Super Mario Galaxy

(Exclusively for Nintendo Wii – Reviewed by ‘Tiger’ Oliver)

Pros
Amazing graphics (at least for a Wii game)
Spectacular music
Another innovative
Super Mario game
No F.L.U.D.D. (from
Super Mario Sunshine)

Cons
Controls can be a little bit picky and confusing, especially given the innovative concepts in the game
SERIOUSLY, how does Princess Peach keep getting kidnapped?! You’d think she’d install a security system for that reason…

When talking about video games, you can’t help but bring up Nintendo; and, when you bring up Nintendo, one name automatically stands out: Shigeru Miyamoto.

Now, for the readers who don’t know who this man is, he’s the mastermind behind some of the greatest Nintendo, let alone video game, franchises of all time: Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid Prime, Star Fox and Donkey Kong, to name a few. Even when pitted against games on more powerful consoles, the innovation and timelessness of Miyamoto’s projects rarely cease to amaze the masses, and even come out the better game.

One of his most innovative masterpieces, Super Mario Galaxy is undisputedly one of the best video games in this generation of consoles, even given the fact it’s almost two years old.

Here’s the rundown on the story: A comet appears over the Mushroom Kingdom every century, so the entire kingdom has a celebration. Bowser shows up, blowing everything up in sight. Thankfully, our favorite mustachioed, Italian-stereotype plumber shows up. Alas, it’s too late, for Bowser kidnaps the Princess and the entire castle, dragging her into space…

…WHAT?! The satanic turtle kidnapped the Princess for the over 9000th time?! How does one person get snatched over and over and over and over AND OVER?!?!?! C’mon, girl, set up a security system, hire Link or some Pokemon or something.

Anywho, Mario gets blown away and lands on a spaceship. Turns out, it’s the hundred-years’ “comet”. Rosalina, the lady who runs the ship along side the star-shaped Lumas, has had the Grand Stars stolen by Bowser, who has taken them (and Peach) to the center of the universe so he can harness the power to rule the universe. Seems like the Mushroom Kingdom just isn’t big enough for Barney’s worst nightmare.

So, Mario heads out to save the universe and the Grand Stars from the King of the Koopas and his evil plans.

Gameplay – 5/5
Simply put, this game will blow you away by design alone. It plays basically like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine: you go from galaxy to galaxy (or, level to level) picking up Power Stars. The more Power Stars you have, the more areas you can reach. At the end of each system, you face a boss for a Grand Star. You can reach each level by entering “domes” and choosing them from a solar system-type layout.

Okay, so it seems like the same crap we’ve played before, right? WRONG! Because, unlike the last two major platformers, your senses will be challenged. This is because you now must navigate entire structures on all sides, not just on the surface. Kind of, well, like a planet of sorts. Each “planet” has its own gravitational field. In addition, you can also use stars and other various things to navigate the entire level, intraplanetary and through the vastness of space – vines, spider web slingshots, various stars (sling stars and linking stars among the most common), cannons and the classic pipes. You also only have three health, instead of the default six from previous outings. However, by picking up a red Power Mushroom, you are increased to six until your health falls to three or lower.

If you fall off a planet, platform or through a hole; deviate from the playing field or shoot off your mark, you get sucked into a black hole. Quite the dark deviation from just falling into the standard bottomless pit. Speaking of which, Mario actually turns into a skeleton when electrocuted. Perhaps a slight edge was added to Mario’s 2007 outing? Meh, I don’t know about that, but I laughed out loud when I first saw it.

Also, instead of a pointer hand, you have a blue star as a pointer. When you point the WiiMote towards colored objects called “star bits”, you automatically draw them towards you. You can also pick them up by running into them as-per tradition. These star bits serve two functions: you may feed them to hungry Lumas to unlock areas in a level or special galaxies to get hidden stars. You can also shoot them at enemies by hitting the B-button on the main WiiMote as you use the blue star pointer as a crosshair.

Now, this game brings the return of a classic power up and two new ones. The return of the Fire Flower means you can right-properly flame those cursed goombas and koopas. The brand new Bee Suit allows you to stick to honeycomb walls and fly to heights you normally would have to triple jump to reach, whereas the Spring power up allows you to do that WAY easier save the wall-sticking. The Boo power up allows you to float in the air and go through obstacles. A variation of the Fire Flower, the Ice Flower (first appearing in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time), allows you to freeze water and lava so you can safely pass across. You also have 1-Up mushrooms and Invincibility Stars.

I know, I know, that seems like a lot, but after you get an hour or two into the game, it all comes into perspective and doesn’t seem like that much at all. This game’s dynamics take a little bit longer to get used to than previous titles in the franchise; but, you still catch on quickly.

Graphics – 4/5
The graphics, despite the lack of HD, are simply stunning to put it entirely too mildly. In fact, had this game been in high definition, it would probably be rated somewhere between the ideal acid trip and achieving nirvana.

Sound – 5/5
The soundtrack, like pretty much every Nintendo game, was made exceptionally. My favorite part of the music were tracks from Super Mario Bros. 3 that were orchestrated. The integration from one progressive title to another is apt, considering how each game pushed the franchise to the next level.

Controls – 4/5
Despite the WiiMote, the basic controls really haven’t changed much. A jumps, B shoots star bits wherever the blue star pointer is and Z performs the butt dive when you’re in the air. The control stick on the nunchuck allows Mario to move, the “-” button pauses and the control pad changes the camera.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Wii game without motion controls. By shaking the WiiMote, Mario will do his famous tornado attack. This allows him to attack enemies, perform special actions (climb vines, use slingstars, unscrew screws, etc) and get an extra boost of elevation when in the air.

There are also various minigames that call for special movements. For example, there’s a manta-ray surfing level in which you have to twist the WiiMote to steer Mario.

Replay Value – 3.5/5
Okay, so the Super Mario franchise never really has been about replayability. Not to say that there isn’t any whatsoever, but it’s very limited. That’s what’s wrong with most 3D platformers, whereas someone can pop in classics like Super Mario Bros. 3 and relive every single moment like the first time.

That aside, you can replay the game if you have to, but at anywhere between 15-30 hours long, you can knock it out in one week’s rental.

Overall – 4.5/5

Buy? – You’d Be Stupid Not To… That or You Don’t Like Mario
With the announcement of a 2010 sequel at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), this very impressive game is slated for a discount. But, for around $35 used at GameStop right now, it’s $35 well-spent. Unless you hate Mario with a passion, then that’s your problem.

Besides, it’s an amazing game for a decent price, nothing wrong with that.

Rent? – Can’t Go Wrong Either Way
If you have Gamefly, you’re better off renting it through there. Otherwise, only rent it to give it a test drive. If you have nothing else to do this Fall Break but play with your Wii, definitely give this game a go. Its decent length will keep you busy for awhile, whether you own it or rent it. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

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