Review by ShockeeperEZZ

Reviewed: 03/12/09

A great mix of old and new

I must say right off the bat that this is my most favorite game of all time. I can’t say that it’s the best game of all time, because everyone’s opinion is different, but it’s definitely the best for me. I was a big fan of Mario 64, and I was hoping to find a game soon that would be just like it, but with new levels and tons more to do. Super Mario Galaxy was it. It was way better than I expected it to be.

One of the great things about this game is not only the graphics, gameplay, music, etc., but also its references to older games. There are so many aspects of older Mario games, such as items, situations, music themes, characters, that you will find in this game. I was very happy to see familiar characters in 3-D, and to see mushrooms floating everywhere. I was also happy to hear music from the older game used in different ways.

So let me describe the game a bit in detail…

The story is your basic Mario game story: Bowser kidnaps the princess, and Mario travels far and wide to find and rescue her. Each game has a different flavor of the story, though. In Galaxy, Bowser gains the ability to travel into space, and he rips the castle out of the ground (with Peach inside) and takes it to the center of the universe. Mario, who is thrown off the castle during the kidnapping, ends up on a planet where he meets Rosalina, the leader of the Lumas. After speaking with Rosalina, Mario finds himself on Rosalina’s Observatory, a spaceship that has lost much of its power due to Bowser’s thievery. It is up to Mario to use the observatory to travel to distant Galaxies to collect power stars in order to restore the power of the observatory, and then travel to save Peach.

If you have every played Mario 64, then you will have the controls of this game down right away. All of the controls, views, and moves are the same, with one exception. Instead of having the B-button attack moves, you shake the Wii remote to do a spin attack, which is you regular attack move, and is very helpful throughout the game. The purpose of the game itself is also similar to Mario 64, where you travel to 42 different galaxies to collect 1 to 7 power stars from each for a total of 121 (1 more than Mario 64, because of a special event after you beat the game). The galaxies you can go to aren’t all available to you right off the bat. You have to collect stars from the earlier galaxies to gain access to more (Same goes with Mario 64 in unlocking doors). So yeah, same basic concept between the two games. Galaxy is just so much more expansive and is set in space instead of in the castle, so there are obvious differences.

Another cool feature that Galaxy has is the ability to play as Luigi and complete the entire game over again once you completely finish it as Mario. Fans and gamer of Mario games had been anxiously awaiting this feature, and now they have it. The gameplay is the same as with Mario, except that Luigi moves a little differently. It’s similar to the relation between Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Bros. 2: Mario has more control that Luigi (Luigi slides around a lot when you stop running), but Luigi can run faster and jump higher than Mario. It’s just cool to finally play as Luigi in a 3-D Mario adventure game.

Galaxy has a wide variety of different modes of gameplay, aside from the usual 3-D perspective with Mario running and jumping around. There are also parts of the game where Mario can only move in two dimensions, just like in the older Mario games. Also, the game takes advantage of the Wii Remote many times, using it to ride a manta ray, push a bubble around, run on a ball, and shoot star bits at enemies or hungry lumas (they love eating star bits). I was really quite pleased with the variety of gameplay this game has, as well as the similar gameplay to Mario 64 (a game which I just loved to play, too.)

This is definitely one of the best looking, if not the best looking, game that Nintendo has put out. I haven’t played many games on the X-Box 360 or Playstation 3 so I can’t say it looks better than them, but it’s just an incredible sight. Everything is so crystal clear and detailed. I don’t really know how to explain it. You just have to see it for yourself. This game is really just an amazing sight.

Sound Effects
You get a great mix of new sound effects and old sound effects in this game. I was surprised to hear tons of sound effects that I had heard from other Mario games, such as when you step on enemies, or when a mushroom appears. There are also tons of new sounds that are appropriate and not cheesy.

As an orchestral musician, I was very happy to hear orchestra music through most of this game. This game incorporates your standard synthesizer music in some areas, and then fully orchestrated music (played by the Mario Galaxy Orchestra) in many other parts. It excites me to hear orchestral music more often in newer games, because it just makes things feel more real and comfortable, and even enjoyable. The new orchestra music in this game is very well composed and appropriate for the style and feel of this game. There are also a couple themes that you hear from other games that were arranged for an orchestra, one of which (that excited me to death when I first heard it) is the battleship fleet music in World 8 from Super Mario Bros. 3. How creative! Yeah, I just loved the music in this game. Very well written, very fitting for the game.

Character appearances
You also get a great mix of new and old characters and enemies. All of the main characters, with the excepts of Rosalina, have been seen in most (if not all) other Mario Games. The lumas also make their debut, which are these cute little star-shaped creatures that make funny sounds and are very helpful. As far as the other characters, it’s really quite surprising. You see tons of enemies that you have seen before, such as Goombas, Bullet Bill (which is really cool in this game), Blooper Squid, Chomper (that barks), Boo ghosts, Kamek, Pirahna Plants, The mole guys that throw wrenches, Bob-ombs, Wiggler the Worm, and Skeleton Koopas. You also get a whole bunch of new characters that appear appropriately during parts of the game. There are also a lot of new bosses, almost one in each galaxy. There are also friendly characters that make their re-appearance, such as the penguins and the toads. So yeah, there’s a ton of characters, some new, some old. You do miss a couple characters, such as

Items and props
Again, this game incorporates a lot of old items with some new stuff. The main collectable items are stars, flowers, coins, and mushrooms. You collect powers stars, which look the same as in Mario 64. There are some power stars that are different colors, which mainly just signify special events in the game. They aren’t worth more or anything. You can also collect invincibility stars that you see in earlier games, and that only lasts for a limited time. There’s also a new star to use, which is the red star. That star just lets you fly around in the observatory. The mushrooms you find throughout the game are quite helpful and essential in collecting certain stars. The mushrooms will transform Mario (or Luigi) into the theme that the mushroom is. The transformations include Bee Mario, Spring Mario, and Boo Mario, and there are also extra life and health mushrooms. The fire flower also makes it appearance, along with the new ice flower. The only bummer part about these is that, unlike mushrooms, they only last for a limited time.

This game has a good deal of challenge. There are a number in the stars that are surprising easy to get, but none are ridiculously easy. There are also quite a deal of challenges, such as many of the prankster comet challenges, or stars where you use extended techniques with the Wii Remote. The game isn’t impossible, as a number of the stars are quite easy to get. The more difficult ones may require a few tries to get, but they are all very possible. The good thing about this game is that losing a life or having a “game over” doesn’t really affect your flow. You just start the challenge again, which isn’t very long anyways. The bosses in this game range from easier than expected to pretty hard. You face Bowser three times throughout the game, all of which get progressively harder. The game is quite long, since there are 121 stars to collect twice (once as Mario and once as Luigi), but it works out quite well with the challenge presented. But yeah, the difficulty level isn’t too high, but there are quite a few challenging parts.

I think that’s all about the game I really wanted to cover. I just had a great time with this game. I liked most that the gameplay remained the same as it did in Mario 64, with a bunch of new sights and concepts. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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

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