Water levels and why they suck in Mario

Ray Trace

You have entered the comedy area.
I've never liked the water levels in Mario games. I think the main reason is their controls, especially in 2D platformers. Without certain power-ups, Mario controls like a sluggish, stiff brick who constantly sinks underwater where you repeatedly have to mash the A button in order to get any distance or to surface. And on top of Mario controlling sluggishly, he's virtually powerless underwater in that he can't jump at all, causing underwater levels to be a slow obstacle course that don't play to Mario's advantages in the slightest. What baffles me is that the unfun nature of water levels in the 2D platformers gets retained until NSMBU, and that the control scheme gets reused for 3D Land where Mario's default state is falling like a brick while you mash the A button to go anywhere.

I think the best way to address these controls is to take a look at how you swim in real life. When you swim, do you retain an upright pose like this and do you sink yourself by not waving your arms around?



No, you don't! You swim more like this, more parallel to the ground with your head indicating what direction you should go to:



While I do think Super Mario 64's swimming is also very sluggish and bad to play in and that you're stuck with no attacks, there's Super Mario Galaxy's swimming mechanics, which felt fine, and as Mario, you can spin around all day, making it pretty fun to swim (though as Luigi, you can't do it because it takes away more air than Mario's spin does). They ruined it in Galaxy 2, where the spin now has a recharge time and I have to ask myself, why did they take away the most fun aspect of swimming in Galaxy 2?

And then, it gets changed again in 3D World - Odyssey, where Mario is once again stuck with this awkward, stiff swimming style that is present in the 2D games where you have to wait to get to the bottom, and that in Odyssey, you'll only ever have fun in the water levels if you take control of a Cheep Cheep, which swims like a normal creature would.

One of my main problems is that fun swimming controls like the Penguin suit and the Frog suit that make Mario actually control to how he should swim underwater are relegated to power-ups and I must ask myself: why? Why are power-ups the required way to actually make some of these stages fun and to make your character actually control better? What also doesn't help is that Toadette in NSMBUDX also has enhanced swimming controls that make the stages better to play in, rendering some of these power-ups just moot. The stages should be fun by default, it shouldn't be sloppy to control in its default state. Kirby's Epic Yarn, for example, had a power-up that enhances water levels in form of a dolphin, but even the default swimming controls feel fine.

The only thing I can say is that...at least it's not Sonic's water segments?
 

El Gran Gordo

Algún problema, señorita?
Yep. Water levels are the slog part of every Mario game. They should take notes from SMB3 frog suit swimming for future games.

Black holes suck in Mario too :>
In Galaxy 1, I always found it funny that you can get Luigi violently absorbed by one and screaming in panic while that happy losing music plays, with just a calm "too bad!" when you lose.
 

You Watanabe

Koops, King of Cowards.
Oh, I agree. Mario Galaxy has the best swimming controls.

Underwater levels are not my favorite but they can be good. But that level in SMW with the Torpedoes can burn in hell for all I care.
 

Sweetie Belle

"It's not chaos, you dodo!"
i think they're fine as an occasional change of pace, but for the reasons blof stated in the OP they ultimately aren't nearly as fun as on land.
 

You Watanabe

Koops, King of Cowards.
Oh but I like Soda Lake, it's horribly chaotic
I don't mind a bit of chaos but it's literally the hardest thing to beat this level without at least one torpedo getting shoved up your ass. The spawning window of each one is extremely thin and it's nigh impossible to swim past the boxes without that Mickey Mouse glove dropping the big one on you. Like how am I supposed to get through that?

It's just the unfun kind of chaotic to me.
 

ZelenPixel

zelen the actual spore creature
are yall ready for me to bring up rayman origins/legends again for something it does better with 2d platformers than mario does
yea so the swimming controls. theyre actually designed to be about just as fast as you get to be on land and you dont really lose movement options so its actually Fun!
 

Paper Pokey

Paperize me, Captain!
I'm probably a weirdo for preferring the upright swimming, idk why but I find it easier than realistic swimming. Then again I haven't played Galaxy so admittedly my opinion is biased from SM64 and Sunshine. But growing up I always enjoyed the change of pace and found it atmospheric without the anxiety Sonic games offered.
 

Ray Trace

You have entered the comedy area.
are yall ready for me to bring up rayman origins/legends again for something it does better with 2d platformers than mario does
yea so the swimming controls. theyre actually designed to be about just as fast as you get to be on land and you dont really lose movement options so its actually Fun!
The water levels in Rayman Legends are probably my favorite levels in the entire damn game.



How do you turn a water-based world into something spy-oriented?

Underwater sections in Sonic games are far worse than anything that the Mario series offers. Sonic can't swim, AND he can drown.

At least in most Mario games, you don't have to worry about drowning.
I'm probably a weirdo for preferring the upright swimming, idk why but I find it easier than realistic swimming. Then again I haven't played Galaxy so admittedly my opinion is biased from SM64 and Sunshine. But growing up I always enjoyed the change of pace and found it atmospheric without the anxiety Sonic games offered.
I've had the displeasure of playing through Labyrinth Zone and drowning directly over a bubble pile so I perfectly know what y'all are talking about.
 

fantanoice

I can see through time
I imagine the frog and penguin suits are smooth and it's easier to swim in them. Although he shouldn't be upright (maybe he was learning to swim at the time?) it would be at lot harder to swim in overalls and boots.

Also Dire Dire Docks song is the best.
 

Classic Robotnik

I'll have to give myself a PROMOTION!
to me the one thing that ruins water levels is air meters. i dont mind slow controls, as long as the level is fun. but an air meter, especially one that doesnt last long, makes the level frustrating. like, in mario galaxy 2, slimy spring galaxy is definitely one of the least fun levels in the game. this can also be said for non mario games, like labyrinth zone in sonic 1, clankers cavern in banjo kazooie and pretty much a lot of others.
 

Ray Trace

You have entered the comedy area.
Riding the shell underwater is pretty awesome in Galaxy, I like how they improved it from 64 and added more functionality and levels dedicated to it.
 

Ray Trace

You have entered the comedy area.
No, there weren't any Red Shells in Galaxy 2, only Green Shells.
 

Ray Trace

You have entered the comedy area.
No worries, I misread things all the time. But yeah, the shells are my favorite part of the underwater levels in the Galaxy games. Red Shells are even funner than Green Shells. It's a reason I think Kingfin was a memorable boss fight.
 

Paper Moldomré

(Mole-dome-ray). Emphasis on "dome" despite the é.
Is it just me or is every single water area in a game bad? I don't like pretty much any of them: Sonic, Mario, Zelda...wait. I haven't played almost any other game franchises. Besides LEGO.
But yeah, I don't like Mario's water levels. Besides the water kingdoms from Odyssey I've never been fond of them.
 

Ray Trace

You have entered the comedy area.
Is it just me or is every single water area in a game bad? I don't like pretty much any of them: Sonic, Mario, Zelda...wait. I haven't played almost any other game franchises. Besides LEGO.
But yeah, I don't like Mario's water levels. Besides the water kingdoms from Odyssey I've never been fond of them.
Play Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends, their water levels are really great.

Also, Kirby's Epic Yarn as a dolphin is fun too.

Zora Link in Majora's Mask 64 is great too.

These games prove you can have great water controls, and pretty much all of them have the player control fluidly and quickly rather than slow the players down to a crawl in a sluggish environment with stiffer, more awkward controls.
 

Ray Trace

You have entered the comedy area.
Anyone who says water zones in Sonic are bad, is forgetting that Hydrocity is in fact a zone that exists.
I've only played Sonic 1 so there's that.
 
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