Review by aIakazam9891

"Overrated and unoriginal but still somewhat enjoyable"

Super Mario Galaxy is the much anticipated killer app for the Wii - at least, that's what it wants to be. At Nintendo's E3 '07 conference, they stated that Galaxy would be the "first worthy successor to Super Mario 64". Obviously this was a lie from the beginning, as Super Mario Sunshine was a very worthy successor, but I certainly didn't expect Galaxy to not be. Let's move on to the review.

Galaxy has few interesting ideas in it, but many are copied over from Super Mario 64, such as the Boo themed level, which is almost identical to Big Boo's Haunt from the superior 64 title. Some of the levels are even stolen from other games as well - Freezeflame Galaxy, for example, is either a complete ripoff of Banjo-Tooie's Hailfire Peaks or we have the biggest coincidence in the history of video games in our hands. Some levels, like the toy level found late in the game, are creative and enjoyable, but for the most part everything is recycled from games past.

The powerups aren't bad, but like the levels, they're all unoriginal. The bee powerup, found early, is once again very suspiciously similar to a Banjo-Kazooie element - the bee transformation in Banjo-Kazooie's Click Clock Wood level, to be exact. The return of Fire Mario would be great if the powerup didn't go away on its own, and Ice Mario would be great as well, but both disappear after a short period of time for no reason other than to make the game more difficult. I don't know whose idea this was, but it was a bad one. Boo Mario hasn't been done before, so it's unique - oh wait, it's just the bee powerup combined with Mario 64's invisibility cap. Spring Mario is, once again, a copy and paste of Banjo-Kazooie. Springy Step Shoes? From Banjo-Tooie? Remember those?

The boss battles are, for the most part, great. The game starts you off against a piranha plant/dinosaur hybrid, which is an enjoyable boss fight, and almost all of the other bosses, from said Piranha to a statue controlled by a ghost called Bouldergeist (oh the puns), are a blast to fight and defeat - unfortunately, the three fights against Bowser are not only poor ideas, but every fight is exactly the same. Now, of course, this wouldn't be a problem if it was executed well (such is the case with Super Mario 64), but the fights against Bowser in Galaxy are just bad.

The graphics are, in a word, horrendous. It's all very dark and lacks personality, and while this may work for some games, we're talking about a Mario game here, something that thrives on color and a cheerful nature. Look at Sunshine, for example - the bright, vibrant colors gave the game an upbeat and pleasant feel. Galaxy has a few instances of this, but not nearly enough.

The music in Galaxy was, for the most part, good. Not much to complain about there. However, the lack of voice acting really takes away from the game. I don't expect Mario to utter anything other than a few "woo-hoo!"s, but look at Super Mario 64 - at the end, Peach had at least a paragraph of dialog, and it added to the game. Super Mario Sunshine had an opening cutscene with more voice acting than anyone would expect from a Mario game, and it worked.

Mario's arsenal of attacks are pretty average. Jumping returns, of course, but it's hard to pull off thanks to the gravity. Star bits are a horrible idea to begin with, but the fact that they don't do anything to a majority of enemies in the game makes them even worse. Their only use, really, is to feed to the hungry Lumas. Some weapon. Mario's best move by far is his spin move, but because the game makes you wait a couple seconds before being able to do it again, the usefulness when up against a group of enemies is limited.

The game's biggest problem, easily, is just that - how easy it is. The original Super Mario Bros. thinks Galaxy is too linear. The game directs you towards the star and boss - there's no exploration factor at all. The game would have been so much better if, instead of the stars that launch you from planet to planet, Nintendo had included more cannons that required you to actually search for the stars. Then, just maybe, it wouldn't have been so boring.

Overall, Super Mario Galaxy is a great disappointment. It seems Nintendo has lost their ability to be original - almost every element in the game has been done, and what is original is probably better off copied from another game anyway. At least the games it copied from are enjoyable enough to make this a decent play.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/10/08

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

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