Review by ghangiskhan1
"Not only is Mario Galaxy the best looking, best sounding and longest Mario game, but it is also the most fun."
Super Mario 64 was a tough act to follow. Although its successor, Super Mario Sunshine was a great game, it did not feel like a true sequel. We waited 11 years until its true sequel came out and that game is Super Mario Galaxy.
I'd like to start by saying that Super Mario Galaxy does not only feel like a true sequel to Mario 64, but it feels like all of the previous Mario games (apart from the spin-offs) combined into one excellent experience. One excellent experience that also brings much new and fun features to the table. Super Mario Galaxy will remind you of Mario Sunshine, Mario 64, Super Mario Bros. 3, the original Super Mario Bros. and even more in the fondest way possible. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that Galaxy is better than all of the games I just listed, if not better than damn close. But I'm sure you'd like to know why.
Unlike Mario Sunshine, Galaxy doesn't introduce a new item for Mario to use, but instead a new style of levels with the same great Mario gameplay intact. Mario is now in space and the levels are now galaxies. Mario can walk around circular comets, planets, etc. This may seem weird but once you're used to it, it works pretty well and is great fun. However, if this instantly turns you off, then don't fear because Galaxy has plenty of traditional Mario platforming moments that do not disappoint. The fact that you can walk all over, up walls, and upside down is just a fun aspect that is not overused or underused.
In Super Mario Galaxy, Mario is invited to go to the star festival at Princess Peach's castle. This festival only happens every 100 years so it is a very important event. Trouble starts right when Mario gets there are Bowser and Kamek appear on the scene and pull the castle, along with Princess Peach, right out of the ground and bring it into space. Mario ends up in a small little colony of Lumas, which are star beings, and their "mother", Princess Rosalina. Princess Rosalina tells Mario that he must collect power stars in order for a beacon in the center of their home to grow bright enough to bring them where Peach is. Meanwhile, Bowser is planning something evil.
So this time Mario is once again collecting power stars and it feels just as it should be. The storyline in Mario Galaxy is what you would expect from a Mario platformer. It is neither deep or intense but it is perfect for a game where deep stories need not apply. It is there and it works just fine.
I think the reason Mario Sunshine wasn't as good as it should have been was because it all took place in one environment. Sure, the levels were all fun and the theme was nice but at the same time, it's all the same theme so you don't really get that much variety whereas Mario 64 had all kinds of different themes depending on which level you're at. If you think Mario Galaxy is all space themed then you are far off. The galaxies all have their own unique themes. Whether it's ice themed, fire themed, toy themed or even bee-hive themed, there is an unbelievable about of variety in each of the galaxies. This is one of the big reasons why Mario Galaxy feels like Mario 64.
Another thing about Galaxy that will have Mario 64 in your head is that a lot of the moves that were not featured in Sunshine but were in Mario 64 make a return. The long jump, one of my most missed moves makes a return and it is a great thing to have when clearing those long gaps. Mario also has plenty of moves from all the Mario games like the triple jump, the wall jump, the ground pounds and many, many more. This game also introduces mushrooms Mario can collect which will give him certain powers. For example, if Mario finds a bee mushroom it will change him into Bee Mario and he can fly. Mario can also find a fire ball mushroom, an ice mushroom, a spring mushroom and more. These special mushrooms add more variety to a game already screaming with it.
One of the most amazing features of Mario Galaxy is its boss fights. The fights are incredibly fun and there was so many of them but still not enough! Even the easy and even the frustrating fights were a blast to play. If you've beaten Mario Sunshine you'll know that the final boss fight was downright terrible. It was really bad and really brought down the otherwise great game in the end. However, Mario Galaxy's boss fights are the complete opposite of that and you can't help but feel good when fighting them. The creators of Galaxy also made Donkey Kong Jungle Beat which had some amazing boss fights. However, the fights did get stale because the bosses were recycled way too much. With Galaxy, that got a cue from that and made it so the fights are awesome and there is always something new. Galaxy has the best boss fights of a Mario game yet and competes for the best boss fights ever.
