Review by Doctamonta

"spectacular"

It doesn't seem very interesting at first. In fact, the plot is so stale and nonsensical that it almost feels tacked on. You don't really need to know who Rosalina is; aside from giving off a shiny aura and a few sagely words of wisdom, she has little importance overall. Nor do you really need to know the Lumas, which are nothing more than tiny, talking stars that float around Rosalina's Comet Observatory. Why would Mario ever go to an observatory, you ask? Turns out Bowser has kidnapped Peach - again - and has whisked her off into outer space. Conveniently enough, the observatory is capable of interstellar travel. It just needs several Power Stars to get the engines turned on again…

See where this is going? If you've played Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine, this plot should sound pretty familiar. This game borrows much from those titles; despite its beautiful design, the Comet Observatory is little more than an intergalactic Peach's Castle or Isle Delfino. The complex is made up of smaller sections, each of which contains its own dome-shaped observatory. It's from these points that you can see the various galaxies – the apparently new term for ‘levels' – and choose whichever one you want to play. Like in previous games, completing a certain objective or challenge in a galaxy nets you a Power Star, which is used to power up the other domes. Since everything is run on Power Stars, you won't be able to access the majority of the domes or their corresponding galaxies at the beginning of the game. Each galaxy has a number corresponding to the number of Stars needed to see it, which means that you'll be beating dozens of levels just to unlock new areas and challenges

Contrary to what the promotional videos might have shown you, however, the levels or Super Mario Galaxy are not entirely made up of little round planets for Mario to jump over. You'll get to wander over rockets, hedge mazes, winding paths, space colonies, and random junk. There are several levels comprised of such things, but many of the later areas are more focused on the blend of basic platforming concepts, the warped camera perspective, and the constantly shifting gravity. Take the Dreadnought spaceship level, for example. You start off by walking up the hull of the ship (dodging roving bands of laser guns in the process) and finding a way in. But once you're inside, the game behaves more like a two-dimensional platformer; you have dodge motorized engine parts, kick your way up to another level, etc. But once the alternate gravity comes into play, you'll find yourself running up walls and using those same parts as makeshift platforms while you dodge spikes, cannonballs, and anything else you might find. Other levels force you to contend with a scrolling camera and ledges that vanish or appear inconsistently. Though most of the first few galaxies are fairly easy to complete, the game's difficulty level gradually rises.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/17/08

Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)


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