Review by Bentendo24
"Unarguably the greatest 3D Mario game yet"
By now it should be clear to you that this is a must buy. It is the foremost justification for a hardcore gamer to purchase a Wii, and if you already have one, then I don't quite understand why you're reading this review when you should really be out there enjoying Super Mario Galaxy. It is as good as the copious amount of critics say it is, and how Nintendo will ever manage to surpass the greatness of Galaxy is beyond me, though the fact that they managed to construct this gem is also beyond me.
When someone such as myself gives a game a 10, it doesn't exactly imply that the game is impeccable, as it's evident that imperfections will at times occur throughout it. And if someone decides to give a game such a grandiose grade, they better compose a review that incorporates a hefty amount of information on why they rightfully came to the conclusion that the game in subject is so completely outstanding by absolutely everything based on its merits.
Super Mario 64 was clearly a revolutionary title when it was released, and most may consider it even more enjoyable than its successor Super Mario Sunshine, a disappointing though arguably true statement. Sunshine attempted to build upon the tried and true formula by adding the gimmick known simply as FLUDD, though it almost seemed as if Mario, an undeniable hero, relied a little too much on the toted devise. According to Nintendo, they formed this gameplay mechanism in order to please the critics who argued about the jumping in 64, though ultimately I can conclusively state that the result wasn't as satisfactory as most had aspired.
Another attribute that was completely unnecessary was basing the entire game around one theme - a tropical one. While it was an interesting concept, seeing the same corresponding level designs (or, rather, similar ones) got old quickly. Still, it was impressive to see what they were capable of doing with the core theme, but it was distressing not to have any immense variety in the environments.
Now, while it may seem that I'm excessively complaining about Sunshine, you're probably getting the wrong assumption if you think that I didn't enjoy the game, because I actually did. It's just not a paramount addition in my list of favorite Mario games. With the hype it generated, it almost seemed like an incontrovertible pipe dream that the game would be the best the series had to offer. Nintendo just didn't go the extra mile while developing this game, and its manifest that the quality just wasn't equal to that which we've come to expect from a mainstream Mario title. They attempted to alter the gameplay in such a way where it would improve upon the concept as they successfully did with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Metroid Prime, though out of the bunch it was the game that I appreciated the least.
Super Mario Galaxy is the game that everyone needed in order to fulfill their wishes for a Mario game that can rival that of the original Super Mario 64. Not only does it rival it, though it surpasses it in so many ways.
Just to get it out of the way, let's discuss the plot of Galaxy first. Now, I fully understand that the focal point of Mario games is gameplay rather than story, though every so often I feel like Nintendo could put a little more effort into developing one. The least they could do is establish a well built story in the library, but we're left to a less than engaging plot that revolves around the back-story of some of the primary characters including Rosalina and the equally friendly Luma creatures. It's boring and accompanied by not so stellar artwork.
As aforementioned, the game's story isn't utterly original, but that's understandable for a Mario title. Apparently every 100 years a multitude of harmless shooting stars come raining on the Mushroom Kingdom via a large comet that passes over their planet. Bowser uses the positive distraction in order to launch an attack on the kingdom and thus roots Peach's castle straight from the ground and into space (resembling, excluding the space portion, the plot from Paper Mario, though doesn't exactly improve upon the story but rather, seeing that it's an platformer not an RPG, worsens it).
Well, Mario attempts to rescue her by leaping onto the castle at just the right moment, though a Magikoopa (note: just a regular Magikoopa and not a particular character such as Kamek, Kammy or the new one whose name currently abandons me) zooms in and knocks the portly plumber out into space. Following this eventful occasion, Mario finds himself on one of the revolving moons where he's surrounded by a group of Luma who offer to help him if he, in turn, helps them resurrect their space traveling observatory. And thus, Mario's adventure begins, an adventure that can easily be considered one of, if not the best he's ever been on.
Following in the traditional Mario fashion, you're required to come in possession of a set amount of stars. You'll essentially be able to hinder Bowser's redundant plans of creating a new universe by collecting 60 stars, though in all there are 121. You'll find these stars by going through the different galaxies which can be accessed through particular areas of the Observatory (the game's hub). The Observatory will be able to launch Mario to places that are farther once it gets more power. The more stars you collect, the more power it'll have.
Gameplay is the dominant part of any Mario game, and it doesn't fail to impress me with every level I venture through. Controlling Mario is familiar to that of the two previous Mario games. You're able to spin now, and while that may not seem like much, it's actually a formula that not only works, though outshines that which I expected. You're also allowed to discharge star bits that you point with the Wii remote. You can stun enemies by doing this, though they're fundamentally used to feed the multiple Luma whom will transform into levels or star launchers if you in fact do.
While the abilities that Mario can perform are similar to that of previous games, there is one element in the game that is simply breathtaking, and that's the fact that you're able to travel across the universe and fly from planet to planet. You're able to do so by spinning under a star launcher, which will send you across the multiple galaxies. For some planets you're able to simply jump and the gravity itself will pull you to the next planet. Finding the possibilities is amazing, and you'll certainly spend countless hours enjoying it.
