Super Mario Galaxy for Wii
Mario fans, will find themselves in familiar territory, Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, who rather than just carry the princess off has taken her entire castle into the stars. Mario is knocked off onto a nearby planet, but soon encounters Rosalina who lives on an observatory that can travel through space. The observatory doesn’t have enough power though and it’s up to Mario to travel to different galaxies in order to recover enough Power Stars to get the thing working again.
The controls for Galaxy are simple, the nunchuk is used for moving Mario, where as the Wiimote’s “A” is used for jumping. Aiming the Wiimote at the screen moves a little star shaped pointer across that can collect “star bits”, these are used as a currency and can also be launched at enemies with the “B” button, also Mario can perform a spin attack by shaking the Wiimote which stuns enemies. Mario still retains all his jumping abilities from 64 and Sunshine, and can still despatch enemies by jumping on their heads. Mario is only capable of taking 3 hits before dying and coins, which replenish health, have become extremely rare, appearing if you jump on an enemy, whereas if you stun them first you’ll get some star Image 1 of 4. Click to enlarge
Image 1 of 4. Click to enlarge
There are over 30 different galaxies to explore, most of which are completely different from one another. Many contain multiple stars, others only one but these are often more challenging. Like Mario 64 a hint on how to get the star is in the title, and a quick hint is shown just before you start the level. The game feels quite easy at first with the first lot of stars being rather simple to obtain. The game gets harder with the inclusion of “Comets” which affect levels in different ways. Some make you perform the level in a set amount of time, some you have to race a copy of yourself and others have you fight a boss with only 1 health point. These add an extra depth to the levels which generally are quite short. There are also special and hidden stars to look out for.
In the “Good Egg Galaxy” one of the first playable levels you start on a small platform, with grass and a small house, with nowhere to go. Following the path leads you to the edge of the platform, where usually you’d fall of and die, but not in Galaxy. The camera flips and your on the other side of the platform which contains a small tower, the path leads vertically up the tower, follow it and Mario walks straight up the wall to the leap star the sends him to another, and different planet in the same level. It takes some getting used to at first, and it isn’t every platform which Mario can do this, but the feeling is amazing. More so when you suddenly Image 2 of 4. Click to enlarge
Image 2 of 4. Click to enlarge
The levels all look beautiful with their own distinct flavour, true there are a couple of levels that share a similar theme (a couple of bee based levels and a few levels involving swimming underwater). But from the gigantic “Battle Rock Galaxy” which explodes as Mario flies out of it, to the toy based galaxy which has a small toy robot as a planet and a bunch of old 8-bit Mario’s decorating the sky. It even has some fantastic cinematic sequences, like when Princess Peach is kidnapped at the start of the game. It all looks great and because the Wii pulls it off without a hitch, or nearly any loading times, you begin to wonder if perhaps it is capable than much more.
There are problems though; even with the inclusion of the special comets the game is rather easy it won’t take seasoned gamers long to get the 60 of 120 stars needed to see the game’s ending. Yet this does make the game extremely accessible to pretty much anybody from any age group, and casual and generally non-gamers. Mario’s transformations seem tacked on for the sake of it, the box mentions “Bee”, “Boo” and “Fire Mario”, and while there are a few more, they don’t appear in more than one or two levels each. The 2 player “co-op” mode is also a bit of a sham, player Image 3 of 4. Click to enlarge
Image 3 of 4. Click to enlarge
Super Mario Bros. on NES used the D-pad and both the controller’s buttons (one for jumping and the other for shooting fireballs); the N64’s Mario 64 showed the power of the analogue stick, but Galaxy just doesn’t use the Wiimote to the best of its ability. If it wasn’t for the pointing for “Star Bits” and “Pull Stars”, both of which feel unnecessary, and the shaking for attacks etc. then Galaxy would easily have worked on a console without the Wiimote which is really disappointing for Nintendo’s mascot.
Still finding bad things to say about the game is a real struggle after playing it for even a couple of hours. Mario Galaxy is extremely fun, a well written and well realised game. It’s hard not to smile each time you collect a star and even harder when a certain character makes a special cameo appearance. It’s a great game and Nintendo certainly know what they are doing, Galaxy is already heading for classic status like many other Mario games before it.
But, some of you may ask, is it better than Super Mario 64? Well it’s really hard to say Galaxy while extremely similar in many respects, plays like something not of this world!
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