're in the final level, or if you manage to collect one of Delfino Plaza's Shine Sprites.
    • When you think about it, there was no need for the Piantas to lock up Mario and force him to clean up the mess he "made". They could have easily seen through Bowser Jr.'s disguise, and just ask Mario for help cleaning up the mess, and he would be happy to help because that's just how he is. This simple fix is further supported by Bowser Jr., when he reveals himself, thinking that Mario was never locked up at all, implying that nothing would have changed. If anything, they should have just listened to Peach.
    • To date, we still haven't gotten an explanation as to who Bowser Jr.'s real mother was: As revealed in a Q&A session for Super Mario Maker, it's Shigeru Miyamoto.
  • Uncanny Valley: Despite generally having Visual Effects of Awesome, there’s some Off-Model that can fall into this.
    • After Toadsworth asks Mario to find some assistance, Mario says "Mmm-hmm" and turns to face the camera. During this scene, if the player looks closely at Mario's eyes, they are way too far apart, mostly due to a position error.
    • Throughout the game, Peach’s speaking animation looks just odd. The corners of her mouth (outside the lipstick area) do not move at all, only the center of her mouth (inside the lipstick area) moves when talking.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Yoshi's use is fairly limited. He has a host of abilities, but the only one that gets any real use is spraying juice on blockades (though some players also take advantage of the juice meter being based off time rather than ammo to spam the shotgun blast technique). His flutter jump is outclassed by the FLUDD nozzles, and turning enemies into platforms is only utilized in a single mission, which also makes changing Yoshi's color (which creates different platform behaviors) unnecessary outside of another single mission. He doesn't even show up much, only being needed for about one episode per level (sometimes only to open up a secret stage) and some Delfino Plaza secrets.
  • Vindicated by History:
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Sunshine is one of the best looking games ever released for the Nintendo GameCube, and Nintendo fired all cylinders on the polished, fluidly animated, and beautifully lit CGI and lush tropical environments — its graphics are so ambitious and look so good, it can still easily hold its own against contemporary video games. It says a lot that a 128-bit video game from 2002 is still regarded as having some of the best water effects in the medium.
  • The Woobie:
    • Believe it or not, Mario. He's framed by Bowser Jr. for stealing Shine Sprites and graffiti and the Piantas jerkishly lock him up when he arrives. Not only do they not listen to his allies telling the truth that he did not commit the crimes, he's forced into cleaning the whole mess up, with Peach getting kidnapped again and getting visibly depressed over FLUDD's Disney Death. Thankfully, he finally gets his vacation at the end.
    • Peach also qualifies. She knows Mario's being framed and had every right to speak on behalf of her hero, but the Piantas won't let her.

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