For those of you that skipped out on the N64 generation, here's you're chance to enjoy the classic 3D adventure platformer that pioneered the genre. Although the essence of the portable installment is practically identical to the Super Mario 64 counterpart in a number of ways, the game features plenty of extras and new content to satisfy veterans and newcomers alike.
One of the most significant changes is the ability to play with multiple characters - Mario, Luigi, Wario and Yoshi, each of whom possess different abilities integral to collecting a total of 150 stars (30 more than the original). The single-player adventure mode starts you out playing with Yoshi. Ultimately, you'll discover the caps of the Italian cast, empowering you with their abilities. As noted in our Nintendo Enthusiast coverage, Yoshi can hover and eat enemies. Upon collecting the green cap grants you Luigi's abilities to jump to new heights and turn invisible; pick up the yellow cap empower you with Wario's ability to break bricks and turn to metal (allowing you to walk underwater), and lastly, finding Mario's red cap allows you to punch, kick and collect special power-ups.
Taking advantage of the DS capabilities, players can opt to use the stylus or the thumb-strap. It felt a bit awkward using the thumb strap, so I am inclined to stick to playing with the stylus or d-pad exclusively. You can also use the d-pad, but you'll be limited to walking and will have to press the dash button when you need a burst of speed. From the music to the camera angle, the game feels very polished and looks much sharper than its console counterpart.
Unfortunately, during the development of this article, I wasn't been able to test out the multiplayer games (anyone out there in the CT area with a DS?) Super Mario 64 DS also features an ample selection of mini-games, several for each character which can be enjoyed solo or by taking turns amongst your friends.