Super Mario Galaxy Review
Like my last review, the system will be divided into 5 categories: Story, Gameplay, Music, Graphics, and Overall Enjoyment, followed by it's score.
Be warned, there are spoilers here. Probably.
Unsurprisingly, our story begins with our hero Mario going to visit Princess Peach. He's probably there to get "cake", since Peach seems to abundantly give that out to him. Anyway, Mario has been invited to the centennial Star Festival to watch the passing over of a comet. Suddenly, but rather expectedly, our antagonist Bowser appears to kidnap Princess Peach. A fleet of airships fill the sky, and a large saucer appears under the castle, ripping it from the ground and lifting it into the sky. Always quick to react, Mario leaps into action to save Peach, but his efforts fail when one of Bowser's minions knocks him off the the ship, causing him to fall onto a small planet. On the planet, Mario meets Rosalina. We discover that Rosalina watches over all the star with her friends, the luma, using the Comet Observatory to travel across the universe. Unfortunately, Bowser has stolen all of the power stars that power the Observatory. Rosalina then bestows upon Mario the ability to travel across space to recover the power stars to repower the Observatory, and save Peach.
Super Mario Galaxy follows the Super Mario 64 school of gameplay. Most levels are an open world, you can wander as you please, however each world is limited in its size. Some levels, however, take a more linear approach to finishing the level. In addition, with the exception of a few worlds, all levels are playable multiple times, each time offering a different objective. Some worlds also have Challenge Comets. Comets come in a variety of flavors:
- Cosmic Comet: A Cosmic Comic sets up a race course, where you race an AI version of yourself to grab the power star. These come in two variants. Cosmic Mario, and Cosmic Luigi.
- Daredevil Comets: A Daredevil Comet throws you into the level with only one bar of health. Your mission is to defeat the level's boss without getting hit once. Which can be challenging depending on the boss.
- Fast-foe Comets: Fast-foe Comets double the speed of all the enemies in the level, causing you to think quicker on your feet.
- Purple Comet: The Purple Comet challenges you to collect 100 purple coins in the level. These are notable as being some of the most challenging and plain annoying to complete.
In Super Mario Galaxy, you control Mario with the Nintendo Wiimote and Nunchuck. The majority of Mario's moves are copied from Super Mario 64, but he is given some new abilities to take advantage of the Wiimote's sensing. One of the most notable new attacks is the ability to spin, which allows you to hit multiple foes at once, gain extra jump height and perform more precise jumps, and is used to trigger set pieces such as Sling Stars.
Another new addition is the Star Pointer. The Star Pointer appears whenever the the Wiimote is pointing at the screen. The Star Pointer allows you to collect star bits by pointing at them on the screen. Additionally, it allows you to shoot those star bits at foes, or feed them to hungry lumas, which can unlock secret stars, new planets, and special trial galaxies.
As for how Mario controls himself, he's controlling as well as ever. My only real complaint is that things can get very confusing when you're on the underside of a planet, which causes you to get disoriented very quickly.
As a musician, you tend to pay just as much attention to the music a game has as the rest of the game itself. Super Mario Galaxy certainly has no shortage of epic music. Many classic Mario tunes return, such as the Air Ship theme from Super Mario Brothers 3. The new tunes are just as great, providing light and happy tunes, to epic sweeping and heavy musical scores. There isn't much else to say about the music, other than you should go listen to some of it yourself.
I'm sure there are people willing to fight me over this, but I don't care. The Wii is capable of amazing graphics. "But Cosmic," you might say "the graphics look so cartoony, it's nothing like (insert your favorite game here)". However, that's just it, the cartoony graphics look great. Many people have criticized the Wii, and even the GameCube, for lacking realistic graphics, but in all honesty that graphical style works well for the Wii. The bright colors of the different landscapes in the game really pop out on my TV. It's a refreshing change from all the games that seem to think the only acceptable color pallets a game can use are grey, brown, and green. Don't be one of the people who writes off a game because it looks cartoony. People did that with The Legend of Zelda Windwaker, and it was a fantastic game. Contrary to popular belief, hyper realistic graphics DO NOT make a game good. They're the icing on the cake, but they don't make it good.
Honestly I don't have much to say here. I didn't really expect the game to be anything special, but it really surprised me. Mario controls well, there are many levels and challenges to complete, and the games vibe just radiates fun and enjoyment.
Super Mario Galaxy is a great game. It was a refreshing change of pace to the FPS games I'd been playing before that. It calls back to games like Super Mario 64, which I loved as a kid, and is a platformer through and through.
Super Mario Galaxy receives an 8/10.