“It’s a me! Mario!” Those are four words that can bring a smile to anyone’s face. Mario is one of the biggest icons in gaming, and i challenge you to find a single gamer who doesn’t know who he is. From the moment we completed Super Mario 64 we wanted more. Super Mario Sunshine just couldn’t satisfy our thirst for Mario platforming.
But in 2007 Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy, and it was out of this world.
To Nintendo, beating Super Mario 64 must of seemed like an impossible task, and in some ways it was. Nostalgia doubles the effect the game has, and at the time it was revolutionary. There was no 3D platformer quite like it. Remember those sections in Mario Sunshine where you were stripped of F.L.U.D.D and forced to platform across colourful blocks, well we all wanted a Mario game like that. That’s exactly what Nintendo have given us.
I’m not sure if I should explain the story or just leave you to guess. Once again Bowser has captured Princess Peach and Mario goes after them, into space. Once in space he must collect a certain number of stars, 60 to be precise, to rescue the Princess and save the day. This game also introduces Rosalina, with her travelling space station, who helps Mario on his quest by giving him a place to sleep and free biscuits. Rosalina is a “watcher of the stars”, which in common day terms means pillock. I found her quite annoying and she has this soppy story about stars. It’s always about stars with her.
First and foremost, the level design in Galaxy is jaw dropping. The sheer amount of variety is ridiculous, you have fire levels, ice levels, ghost levels, water levels, cake levels and even toy levels. Every single level in the game will bring you a different experience and there is no possible way that you could get bored. All the planets, enemies and backdrops look fantastic. This is without a doubt one of the best looking games on the Wii, Mario never looked so good. One outstanding piece from the game that sticks in my mind is the hair on a giant queen bee in one of the earlier levels, you can see every hair on her body and it’s as if you could reach out and touch it. People who say the Wii can’t produce fantastic visuals are dead wrong.
When i first thought about playing a Mario game using the Wii-mote i never thought it would work, i was so convinced they’d force the motion sensor into it, potentially ruining the game. Luckily enough they didn’t, the game uses standard Mario controls, A to just and the Analogue-Stick to run around. The only motion sensing function that actually changes the gameplay is the spin attack, which is performed by waggling the Wii-mote. Waggling the Remote so often can be annoying, and sometimes painful, but it’s not as bad as it seems.
The game plays almost identically to Mario 64, which is fantastic. Except for the gravity changes, the fact you’re running around on tiny planets means you can run all the way around the sphere without falling off, and jumping too close to another planet will result in you being pulled onto it by its gravitational pull. This all sounds well and good but the camera angles can often get stuck an an awkward degree, leading to much fumbling with the Wii-mote trying to change it.
Just as you’d expect with a Mario game, the soundtrack is fantastic. With old and new Mario tunes being played you’ll be constantly smiling. Each level has different music so you get a taste for each world, and in game sound effects are just as fantastic. All the coin noises and jump sounds are back, and all the memories will come flooding back to you. There are certain items in the game that produce a string of rainbow music notes, run along these in order and you’ll get a little old school Mario tune, when you reach the end you’ll be presented with a 1-UP Mushroom. It’s little things like this that give the Mario games such style.
The boss battles in Galaxy are just as epic as any of Mario’s previous titles, fleeing from a giant Piranha Plant on a tiny planet can’t be described, it has to be experienced. Running round and round till you come up with a strategy adds a sense of urgency, as you have nowhere to go. Bowser is as big and bad as always, but while the boss battles look and feel epic, most can be completed in exactly the same way, knocking a projectile back at them. Even Bowser is a lot easier to defeat than he should be.
Adding further variety are the prankster comets, which add special conditions to your missions to collect Stars, such as being unable to take any damage, or a time limit. These can be challenging and are alot more difficult than the regular Power Stars. Even though you only need 60 Stars to complete the game and rescue the Princess, there are 120 Stars in total. After collecting all of these you can play through the game a second time as Luigi. Everyone loves Luigi.
Super Mario Galaxy introduces a bag full of new Mario power ups: Bee Mario, this allows you to fly through the air for a period of time, lets you stick to certain walls and lets you walk on clouds. However the suit vanishes if you touch water. Boo Mario, allows you to levitate, turn invisible and phase through walls at will. Ice Mario, allows you to walk on water as ice forms under your feet, you can also freeze your enemies. Spring Mario, this allows you to bounce and jump to normally inaccessible areas, however Spring Mario can be very difficult to control. Along with these the Star and Fire Flower also make a triumphant return.
Mario’s health consists of a 3 bar meter, which can be expanded to 6 bars on collecting a Power Mushroom. Not only does Mario collect coins but he also collects star bits, which can be used as weapons by shooting them with the B button, or you can feed them to Lumas (Stars), in exchange for items or new galaxies. You will receive an extra life by collecting 50 Star Bits, or 50 Coins in a level. Galaxy also tries to implement multiplayer, one person controls Mario while the other can freeze enemies and shoot star bits with the Wii-remote. The idea is that one plays Mario while the other assists, the idea sounds great in theory but in practice it can be very boring for player 2.
Galaxy is nothing short of a masterpiece, and anyone else who’s played it will agree. Next to Super Mario 64 it stands up as one of the best Mario games of all time. It’s by far one of the best looking, and most enjoyable games on the Wii. If you own a Wii, Galaxy is a must have, it’s going to go down as one of the great classic games of all time. Own it, complete it, play it all over again. If you own one game on the Wii, make it this one. Mario fans will not be disappointed.
One of the best looking games on the Wii.
|How does our scoring system work?|
Without the waggle and camera issues, this would be a 10.
Superb music and sound effects, would you expect anything less?
With 120 stars and the option to play as Luigi, this game will last you a while.
If you have a Wii, you have to own this game.