Top 10 Worst Shine Sprites in Super Mario Sunshine

Having recently replayed Super Mario Sunshine on the Switch, my newest attempts at 100% were filled with plenty of fun…and plenty of utter aggravation.  I had nearly forgotten how truly terrible some of these Shines are to collect, and I wanted to list my top ten worst Shines in the game, complete with a few tips whenever possible.

10: Delfino Plaza – Pachinko

The infamous Pachinko level is actually extremely easy if you know the right tips.  I originally thought that successfully collecting all the red coins was entirely up to chance, but after watching the below video, it’s now one of the easiest Shines on this list.

Video from YouTube User: Andrew Orders

9: Gelato Beach: Episode 4 – The Sand Bird is Born

Okay, this one is not that terrible, but collecting red coins from the back of a flying bird is quite precarious, to say the least, especially when the bird decides to turn onto its side.  Also, I’m still rather aggravated by the trouble I went through to collect all four blue coins, which could be found on clouds throughout the level.  Every time I collected one, I was too slow to return to the bird, leaving me stranded.  Oh, and if you struggle with this one, make sure you’re standing on the bird’s neck when it flaps its wings faster because this means it’s going to turn onto its side.  Then slowly walk (don’t jump) onto the side of the neck as it turns.  It’s not really too difficult if you’re careful.

8: Pianta Village: Episode 5 – Secret of the Village Underside

You may know this level as the one with the Chucksters, those weird Piantas that enjoy throwing Mario across the room.  A lot of people hate this level, but during my last playthrough, it really wasn’t that hard.

The first gap is crossed easily with a stationary Chuckster.  Next, speak to the larger Chuckster on the right when he’s farther from the gap because he throws you really far.  Speak to the third Chuckster closer to the sign so he throws you straight up to the next platform.  The next one is stationary, and the final Chuckster is walking in a loop.  You want to be thrown left, so just wait until he’s on the seam in the floor and just be careful that you speak to him when he’s standing perfectly between you and the Shine.  If done correctly, he should toss you right over.  The most important part is making sure the angle at which you speak to the Chuckster is just right.  Master that, and this one is a breeze!

These guys have issues…

7: Pianta Village: Episode 3 – The Goopy Inferno

Once again, FLUDD has been stolen, and Mario has no choice but to navigate the underside of Pianta Village in order to retrieve him.  I never enjoy levels that require you to cross over bottomless pits where one small mistake can send you to your doom, for obvious reasons.  Last time I played, it wasn’t even terribly difficult, but the sheer stress is still too much!  Plus, I got all the way to the end, past all the roaming spiders and Koopas, only to press the wrong button at the last grate, sending Mario falling to his death rather than upwards to safety.  Arg!

6: Gelato Beach: Episode 8 – The Watermelon Festival

The Watermelon Festival has Mario seeking out the largest watermelon, which is an easy task, seeing as it’s the big watermelon overlooking the beach.  The truly irritating part, however, is pushing the watermelon all the way to the cabana.  Just getting it to the beach is tough enough without the watermelon inevitably getting destroyed by the angry hoard of red Cataquacks roaming the area, which can only be stunned, not actually defeated.  (Okay, I read recently that you can use the dune buds to defeat these things, but I never tried it myself.)  After that, you must carefully roll the watermelon down a long dock to the cabana, because we all know round objects are super easy to control, don’t we? Gelato Beach is, generally, a pretty quick and easy world for me to complete, but this episode certainly leaves me with a sour final impression.

5: Ricco Harbor: Episode 4 – The Secret of Ricco Tower

After getting used to FLUDD’s hovering abilities, playing any portion of the game without him feels decidedly precarious.  As such, I hated the “secret” levels where Mario must navigate various obstacles completely on his own, with no hover to save you if you make a mistake.  I despised all these levels, but one of the worst was Ricco Harbor’s secret.  The second half was the most aggravating, as you must run and jump across all these rotating rectangular blocks.  These aren’t so bad when they’re lined up nice and straight, but the final stretch of this level has poor Mario navigating blocks at all sorts of wonky angles.  While none of these levels were much fun, simply trying to cross these blocks was probably one of the most annoying parts of the game for me.  Changing the camera angle to overhead is the best tip I can give for triumphing over these bothersome blocks.

This looks…fun, I guess…

4: Ricco Harbor: Episode 6 – Red Coins of the Water

This Shine requires that you collect 8 red coins while riding a blooper.  The time is not an issue.  Crashing into obstacles will be your biggest problem.  But I recently learned that the bloopers move at different speeds, with purple being the fastest and green being the slowest.  Not only is the green blooper your best bet, but I also heard that you won’t die when crashing if you aren’t holding forward on the control stick, though I have yet to test this out.  The slow blooper also makes jumping onto the dock for the Shine much easier.  Also, you might want to make sure that the final red coin you collect has no obstacles in front of it to prevent a last-minute collision when the Shine appears.

3: Sirena Beach: Episode 4 – The Secret of Casino Delfino

I’m not even focusing on the actual level itself because merely reaching it is the worst part.  Getting triple 7’s on both giant slot machines isn’t too bad, but afterward, you have to spray these panels until it forms the shape of a Shine Sprite.  Spraying fairly small panels in close proximity with any real precision is not an easy task, and some panels will simply flip back around with little interaction on your part.  The best advice I can give is to spray the panels in first-person and to start from the top, considering the water will affect the panels below.  Other than that, good luck with this nightmare!

2: Noki Bay: Episode 8 – The Red Coin Fish

This one is miserable!  You’ve got a fish made of coins swimming around the level, and it will frequently break apart.  Mario is extremely difficult to control underwater, and the coins move so fast, it’s very tough to catch up with them.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, you have a time limit because Mario can’t stay underwater forever, and there are a limited number of coins available to replenish your air.  I’m not even sure if there are tips on making this one any easier.  Last time I played, it only took me one try, surprisingly enough, but it was certainly a close call!

1: Delfino Plaza – Lily Pad on the Poison River

There is no doubt in my mind that this particular Shine is easily the worst in the game.  Just reaching this one is awful, as it requires you to use Yoshi to cross the water using several boats in a process that takes several long minutes of waiting.  And if you make a mistake and land in the water, you lose Yoshi and must start all over.

I hate this so much…

Once you reach the actual level, you must ride a lily pad over a poison river while collecting all 8 red coins.  The odds of fighting the current and successfully obtaining every coin on your first attempt is nigh impossible, so your only remaining option is to run along a narrow ledge back to the start and try again.  Last time I played the game, this level took an hour and a half worth of tries.  And to make matters worse, the tips I found online to make the level easier require a complicated glitch or some careful maneuvering to get Mario beneath the poison, which is just about as difficult as the official method.  But if you’d like to try it yourself, the guide is below:

Video from YouTube User: Gaming Reinvented

What about you, dear readers? Why not share your worst Shine Sprites from the game in the comments below!


  1. Matt says:

    Oh, man, I had some nightmarish flashbacks reading this list!

    Super Mario Sunshine is great, but some of its worst shines would definitely benefit from contemporary quality-of-life updates. That and, in some cases, better physics and controls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      Yeah, I love this game, but I’m not sure I ever want to get 100% ever again. At the very least, I can’t bear to ever try the poison river Shine Sprite again. It’s just too miserable!

      Liked by 1 person

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