Review by Sour DieseL
"Mariooooo in Spaceeeee"
Nintendo had to keep up the tradition and needed a new Mario game ready for the Wii's release. The result was mind-blowing and the game continues to be a best seller to this day, three years later. Super Mario Galaxy is one of the best in the series, even being garnered as *the* best by some fans, and rightfully so. This game is really fun and pretty hard to put down, with tons of stuff to do in between the main stages of the game. It has plenty of replay-ability value if you're one of those people who has to 100% everything, and if you do, you'll have a great time doing so. With Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the way, I felt it would only be proper to celebrate with a review of Nintendo's biggest launch title for the Wii, as well as being a part of Nintendo's flagship series.
Story: 10/10: Every one hundred years, a comet flies over Mushroom Kingdom. The citizens of Mushroom Kingdom are holding a festival to celebrate the coming of the comet. As he often does, Bowser decides to crash the party. Bowser invades the festival with his airship fleet, causing mass destruction and blowing up everything in sight. Mario is making his way to the castle to save Princess Peach from the chaos, but just then, massive hooks enter the ground around the castle. A mysterious beam of light also centers on the castle and the castle is slowly lifted up into the air by a UFO! Mario attempts to stay with the castle but he's eventually shaken off. Bowser and his minions fly off, as Mario floats to a nearby, very small planet. There he meets a star child which are known as Lumas. Mario is introduced to their leader, Roslina. Rosalina is a human who takes care of the Lumas. She also runs an observatory that travels through space. However, Bowser and his minions have captured the source of the observatory's power, known as Grand Stars. Mario will have to recover enough of them to power the engine so he can make his way to the center of the universe where Bowser is keeping Princess Peach. Bowser has hidden the stars across various solar systems and you'll have to traverse them to recover the Grand Stars. Mario will receive his fair share of help, even from his brother Luigi in his quest for the Grand Stars.
Gameplay: 10/10: Definitely one of the game's strongest points lies here. Much like Super Mario 64, you have a central hub and you'll have to go through different doors to get to different galaxies. Each galaxy holds a few solar systems where power stars reside. The game feels a lot like an updated Super Mario 64 and there are plenty of things to do. Each solar system has an objective to complete for each power star, much like Super Mario 64 has it's portraits to jump into. The neat thing about this game is the way the gravity works. Most pieces of land that you're on, you'll be able to run all over it, even the seemingly upside down parts. Make sure that you can go upside down before you try it though as you may fall off an edge and down into a black hole, costing you a life in the process. A good way to tell is if there are enemies or pipes on both sides of the "planet". The game consists mostly of these small "planets", requiring you to jump from one to the next. Say you're one a platform or planet beneath another one. Just jump up and the gravity will pull you to that other planet! You'll also be able to punch and jump on enemies. Shaking the Wii remote will cause you to spin around with both fists outstretched, which will often stun an enemy. Bullet Bills in this game now home in on you, and sometimes you'll have to lure them to a cage that's holding an item or a star.
Along thew way you'll pick up little colored stars called "Star Bits". Collecting 50 of them will grant you a free life. They do serve a few other purposes, however. As you're pointing at a screen, a little blue star will pop up. You can aim this star and press the B button to shoot the star bits that you've collected. There is an option for a second player to take over this role, shooting the star bits for you. Star Bits are also what Lumas eat to survive. Once in a while, you'll come across a hungry Luma. If you feed them enough star bits, they'll create a new planet that you can go to and collect a star. These hungry Lumas appear only in certain missions and outside in the central hub, where they'll make new galaxies. Returning to the series is Mario's fireball shooting power obtained from fire flowers. A new power-up they brought in is the ice flower, which shoots ice balls, allowing you to free enemies and certain obstacles. Also, once in a while, a comet will pass over a galaxy, causing strange effects and unveiling a new star. You'll have to complete a new task or variant of an old task to get the power of the comet. For instance, the purple comet requires you to collect 100 purple coins in a certain time limit. And the daredevil comet (red) will make it so that you have to fight a boss, but you can't get hit even once. These comets are where the majority of the challenge for this game comes in, and it certainly doesn't disappoint.
Graphics: 10/10: Yet another area where Super Mario Galaxy shines brightly. And I mean bright. Despite taking place in outer space, the game is full of bright and vibrant colors, helping pull you in more, visually. The environments are well detailed and crisp. The character design is fantastic as well, especially for some of the bosses. No, it's not Hi-Def, but it looks great anyways. I especially like the detail they went into again, with the environments and backgrounds, everything just pops. Nintendo did a fantastic job of making a standard definition game look good, you can tell that they tried really hard here, pushing the Wii to it's limits. The did a great job with the lighting and mirroring effects as well, like when looking at the water for instance. I can only imagine what Super Mario Galaxy 2 will look like, and let's hope it's as good as this, but hopefully, even better!
Audio: 10/10: The soundtrack is absolutely fantastic. They even brought back some favorites from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario 64. The airship theme returns for the times that you'll be on airships, and remember the song for Bowser's stages in Super Mario 64? It's back! Not to mention, this game features some voice acting, albeit not much. They did a good job though, it sounds like Bart Simpson is voicing Bowser Jr., which made me laugh a bit. Still, it was pretty awesome to hear the characters talk, except Bowser of course who just growls. All of the music fits the stages very well, and the boss battle theme is great, providing a pretty epic atmosphere. If this game doesn't have an official soundtrack release by now, it needs to have one. Nintendo really outdid themselves here and it definitely doesn't disappoint.
Overall: 10/10: This game is so highly revered for many reasons. It feels like Super Mario 64 on steroids. If you loved Super Mario 64, you'll love this game just as much, if not more. And if you haven't played this game yet, go buy yourself a copy. But it's most certainly worth the retail price and stands right next to Super Mario Bros. 3 in terms of the greatest game in the Mario franchise. It's a purchase you won't regret!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/31/10
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)
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