Love it or hate it, Super Mario Sunshine has a handful of truly awful levels. But it turns out players discovered a way to make one of the game’s worst stages much, much simpler.
The sixth episode in Sunshine’s Ricco Harbor area, “Red Coins on the Water,” tasks you with, well, collecting red coins. While this wouldn’t be much of a problem otherwise, the presence of a two-minute timer necessitates surfing around the harbor on a Blooper (Mario’s famous squid-like foes) instead of grabbing the trinkets on foot. But Mario isn’t much of a surfer, which makes the Blooper hard to control. On top of that, running your Blooper into almost anything in the level results in a dead Mario.
Savvy players can generally collect the red coins with some trial and error, but Mario’s inability to dismount the squid results in a precarious jump from water to land to collect the resulting Shine Sprite. At this point, it’s easy to psych yourself out so close to finally being done with the frustrating task and miss the Shine entirely, bonking into the dock or any other object and hearing that terrible “you failed” music.
The solution? Track down a Pianta floating through the harbor in an inflatable duck and crash into him. For some reason this causes the Blooper to disappear without killing its rider, leaving Mario free to jump and swim to his heart’s content. This won’t help in collecting the red coins due to the time limit, of course, but it’s a useful way to safely dismount the Blooper once the Shine appears and guarantee a level clear.
Almost as surprising as the discovery itself is the fact that it’s not exactly new. Nintendo Life reported on the Blooper trick all the way back in September 2020, in fact. It wasn’t until Supper Mario Broth tweeted about it last night that the news appeared on my radar and blew my mind. And judging by the Twitter replies, it wasn’t just me.
Super Mario Sunshine is frustrating. It’s weird and confusing even at its best, but I can’t help but love the way Nintendo experimented with the Mario formula. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that the next time I play through Sunshine, I’m definitely using this trick instead of taking a chance on my own abilities. There’s just something about that deadly dock that discombobulates me every time.