Super Mario Galaxy

August 17, 2009 by Aaron Green  
Filed under Nintendo Wii, Reviews

Overview

Title: Super Mario Galaxy
Release Date: November 1, 2007 (JA) November 12, 2007 (US) November 16, 2007 (EU) November 29, 2007 (AU)
Developer/Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Platformer
Platform[s]: Wii

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Storyline

Mario has been doing his thing for more than twenty years now and so most of us know exactly what to expect when the Big ‘N’ announce a new entry in the mainstream Super Mario series.  With but a few minor exceptions the formula is typically along the lines of this: Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach/Daisy and thus Mario takes it upon himself to rescue the clichéd damsel in distress from what is essentially an angry badass reptile.  The series has (of course) deviated from the previously mentioned formula on occasion alas not this time.  Super Mario Galaxy is a return to its retro roots but with a next gen twist – something Super Mario Sunshine failed to do but Super Mario 64 did oh so well!  Yes there is more to the story than the discussed formula but this is the foundation and why not?  It’s a successful tried-and-tested formula which along with the solid gameplay makes this a fantastic entry into seventh generation 3D platforming.  

Gameplay

Run, jump and attack.  Collect power-ups.  Repeat.  SMG is of course a platformer and the format does have certain genre specific traits which most of us are familiar with but for those who aren’t I’d say that the best way to sum up the gameplay is this: the aim is to progress from level to level (in this case each level is a galaxy and is composed of several planets) whilst defeating enemies, avoiding traps and overcoming all other obstacles.  

The above is of course made all the more interesting in Galaxies by a number of franchise specific features.  Power-ups exist in the form of: a Bee Suit, a Boo Suit (ghost), a Spring Suit, Fire Mario, Ice Mario and the all important Invincible Mario all of which aid the player in progressing through challenging situations and conquering issues occasionally presented by the environment.  The motion control doesn’t feel tacked on at all like it does in many Wii titles, instead it is almost seamless and certainly feels natural; the Nunchuck is used to move Mario and make him jump (Z) with the Wii Remote used alongside to target objects and perform special attacks/movements.  It’s all very simple and though it might take a novice a couple of levels to get it all mastered – soon enough it becomes second nature.  Finally, there’s level navigation and design to consider.  This is initially presented in the fashion we saw in Super Mario 64.  The player has a “Hub” in which at first only allows access to a couple of levels (aka Galaxies) but as levels are completed, stars are collected and more Galaxies are unlocked.  The levels themselves are presented in a number of different ways; there are racing levels (one example being as you have to ride a sting-ray down what is essentially a inter-galactic log flume), novelty levels (such as balancing on an over-grown marble) and of course the normal levels in which you have to rise above all danger and reach the star – as a twist though you have to planet hop through these in an environment which is more often than not presented in thee-hundred and sixty degrees!

 There is a multiplayer co-op option available however all it involves is the second player being able to shoot star bits from Mario whilst the first controls him as normal – it is very minimal and certainly not a selling feature of the game!

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Graphics

Mario is animated perfectly, the game is full of bright, beautiful visuals and it’s a colourful, cartoon wonderland.  Operating at 60fps almost flawlessly! Quite easily SMG is one of the best games to look at on the Wii to-date. 

Sound

Music and sound effects in Galaxy are exceptional.  Without a doubt unbeatable!  The lack of any solid verbal otput however can be a slight downfall but it is kind of a Nintendo tradition and one we know about all to well.

Overall Score & Replayability

The game can be completed with 60 Stars, this can be done a little too easily – the real challenge is in retrieving all 120.  Something that most dedicated players and the less casual will strive for.  This adds for much replayability and to guarantee both the hardcore and part-time gamers get their equal slice of pint-size plumber action.