When it was revealed that Super Mario Galaxy 2 would not have a game hub, some gamers felt let down by this news. It's since been replaced by a world map. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a game hub is an area of the game that connects to every game world. This short list of five showcases my personal favorites in overworlds, hubs, or whatever you prefer to call them.
5) Timber Island (Diddy Kong Racing)
The tropical overworld of Diddy Kong Racing, Timber Island was taken over by Wizpig's evil magic. With four unique worlds to explore all connected by the island such as Dino Domain, Sherbet Lake, Snowflake Mountain, and Dragon Forest, there was plenty to do and see. The island can be explored either via car, hovercraft, or airplane as you raced Taj, scooped up hidden balloons, and saved the day as one of ten characters.
4) Peach's Castle (Super Mario 64)
Hearing the iconic theme as you run in and around the majestic castle of one Princess Peach Toadstool. There's four levels to the castle, and as you earn power stars, beat Bowser, and grab the key, you unlock new areas of the castle to explore. There's the basement, the first floor, second floor, and mezzanine to discover secrets and leap through paintings to journey through new worlds. Call it nostalgia, but Peach's Castle remains one of my favorite early hubs of gaming history.
3) Showdown Town (Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts)
Separated into different districts, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts' Showdown Town is a massive beast to explore. It's full of hidden parts to obtain for your vehicles, plenty of animals to converse with, and tons of worlds connecting to it. The city is absolutely staggering in size, and all without any load times. There's also plenty of places to just hang out and sight-see, taking pictures to share with friends (or the SPC faithful!).
2) Delfino Plaza (Super Mario Sunshine)
It's time to visit another tropical paradise in Super Mario Sunshine's Delfino Plaza which rests on the dolphin-shaped Isle Delfino. A happy, charming little burg full of places to plunder, roofs to run on, and beaches to bounce along on. The sunny shores and bright blue skies hide plenty of secrets underneath. There's secret power stars to obtain, 1-ups to scout out, coins to gather, and secrets to explore. One of my favorite hubs period, it was just beat out by number one.
1) Gruntilda's Lair (Banjo-Kazooie)
The number one hub on my list comes from Banjo-Kazooie. It's the multi-tiered, multi-chambered, multi-layered lair of the mischievous witch, Gruntilda. While Super Mario 64 was all about progression-based exploration, Banjo-Kazooie upped the ante with even more progression-based antics. Earning music notes to open doors, obtaining Jiggies to unlock new worlds, and finding secrets abound in the many levels and layers of Gruntilda's lair.
What hubs/overworlds are you most partial to? Let everyone know your opinion in the comments section!