Review by horror_spooky
"When I Look at the Stars..."
Wow. Who would think that only the second game I'm reviewing for a system would have earned a perfect score? So far, it looks like the Wii has the upper-hand in the console wars, especially since I haven't played any Xbox 360 games that I've deemed as perfect, while only the second game I'm reviewing for the Wii delivered one of the most rewarding gaming experiences that I'm not liable to forget any time soon.
A cursor appears on the screen and you move it around using the Wii remote. What this cursor is good for is to pick up these little gummy-looking items called Star Bits. By collecting Star Bits you are given the ability to fire them at enemies or feed them to these odd star creatures to unlock more levels as well as progress further in a level you are already in.
Right off the bat, people are going to make comparisons between Galaxy and Super Mario 64 (forget about Sunshine), but Galaxy is obviously the more superior. If you remember, in Super Mario 64 you repeatedly went to the same level to hunt down a Power Star and there would just be minor tweaks to the level in order to help you get the Star. However, every time you go to a level in Galaxy for a Power Star, the level is practically completely different than before. This is greatly due to the fact that you go in a completely opposite direction in the level nearly every single time. I can't believe Nintendo managed to pack this much level variety into a game, but they did it.
Besides shooting Star Bits, you use the Wii remote in a few other ways. By shaking the Wii remote, you make Mario do a basic spin attack and you can also use the cursor on the screen to blow a bubble you're in or grab onto Pull Stars (which are basically entries into levels). Mario can also ice-skate and even balance on top of a manta ray by utilizing the remote, but the hardest thing to do in the entire game that involves motion-control is balancing on top of a ball with a Power Star in it. Obviously, Nintendo was thinking about Super Monkey Ball when they thought that idea up, and this segment is extremely frustrating. However, when you complete it (there is more than one by the way) you will be filled with a sense of accomplishment unparalleled in any other video game.
A big emphasis has been placed on power-ups this time around and there are some new ones for our little fat plumber to use. Themed mushrooms give the player these abilities including an ability to become Ice Mario and walk on water (freezing it as you step). You can become Bee Mario to hover around and climb up honey walls (which is a lot more amusing than it sounds). One of the more unique abilities, however, is the ability to become Boo Mario, which gives you the power to go through walls.
There is one thing about Super Mario Galaxy that is kind of annoying. Say you spend some time collecting a lot of lives because you figure, hey, these will come in handy later in the game. Oh, contraire. Every time you turn the game off and back on the number of lives you have resets, which can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but Nintendo does try to make up for it by giving you some free lives as soon as you start the game by talking to the mail carrier.
Unfortunately, the co-op mode in this game is lackluster, but it can provide some amusing moments for a little while. Basically, co-op consists of someone else having another cursor on the screen and they have the ability to collect Star Bits for you and shoot them at enemies. They also have the power to make you jump which can provide for some pretty hilarious moments if you really want to piss someone off.
Not only do you collect Power Stars the normal way, you can revisit a level a few extra times to collect even MORE. There are some hidden Power Stars that require you to go through a level you already have for a little while, but then branching off on a totally different path and there are Power Stars that in order to get you must find Luigi. There are Green Power Stars that if you collect you unlock extra levels. Color-coded comets appear by a level at random and by revisiting a level while a comet is in orbit gives you the chance to earn yet another Power Star. At first, I was worried that these comets would feel exactly like what they were: side quests. However, I found these comet levels to be extremely entertaining. There are some comets that require you to fight a boss with only one hit point and there are some comets that require you to race a Mario clone. There are even comets that make enemies move a lot faster. All those are great, but there is one comet that I had a problem with and that is the Purple Comet. The Purple Comet requires you to collect 100 purple coins, which isn't a problem in some of the smaller levels, but when the game spreads these coins out in huge areas, this can become quite annoying especially if you die at number 99 and have to start all over again!
Obviously, collecting Power Stars progresses you through the game. You don't need to collect all the Power Stars to face the final boss, but there is no reason why you wouldn't want to collect them all anyway! Even after you beat the final boss, you will be very deeply compelled to collect these stars and there's a surprise in store for you if you do. On a side note, while going through your adventure and collecting Power Stars, you can stop by the library and listening to Rosalina's (Rosalina is the woman that lives on the Star Ship you're traveling on) story about how she ended up where she is.
Gravity plays a big role this time around. In the levels are a lot of little spheres, which are basically like mini-planets. The gravity on these planets work like this: Mario can run all around them. Mario can even run up walls sometimes. Also, there are some segments in Galaxy that are very similar to the older 2D Mario titles, which will definitely please longtime fans of the series.
The Mario games aren't really known for their storylines, but I think Mario Galaxy did have somewhat of a better story than usual. Princess Peach gets kidnapped (again) by Bowser and Bowser Jr., but Bowser kicks it up a notch: he sucks the Mushroom Kingdom into a black hole. Mario ends up on a star ship controlled by Rosalina, a young woman who explains that Bowser stole their Power Stars to take over the universe, and you must collect these Power Stars in order to give the star ship enough power to reach the center of the universe where Bowser is. There are some very intense moments in this game and the ending will leave you absolutely breathless.
When people say the Wii can only produce games with last-generation graphics obviously hasn't played Mario Galaxy. The graphics are nothing short of amazing and I've definitely seen worse graphics than this produced on the Xbox 360. The water effects are awesome and the character animations are flawless. The worlds are extravagant and brilliantly designed and some of the bosses are just plain cool. Definitely one of the best-looking games on the Wii.
Of course, there is nothing to complain about in the audio department. The music syncs perfectly with the game everything just works so well. All the sound effects are spot on and the musical score is great. No one can do music like Nintendo.
Galaxy is definitely a lengthy title and can take you up to 30 hours to get all the Power Stars, but even then the fun doesn't end! After you collect all the Power Stars (I think there is like 125 of them) you will be compelled to do it all over again but I'm not going to tell you why. This makes replayability explode to the highest level I have ever seen replayability go. This tacks on another 30 hours of the game and you won't even get bored that's how great the levels are.
Super Mario Galaxy was one of the reasons why I wanted a Wii. I have to say that this game has redefined how I look at video games and takes Twilight Princess's place as my favorite game of all time. Not only is Mario Galaxy an improvement over its hailed predecessor Super Mario 64, Mario Galaxy is an improvement over all games and developers should definitely take a look at how Nintendo handled Mario Galaxy when they develop their next game. If you own a Wii, buy Mario Galaxy immediately you won't regret it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/24/08
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)
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