It's blazingly obvious that jumping will always be a permanent addition to the Mario series. With each new installment, the developers seem to include more and more jumping abilities. Sadly, this just doesn't seem to be the case with Galaxy, as most of his jumping powers from Sunshine either return or get demolished. One magnificent part of Sunshine was the fact that you were capable of performing multiple combos. I remember that one person managed to do a whopping combo that included 100 attacks. You're no longer able to perform such a wide variety of combos anymore, which is certainly a disappointment. Still, it's so negligible that it needn't even be mentioned, though nevertheless thought that I would for some reason.
Power ups have always been a prominent part in the 2-D series of games, though they've never truly caught on too well in the 3-D installments, notably Sunshine which was limited to only a couple uninspiring installments to FLUDD. Galaxy introduces a host of new and exciting items, though the restrictions will commonly feel bombarded on you. For example, two of the most notable power ups - The Ice and Fire Mushrooms, will only give Mario ice and fire powers respectively for a few moments. They clearly make the time intense, though I would love to go through a level fully without having to keep on finding the power up again.
Another downside to these new items is the fact that levels depend a little too much on them. In the 2-D games, obtaining items were never required but were instead optional. It's not too problematic, and I guess you can say it's a broad approach to an already perfected trait.
Nintendo has high expectations when it comes to level design. They've created some of the most inspiring levels that the gaming world's ever seen, and delving into the world of space introduces an extensive new list of things to include. While themes based on fire, water, ice, desert, ghosts and so on remain, they seem incredibly new. I can't conclude whether this is thanks to the gravity or the addition of space, though the theme of the world never seems rehashed in any particularly noteworthy way. Even water worlds are ordinarily exciting, my favorite being the epic boss battle against Kingfin.
I'm probably not alone when I say that fire, ice and desert worlds are a tedious addition to almost every platformer. It's almost as if they've done everything that there is to be done with those formulas. In Galaxy, they've implemented all of these themes, though as aforementioned they never seem rehashed. In fact, the molten galaxy in the Garden is among my favorite galaxies in the game.
Nintendo isn't known for creating great boss battles. Galaxy has some memorable ones, though it seems as if almost every boss appears at least twice in the game, though greatly updated in some way or another. Bowser's battles are certainly the most epic, though all three of them have you performing the same attacks (with the last being slightly different). While you never fight Bowser Jr. directly (excluding one occasion where you raid his Airships, though even then you're attacking his ship), he tends to send out minions to do his fighting for him. These battles are actually quite fun, though I had hoped the Megaleg boss to be a little harder then it was.
Among the main galaxies and worlds are other levels that are considerably harder that can possibly be considered secret (though really aren't hard to find... at all). They usually are contrary to that which you'd find in the main game, and center around new fluctuating gameplay mechanics. For example, one will make you hold your Wii remote straight up towards the ceiling. In this one, you control a ball down a waving course with obstacles in every corner. You move the ball by simply tilting the Wii remote in the corresponding direction. Another will make you point the Wii remote to the screen and race down an undulating water track to get the best time. The latter one may seem a little intractable at first, though you'll eventually be able to complete it. However, when you get to the galaxy of trials (I'm pretty sure that's what it's called), you'll have to go through a track that is about 5 times harder... no joke.
I've never seen a game so masterfully created on the Wii in terms of graphics. While they're certainly not up to par with that which you can experience on the 360 or PS3, they still have their own uniqueness in the form of artistic design rather than how pretty everything looks. As I mentioned above, the level design is out of this world (literally!). It's not only palpable that the gameplay design implemented in the levels is amazing, though it's also apparent that they've put a sufficient amount of time into the actual design of it all as well.
Mario games are ordinarily known to have catchy though nevertheless non-epic soundtracks. Sunshine fit its tropical theme perfectly, though never seemed to surpass that of which you'd find in any other Mario game, though was rather just on par with it, and for me that's not saying an awful lot. Super Mario Galaxy is one of the first Mario games in which I'm simply in awe of the compositions that they've included. Even the very first song that you hear in Toad Town is pretty good, though you won't believe your ears when you come to the Good Egg Galaxy, the Buoy Base Galaxy, the Battle Rock Galaxy, the Gusty Gardens Galaxy and possibly the most notable of all - the Bowser boss battle music. And the best part of it all is the fact that almost all of the tracks are completely composed by an orchestra, the first time in the series' history. I've heard complaints from some critics that the techno music you hear when you've come in possession with an item is too much, though I personally think it's perfect for the mood.
Super Mario Galaxy is a game that I assume will go down in history as one of the greatest games of all time... period. I acclaim Nintendo for creating a 3D Mario title which surpasses that of the original, a feat that is hard to accomplish after apathy has take over the most notable series in the industry thanks to Sunshine. It may be hard to apprehend what Nintendo is trying to do with this new formula of gravity, though after experiencing it, beating the game and getting 100 or so stars, I can say that this is one of the greatest game in the past 10 or so years. Contort your erroneous thoughts that this game isn't for you, because if you're craving a title that will arouse the ardent gamer inside, then get the alluring game that has fans and skeptics saying "wow"!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/26/07
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)
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