Super Mario Galaxy ReviewRush Montgomery III
It was once said that the character Mario is more recognizable that Mickey Mouse. It's no wonder since the little Italian plumber stereotype has appeared in dozens and dozens of games on every Nintendo system released (and before). Super Mario Bros. introduced us to the platform game. Super Mario 64 welcomed us to the realm of 3D console gaming. Super Mario Galaxy is the latest console game to feature Mario as the hero, and it's the next big thing - the next step up in raising the bar for what a great Mario game is all about.
The game begins with a celebration in the Mushroom Kingdom as a comet passes over, raining down stars and stardust. During this celebration, the evil King Bowser attacks the kingdom to run away with Princess Peach (as usual!). As Mario dashes to the rescue, Bowser uses devices to attach onto Peach's Castle and fly away. Mario makes a last desperate attempt to rescue the Princess but is blasted away from Peach's floating castle and lands on a strange moon above the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario then sets off on an adventure that spans the depths of space, in hopes of rescuing his beloved (he does love her - right?) Princess Peach.
Super Mario Galaxy plays exactly like you would hope a Mario game would. The controls are extremely intuitive, all the animations are fluid, and everything is interactive. I kind of see Super Mario Galaxy as a cleaner, more detailed version of Super Mario Sunshine (or SMB64 for that matter) if you took the wide open landscapes and bent them around a sphere. The planet or moon surfaces you run across are fairly small in size, so the gameplay is somewhat akin to a mouse running around the surface of a basketball. Gravity and other Mario tricks are employed to move from surface to surface. Each Mario game seems to be working with some gimmicky element (Luigi's Mansion with air, Super Mario Sunshine with water, now Super Mario Galaxy with gravity) and this game is no different. That's to say, it uses this gimmicky element in the most exciting ways possible.
Not all the levels of this game are the same "run around a moon" objective. There is plenty of variation of the worlds, and all of them are absolutely amazing. There are even a few "simulated 2D" levels thrown into the mix. There are dust worlds, ice worlds, lava worlds... everything you've come to know and love about the world system of Super Mario games. Powerups are also a major highlight of any successful Mario game and this game has tons. I don't want to go into the realm of spoilers, but I think it's safe to say that there is a Fire Mario, and I'm sure by now everyone has heard about Bee Mario, which gives Mario limited flight capability. The ultimate goal of Super Mario Galaxy is to collect stars by completing various "quests". This is accomplished just as it was in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, and - as before - there are 120 stars. Although it only takes 60 stars to confront and (hopefully) beat Bowser, the additional 60 stars are there to lengthen replay value and unlock secrets to make the game more interesting.
If you don't own Super Mario Galaxy, stop reading now and go buy it. If you don't have a Nintendo Wii, save up and buy one and make sure you get Super Mario Galaxy at the same time. Nintendo always uses a Mario game to show off the functions of their new systems and this game is no exception. This is the Nintendo Wii game that you'll want to buy to show off the Wii to all your friends. It not only capitalizes on the myriad of cool functions of the Wii, it's also a great game to boot.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.