Review by ZGDK
"Surpasses ALL Expectations"
What can I say about Mario galaxy? Besides the fact the game is one goddam awesome joy-ride! From the moment you turn on the game to the moment you turn it off you'll get a non-stop rush down your spine! But that rush means nothing unless the game is good. Is it? You ask me.
The story is general Mario fare. Bowser kidnaps Peach, takes her into outer-space and Mario gives chase. He'll meet up with a new character: Princess Rosalina who travels the cosmos in a giant observatory. The story is a little dramatic when she enters the mix as her back-story just feels very non-Marioish. It sort of just felt like an unnecessary addition to an otherwise perfect story (and by perfect story I mean that for EVERY Mario game). However with a little tweaking it could've been better. A lot of classic characters such as Peach, Luigi, the Toads (although Toadsworth is missing), and Bowser Jr. get mixed up in this event adding a nice bit of nostalgia to all you Mario fans.
But hey this is Mario, who cares about the story? I don't. If you play Mario games for the story now would be a good time to call that therapist you've been thinking about. The game is hardcore platforming. Running, jumping, and all of Mario's moves are a breeze to pull of, and make traversing the gigantic 40+ levels a joy. However unlike previous Mario games, Galaxy has something the others didn't. Gravity plays a pivotal role in the game. Many of the different planets each have their own gravity meaning you can run under, over, and all around them. Rather then fear jumping from planet to planet because of the bottomless pit seen in many Mario games, Mario can safely jump because of the whacked-out gravity. Never fear though, there are still plenty of good ol' gigantic platforming worlds to explore.
Your main objective is to gather the Power Stars scattered across the universe by going through crazy platforming levels. The platforming by the way is top-notch. The levels are gigantic filled with deadly traps and all kinds of enemies. However while the game is defiantly challenging and frustrating, it's never cheap, never will you feel like something was done just to make you feel angry, it was done to make the game fun. The gravity aspect is also extremely fun. While it may be disorienting at first, by the end of the game it'll be just like second nature. One of the great things also is that the levels are not just for show. They've integrated the levels design into the gameplay. For example in the Toy Time Galaxy you'll be running around a giant toy Bowser unhinging its appendages. This really adds some variety to the game that I enjoyed.
The game also features a horde of inventive boss battles. These bosses aren't hard, but the freaking awesome. When was the last time you got to run up the leg of a giant robot or destroy a half-plant half-dinosaur? The bosses require you to use your surroundings in order to pick out their weak point. My only complaint is that towards the end of the game you start to fight some bosses over again. I would've liked to see some more variety.
The game does feature a degree of Wiimote interactivity. Some levels will have you tilting, twisting, and pointing the Wiimote every which way. Most of the times you'll use the star cursor to pick up Star its lying around which can be used as weapons or currency. This is extremely fun and helps get you away from the typical analog-control stick. Sometimes the motion sensitivity can be a bit off and this will lead to some frustration, most of the time it works just fine.
Like other Mario games Galaxy features a bunch of crazy moves. The Wall Jump, Ground Pound, Back flip, Somersault, and Long Jump all make their return however Mario now has a new Spin attack. You'll use this attack, to fight enemies and solve puzzles. All it takes is a quick spin of the Wiimote. And like in other Mario games you get some zany Power Ups. The Fire Flower finally makes its 3D debut along with the Ice Flower. You can wear a Bee Suit to fly short distances and climb honeycombs. Or how about becoming one of Mario's most feared enemies, the Boo? Each power-up does something completely different, whether it is walking on water, flying through walls, etc. The Power-Ups are all fun and never difficult to control; most require you to simply flick the Wiimote or press a button. It's that simple. The same can also be said for all of Mario's other moves, they are never difficult to pull off or control. Unlike other 3D games with power-ups where you see them once you'll be using these quite often. The moves and power-ups have so much variety it makes it fun to just screw around with them every now and again.
As you've most likely seen from videos and screenshots, Galaxy looks AMAZING. The animations are fluid, and the frame rate never drops below 60 frames per second. But the best part is how nostalgic the graphics are. Koopas, Goombas, Bob-Ombs, and all your other favorite enemies such as Magikoopas all retain their classic yet updated looks. Also making a return are Bowser's airships which look great by the way. The graphics are also very bright and colorful and the environments are detailed. Combine this with Mario's art style, some nostalgia, and you've got a game that surpasses even Metroid Prime 3 graphically.
Along with great graphics must come great music? And Galaxy delivers. The Koji Kondo soundtrack is fully orchestrated and the music fits each level like a glass slipper. None of the sound is delivered through the Wiimote so everything you hear is straight from your TV's speakers. Like the graphics the sound is extremely nostalgic. All your favorite tunes and sound effects are here and they've been fully orchestrated. The music really gets the feel of each level. While it's the calming soothing sounds of Space Junk Galaxy or the fast paced frenzy of Melty Molten, the game delivers.
Super Mario Galaxy surpassed nearly all of my expectations giving me more than I expected. This was well-worth the two year wait. It's like they took everything that was great about previous games and melted it down into one super-game. I never expected I'd award this score but you've earned it Mario!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/19/07, Updated 11/21/07
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)
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