Review by Dawngarde
"Mario soars through the galaxies, and into our hearts."
The Wii. A good system, what it lacks in comparison to the other two is that it has less storage and not so great graphics... and countless games abuse the Wii Remote's capabilities. There are of course, games that use it perfectly, such as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. So where is the red-capped, blue-overall Italian Plumber to be seen? He takes flight in Super Mario Galaxy, a fantastic game that is perhaps, the REASON to get a Wii. I'm betting you're very disappointed that Nintendo hasn't been pulling their weight lately, but several masterpieces are indeed on the Wii-- and this probably tops it. If you have a Wii, you BETTER have this. If you don't, what the heck are you reading this for?! If you're not sure what it is, then read on.
Let's start with the story, an odd start for a 3D Platforming game. But a story is a story nontheless. So it seems there's a festival celebrating a comet flying over the Mushroom Kingdom every 100 years or something... It's a bit foggy, but they're celebrating something. So you're on your way to the castle, and-- gasp! Bowser comes. Oh boy! He uproots the castle and takes it to space. Mario takes chase, but Bowser's Magikoopa minion takes him out. But wait. Space? Indeed, Bowser's new plan is to conquer the UNIVERSE! From the center of the universe! Taking Peach just felt right, to get Mario on his tail I guess. Meanwhile, on a distant planet, Mario awakens to some... bunnies? Eventually, he meets emo Peach. I mean, Rosalina, a new character who resembles Peach, but taller, a light-peach, shiny hair that goes over one eye, and her voice is more... woosh-y. If that's a word. She helps Mario by teaching the Star Spin (more on this in a bit), and tells him to rescue the Grand Stars, to power her Observatory, in which she watches the galaxies. You'll also meet Lumas, which are baby stars, which, when fed Star Bits (bits of a star, pretty explanatory. Apparently a candy-like treat), turn into stuff like Launch Stars, Pull Stars-- even planets. Mario goes into rooms and watches over a some galaxies to fly into-- in which, he gets the Stars.
Alrighty. The gameplay. It's pretty linear, and it's 3D-- you move with the Control Stick, jump with A, shoot Star Bits with B (which can feed the aforementioned Lumas, which turn into planets, pull or launch stars...), control the camera with the D-Pad, go into a first-person view with C, and Z goes into a crouch. 1 and 2 do nothing, while plus, or minus... brings up the start screen. Shaking the remote, does a Star Spin, which gives you a boost in jumping, while it can be used to activate switches, hit enemies-- it's your primary thing to use. So, when you're at the Observatory, you go into a room, and launch from a launch star, stars that are like cannons, and you overlook several galaxies. You can point with the remote to which galaxy you'd like to go to, and thus you go to that galaxy, and collect the stars there. Easy. Usually, the last galaxy is relating to Bowser, or his son, Bowser Jr, in which you overcome a level first, then fight them in a boss fight. Bowser Jr. usually fights on his airship, while you go head to head with Bowser in a climactic clash on a spherical planet.
Different to other 3D Platformers, this includes stuff like the gravity effects, comets, and stuff. See, you would, usually, be able to walk all around a planet. If the planet is HUGE, I wouldn't count on it. But floating chunks of land, yes, they are planets, could probably be walked all over. There are stuff like, jumping out of a planet's orbit that could help you reach another planet's orbit. Comets, are when a comet enters the galaxy you want to travel to, giving it an extra challenge. You might have to finish it quickly, deal with faster enemies, or go through without taking damage. There are warp pipes, in which when entered, show an underground like area. Even in a spoon! That's crazy! They usually contain a 1-Up, to help you going. Pull Stars, must be used by the pointing of the remote, in which you "pull" Mario to that star. He stays there until you decide to go to the next, or you're where you want to be. Don't stay on it forever, as Mario would likely fall. There's Launch Stars, where, once the remote is shaken, launches Mario to an area he probably couldn't reach on his own. A miniature version of that is called a Sling Star. Because of the massive amount of space there is, falling would probably mean you go on the other side because of the orbit, right? Wrong. Black holes exist for that purpose. They're the bane of you, and appear in the most unexpected places... okay, well, when you fall off a big thing, you'd likely either fall into space, or get sucked in the black hole. Star Bits are the "food" for the Lumas, and you can shoot 'em at enemies... only to stun 'em. Thankfully, you can receive them via the pointer from the remote. Another new element is the matter splatter. Seen a few times in the game only, but interesting nonetheless. Inside a blue "spotlight", you have normal land. But that "spotlight" fades away, and like water, drips onto an empty area. Anything that's not in the spotlight, is of course, your doom. It still retains various normal Mario series things, such as Goombas, cannons, Toads, and... Luigi! Elements such as the Long Jump, Side Somersault and Backflip are still here, but they can all be boosted by the Star Spin. You still have a limited amount of lives, and you can only take 3 hits before you go down. You need 60 Stars to beat Bowser in the final level, but 120 to unlock a special level-- and a special character, in which you can do the quest all over again, only harder... who? You'll see....
The graphics are vibrant, and are nothing like what any console could offer. As stated in another review, you don't even have to say, "for a Wii game." as the Wii is indeed a weak console-- forget the "for a Wii game" part, the graphics look great. PERIOD. It's colourful, and the various effects such as the distant planets in the background, and space and gravity taking it's toll on things like lava, sand and water, look absolutely stunning. Remember in that commercial? Mario flying out of a volcano? That was simply wonderful. And Bowser has never been more detailed! Seriously, look at his skin. The game is pure eye-candy, you'll be wanting more each step of the way.
The audio is PERFECT. You can hear Mario's jumps and grunts clearly, and Bowser's voice, is probably the best voice we've heard for him. It's more menacing and evil. Nintendo has discovered something called an orchestra, and most of the tracks are orchestrated, however some are just normal, remixes of other, older songs, or just normal songs in their own right. While fighting boss battles, the music changes to fit your advantage/mood. If you strike Bowser's tail, the epic choir backs you up as you chase him around the planet! It's the stuff like that-- it's simply wonderful.
If there's anything I could say wrong, it'd be that there is a lack of Yoshi. He was in Sunshine, and though I don't remember him in the original SM64, he was playable in SM64DS. Where's he in Galaxy? A planet. But that's not detracting from anything--- this game is sheer EXCELLENCE. Really, THIS is the reason to own a Wii. Not because your grandma and little sister would like Wii Sports or Wii Fit-- because YOU, YOU want Super Mario Galaxy. It's simply wonderful and pushes the Wii a lot and making one of the best usages of the Wii Remote. If you got the Wii for another game, that's fine too. But if you don't have this, you're really missing out.
Mario leaps into the next generation-- perfectly unscathed. How will he fare today? We'll just have to find out, but for now, enjoy the masterpiece that is Super Mario Galaxy!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 09/29/08
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy (US, 11/12/07)
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