Review by AmazoLK

Reviewed: 11/29/07

Super Mario Galaxy is the true sequel to Mario 64, but is it as good?

The Mario Bros. series has always been the biggest franchise is Nintendo’s illustrious history. In the Nintendo 64 era, Nintendo decided to remake the Mario Bros. series, and take it in a different direction in 3D. The result was Super Mario 64, and it is still considered one of the best games ever created. Why was it so good though? What made it so special? Well, it was one of the first 3D platforming games ever, and it is still one of the most finely tuned. But what the hell does this have to do with Super Mario Galaxy? Galaxy is not the sequel to Super Mario 64, but compared the real sequel, Super Mario Sunshine, it really is the true sequel to Mario 64. It has the great gameplay elements of Super Mario 64 without the stupid water backpack, and a great, and I mean great gravity element. But is Super Mario Galaxy better than Mario 64, or even Sunshine for that matter?

Super Mario Galaxy takes place... Well, in space. But how does it get there? At the beginning of the game, Mario is invited to Princess Peach’s castle but on the way there, Bowser - not surprisingly - shows up, and steals Peach’s castle right out of the ground, pretty much like Paper Mario for the N64. So what does Mario have to do? Well... Save her, again. But the opening cinema is something to say, “wow” at. Compared to Super Mario Sunshine, it’s just ridiculous. In Mario Sunshine, there was absolutely no production value put into it, but in Mario Galaxy, they actually took time to make it good, and oh, it’s good. It just goes to show that even though the Wii is the least powerful system on the market, it can still make some games look outstanding. The main Hub of Galaxy is just an observatory where you go into a bunch of different rooms, and you launch to a galaxy with a bunch of different planets. Each planet is like a painting in Mario 64, but they only start out with 3 stars, instead of 7.

Super Mario Galaxy plays like the other two 3D Mario games. A is jump, and if you jump three times in a row, Mario does a triple-jump. The Z button is crouch, and pressing the jump button while crouching will make Mario do a giant backwards flip. Pressing Z, then A again quickly will make Mario do a long jump which is a necessity in Galaxy. The B button will make you shoot star shards, which you collect in each level. There are a bunch of different things you can do with these shards, like shooting enemies, feeding stars, and earning 1-Ups when you collect 100 of them. They have basically replaced coins from the past Mario games, but coins are still there, and they replenish your health. Your health is different in Galaxy also. Instead of having 8 things of health, you now have only 3. And when you collect a certain mushroom, it will go to 6, but if you lose 3, you will lose the extra 3. You can also do a new spin attack by shaking the Wii Remote side to side. The camera system works pretty well for the most part, but can be a pain where you are upside-down, and you want to turn the camera, and you can’t. Turning the camera is used with the D-Pad on the Wii Remote.

But not only are the controls still amazing, but the new gravity elements, and some new Wii Control elements are absolutely outstanding. First of all, the gravity is so superb, it makes you cry. When you are on a planet, long jumping will make you jump out into the air, all the way out to space, then back onto the planet again. But saying this in words is definitely not as good as footage would be. This gravity is used pretty amazingly throughout the whole entire game. You’ll just want to jump off a planet, just to see what happens. During the development though, many thought the game would just be a bunch of different little planets all mixed together, which is partly true, but there still is those planets which are huge, sometimes bigger than a whole level in Super Mario 64. The Wii remote controls are use, pretty much, great. Sometimes you’ll have to use it like a flight stick to control Mario on a ball, and sometimes you might have to control him in a bubble by blowing air at him making him go in that direction. This is really how the Wii Remote should be used in Wii games, unlike some games where you hate having to use the Wii Remote and using the classic controller instead.

There are also many different kind of power-ups that Mario uses during the adventure, but not all are so great. You can turn into a Bee, which you can fly shortly by holding the jump button, but going into water will make the power-up disappear. You can also turn into a Ghost, and it will make you able to go through walls by disappearing, and reappearing again. The Ice Mario is also pretty unique. You turn into Ice, and walking across water will make it freeze. There’s also the classic flying Mario, like the flying cap in Mario 64, and Fire Mario with the white suit and all. There is a very stupid, and very annoying to use power-up called Spring Mario. It’s exactly what it sounds like, Mario transforms into a spring. When you press the jump button, Mario will jump really high, but controlling him normally is a pain in the ass, and I wish they made a better power-up instead.

There’s also a bunch of different and unique boss battles that are just amazing. One of them you have to use a boo-bomb to blow him apart, and one you have to use it’s tail to beat its head. The old school Mario enemies are also here with Goombas, Piranha Plants, and Koopas, but also some new ones like these steel enemies that zap you with a laser. The spin attack usually kills them, but jumping on them can still do the job. The star bits never kills a enemy, instead, it will knock them out, and running into them will kill them. The level design is absolutely outstanding in Galaxy. They range from a random bunch of mini-planets with their own unique theme, to a huge sand planet with quick sand, and Pokey enemies everywhere. In the mini-planet levels, you complete the planets by either collecting shards of a star, to killing a bunch of enemies. Once these tasks are done, a launch star will appear, and by shaking the Wii Remote, it will blast Mario to the next planet, and so on.

Each planet looks amazing, and this is why Galaxy is definitely the best looking Wii games to date. Mario Galaxy is probably the first game on the Wii where you wouldn’t be able to do it on a Gamecube, or an Xbox. Every planet is colourful, and every character model is well done. There are also some nice technical elements like heat distortion, and shimmering water. It also runs at an awesome 60 frames per second, and never dips, ever. The sound is probably the strongest part of Galaxy, and maybe one of the best soundtracks in a Nintendo game ever. Every planet has an epic theme in the background, and never seem out of place. Unlike past games like Twilight Princess, Mario Galaxy is orchestrated, and sounds amazing. The sounds are pretty great too with all of the yells of Mario, and tiny bits of voice like Peach and Bowser. Still, there’s still a lot of text to read, and can sometimes get tiring to read again and again. I think it’s time that Nintendo starts getting some voice actors together and actually gets some nice voice work, because some games need it.

Galaxy is not a short game, but that’s if you decide you want to collect all 120 stars. You only need 60 to actually face the final boss, and getting the first 60 starts does not take very long, about 4 to 8 hours. But it takes a lot more time to collect the other 60, and the difficulty will ramp up and up every inch. There are about 40 planets, and 4 for each galaxy with 2 being big levels, and the other 2 being small levels with only one star to collect. You cam feed certain stars scattered around the observatory, and it will lead you another planet with only one star on it. Overall, the game isn’t too hard, but you will die a lot, but not from an enemy or anything, but mostly from missing a platform, or accidentally falling into lava and sand. There’s also a bunch of secrets like unlocking something after you collect all 120 stars.

Overall though, I was a bit disappointed with Super Mario Galaxy. I don’t know if I got caught up in the hype, or I was expecting too much, but it just didn’t deliver like Super Mario 64. The game is sort of short, it is very easy, and it can sometimes feel a little confusing. Still, with the amazing graphics, out of this world level design, and some of the best music from a Nintendo game ever, Mario Galaxy is still one of the best games of 2007, and one of the best platforming games ever.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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