Super Mario Galaxy
The most sophisticated platformer yet and the best Wii game there is!
Super Mario Galaxy is, like earlier games before it, made with compassion and attention to every little detail. This game just breathes all the love that went into making it, in almost every way!
This game starts pretty familiar, Mario visits one of Princess Peach's parties when Bowser appears. Bowser kidnaps the princess and takes her into space, blowing Mario to the stars while doing so.
And that's on of the things that set SMG apart from earlier games: It's in space! This allowed the designers to try out new concepts that make for very innovative and interesting new levels
Each of these levels is a galaxy that consists of several celestial bodies. It's that mechanic that makes the levels so great, because it allows for an awesome concept that few games have experimented with: multiple gravity fields !
Each celestial body has it's own gravity field. This means that Mario can sometimes literally jump from one planet to another. It happens often that when you reach the edge of a platform you can simply run onto the other side, effectively making Mario run underneath a platform upside-down. Another interesting object is the pull star, simply point the Wii remote's cursor on it and press and hold the A button to activate the gravity field, pulling Mario towards it. At some points in the game, entire courses are made around this concept. Finally, an important thing to note are the launch stars. These launch Mario towards certain Planets or even whole Galaxies, and are the main means of traversing the Galaxies when you can't simply jump towards the next planet of platform.
They are operated by performing the new Spin Attack. This move is performed by simply shaking the controller. You can also use it to attack, break objects and many more things. Simple, but oh so effective!
The other thing that makes this game a masterpiece, is it's diversity. This game succeeds not only flawlessly at feeling both fresh and familiar but also does it in a balanced way. All the familiar themes are there: from Super Mario Bros.' green fields and Super Mario Bros. 3's deserts and airships to the haunted mansions of Super Mario World and the marine levels seen in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. There are also a lot of new themes such as beehive galaxies, toy galaxies and space station galaxies.
Not just the themes are diverse, the gameplay is too. While some concepts are totally unique, like the ones I mentioned earlier, familiar platform jumping is still a big part of the game, too. These area's usually have black holes pulling you towards them, preventing you form walking on the opposite side of the planet. This results in more familiar gameplay. There is still a good deal of levels that rely on more traditional gameplay such as collecting coins and defeating old-fashioned enmies such as Koopas, Bullet Bills, chain Chomps and Goombas. Even old NES-style sidescrolling sequences are in SMG. Some new power-ups have been added such as a Ghost suit (go through walls) and a Bee Suit (flying power) while being complemented with familiar powers such as Fire Mario.
The main object started in Super Mario 64 about a decade before this game is still intact. Each level has some stars to collect. All levels are collected by a hub world, a space observatory in this game. The more you have, the more levels you can access. Get 60 to open up Bowser's final lair, and defeat him, which is not too difficult, then aim for collecting all 120 stars which is the real challenge.
All the main Mario characters return, such as Peach, Luigi and Toad. There is also a new character called Rosalina, which is a beautifully designed character. She's very much like a fairy-tale being. She looks after the Lumas, star-shaped creatures who grow up into becoming new worlds.
That actually happens now and then when you feed them Star Bits. These colorful meteorite rocks are all over and can be collected by simply pointing at them with the Wii Remote. If you feed them to the Lumas they will transform into launch stars or planets so you can reach new areas. You can even shoot them to attack enemies. This makes the Wii remote actually surprisingly useful in a platform game and adds another layer of innovation.
I could go on for hours about how awesome and diverse the gameplay is, but you'd better just find it out for yourself. This game has something for everyone, both younger and more experienced gamers.
Then there's the graphics. This game really is the first game that uses the Wii's full graphical potential. It's easily the best looking Wii game with advanced lighting effects that really fit the celestial theme nicely. Each world is presented in a different colorful style that's always nice to look at. There is no sign of dropping frame-rates. 480p and 16:9 wide-screen is supported.
The music is just as great. From classic Mario tunes to a majestic waltz and from rock to dramatic classical tunes. And to make it better, it's all fully orchestrated! Everything is complemented with Mario's familiar screams and yelps and some positively old-school sound effects.
With 120 stars to collect, accomplishments that can be shared with WiiConnect24 and lots of things to see and do, you won't have to worry about the replay value here. And this game is so awesome you'll want to go trough it again, anyway.
Shaking the Wii controller around for the spin attack all the time may get slightly irritating after a while.
The Bottom Line
A game with a diversity unmatched by any platform game and as good of a balance of old and new concepts as you can possibly desire. There's something in there for young and old. One may argue that Super Mario Galaxy is a bit less revolutionary than its predecessors, but there is no denying that it's definitely the most sophisticated Mario game, as well as the most sophisticated platform game in general!
by Rensch (203) on January 10th, 2009