Super Mario Galaxy is a Wii game so obviously it is going to have some motion controls. But it keeps them to a minimal for the better. By minimal I mean just right. There is actually quite a bit of aspects that use the motion controls but it is nothing like Metroid Prime 3 where the gameplay engine relies entirely on the motion controls to do most things. The creators of Mario Galaxy knew that a Mario platformer does not need motion controls to be fun. The motion controls in this game are used for one attack where if you shake the Wii remote Mario does a spinning attack. It actually works very well. The motion controls are also used for various minigames the game has such as rolling on top of a ball Super Monkey Ball style. The last big thing they are used for is a cursor. When you press the B button, wherever you are aiming the cursor, star bits will shoot out to stun enemies or break object which gets me to my next subject.
Apart from the 120 stars in the game, Mario will be collecting thousands of star bits. Star bits are very easily found by killing enemies, breaking object, but most of them are out in the open ready to be collected. Mario can collect them by running or jumping into them just like any other object, but to save time you can move the cursor with the Wiimote, over to where they are and it will automatically bring the over to Mario. You can then press B to shoot star bits at enemies to stun them or you can feed Lumas to open new galaxies. The galaxies you unlock with star bits are more of side galaxies as they usually only have you going after one star, instead of 3 or more.
A big downside the Wii has had since launch was that it couldn't keep up with the other systems in terms of visuals. This past year we've seen a lot of Wii games with graphics that are on par with Gamecube's, Dreamcast's and even Nintendo 64's visuals. Not so much with Gamecube graphics, but it's a big problem when your "next-gen" console has graphics equivalent to a ten year old console. Most of the graphical effort has come from the Nintendo made games on the Wii so we expected at least decent graphics for Mario Galaxy, except they are much better than decent.
Mario Galaxy blew me away with the graphics. I was so impressed and relieved that Nintendo finally had a game with spectacular graphics on the Wii. Not only is the art style very impressive, but the visuals themselves are extremely impressive. I noticed much detail in the environments such as being able to make out individual strands of hair on some of the character. The level design is fantastic. Boring levels are an extremely rare find and the awesome levels, which is 99% of the game, well be a joy to look at. The textures are impressive, they are not blocky or grainy, but smooth and just really, really good. The graphics are without a doubt the best on the Wii and the art style rivals best for the year of any system.
I like the music in a lot of video games, but seldom do I like it so much that I listen to it outside of the game. Mario Galaxy's music is the kind of music that I'll listen to on my computer and it plays in my head when I'm sitting around doing nothing. In 2006, many reviewers complained about the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess' music was not orchestrated. All I have to say is, who cares? It was great none the less. Even if it would've sounded richer orchestrated, I was content and happy listening to it. Some of the music is now orchestrated, which is for the better. The music also really fits with the level or part of the level you are playing in. But the point is, the music is awesome in this game and not only is are the graphics the best on the Wii, but the music is too.
Just like in Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine, voice acting is kept to a minimal. Of course Mario still grunts and says his short sentences like his trademark "It's-a-me, Mario!", but you'll reading most of the things people have to see in this game, not hearing them. That is just fine though because voice acting is not really necessary and we've been used to this style for years now. The Wii Remote speaker is present in this game and it doesn't really get in the way. That is a very good thing because a lot of games that make excessive use for the low quality speaker in the remote just don't have too good sounds because of it. I really liked the sound effects too, really what you'd come to expect from a Mario game.
The length in Mario games has never been a problem. Both Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine were pretty long games because once you beat the core game, there are a lot of extras to unlock and a lot of new places to explore. Mario Galaxy continues this except it adds even more. Although it only takes 60 stars to face the last boss this time around, the stars are tougher and take longer to collect than in Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine. There are also still 120 stars in the game and when you get them all you unlock a secret character. But don't think that's the end because if you get 120 more stars with that character, you'll get something else. There is a lot of incentive to continue playing Galaxy and it is such a fun game that you will want to play it multiple times. Easily the longest Mario platformer to date.
All in all, Super Mario Galaxy is an amazing achievement. It reminded me why I loved playing video games in a time when they were starting to get boring for me. It brought light to this gaming world and will go down as one of my favorite video games ever. It is extremely fun and well done. Any downside of this game is nothing because the countless amazing parts make up for any fault is this awesome experience. You really owe it to yourself to play Mario Galaxy and if you don't, you are really missing out on one of the best possible experiences in video gaming. It's the best platformer this year, it's the best Wii game, it's the best video game to be released in 2007. Not only is Mario Galaxy the best looking, best sounding and longest Mario game, but it is also the most fun.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/29/07
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)
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