Super Mario 3D collection is finally coming to Switch — but there's a catch

super mario
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo never does things the easy way. Take Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Switch: a game that fans have waited years to play. This upcoming collection will offer high-res versions of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy, and debut on September 18. So far, so good. 

But if you don’t buy the game by March 31, you may lose your chance forever. In other words, Nintendo is giving fans exactly what they wanted — but only for six months.

Information comes from a special Nintendo Direct video in honor of Super Mario’s 35th anniversary. Super Mario 3D All-Stars was hardly the only game announced. Most notably, fans will also get Super Mario 35: a kind of Mario-themed battle royale, in which 35 players compete across various Mario levels simultaneously. 

Super Mario 3D World, a fan favorite from the Wii U, will also come to Switch along with a small expansion called Bowser’s Fury. Super Mario 35 will be available on October 1 and, like 3D All-Stars, disappear from the Nintendo eShop around March 31. Super Mario 3D World, on the other hand, will be available on February 12; there doesn’t appear to be an end date for its availability.

Still, 3D All-Stars was today’s big announcement, and it seems to be exactly what fans have been requesting. Three classic 3D Mario games — one from the N64, one from the GameCube, and one from the Wii — will be available in a single package. Players can buy digital or retail copies, but the game costs $60 either way. The digital version will be available only until March 31, while the physical edition will simply have a limited production run. (Nintendo probably won’t go so far as to pull all remaining physical copies from store shelves after March 31, but if it really wanted to, it could try.)

Mechanically, the ports sound pretty straightforward. Nintendo promises that the new versions of these games will have higher resolutions and “optimized” gameplay, as well as a music player mode that will work even when the Switch’s screen is off. Beyond that, they’re the same games you (probably) played back in the day.

While the time limit sounds a little draconian, this is hardly the first time that Nintendo has made a limited run of a highly requested game collection. The Legend of Zelda had two fantastic collections on GameCube: one for Ocarina of Time and Master Quest, the other for The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. Both these items were available exclusively through Nintendo promotions, and despite widespread fan demand, Nintendo never gave either one a wide release.

We imagine that the company will take a similar tack for Super Mario 3D All-Stars: Buy it within the six-month window, or buy it as a collector’s item on eBay many years down the line.

The good news is that Super Mario All-Stars, the SNES game which collects Super Mario Bros., The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3, is now available on the SNES app for Switch Online members Of course, Nintendo still doesn’t allow you to simply buy SNES games à la carte, so it seems that no matter which generation of Mario games you want to play, you’ll have to work for your platforming fun.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.