AVAILABLE ON: Wii, Wii U (Virtual Console)
RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2007
You could say that by finally reviewing Super Mario Galaxy, I've come full circle. In the very beginning of this whole blog, in the very first review I ever published in August of 2010 (Super Mario Bros.), I slipped in a little something to bash this game. I've similarly taken advantage of a few later situations just to tell you how overrated I thought this game always was. Just recently, I've gone back to my Galaxy-bashing mode as if to say "a review of Super Mario Galaxy is coming". Just to assure you I've got nothing severe against this game just for the heck of it - or just because it's a Wii game - it's only fitting that six years after my first review, almost to the exact date, I'll finally come clean with what bothers me about this game. Also, all the stuff there is to love about Super Mario Galaxy. Yes, to be perfectly honest, this essentially direct successor to the almighty Super Mario 64 is a great game. Just not quite as amazing as the Nintendo 64 classic was upon its arrival; it suffers from occasional technical slumps and in my personal opinion, in all of its admittedly fresh appeal it often feels a bit too distant from a vintage Mario set-up.
|Oh gravity, thou art a heartless bitch.|
Super Mario 128 (...it was actually called that first)
After the odd and dare I say, humble beginnings of the game, we are thrust into a gravity-based outer space adventure that indeed plays out almost exactly like Super Mario 64 in its core. Serving as a substitute for the castle, we have the observatory - which, unlike the castle, practically shoves its few secrets in your face. The observatory is kind of like a castle in itself, with a terrace, fountain, bedroom, kitchen, and finally, engine room, all of which serve as hubs for galaxy exploration. There's also a library, in which Rosalina tells her and the observatory's origins in the form of an illustrated fairy tale; the more you advance in the game, the more chapters of this darn cute story are unlocked. The story of the game is uncharacteristically deep, and while you're still basically doing the same stuff you've been doing in these games since Super Mario Bros., there's more to it than just saving that damn damsel in distress from the most stubborn old turtle there is. As to how necessarily we needed more than that age-old core plot to keep us entertained, that's another thing completely.
|I'm-a Commander Maaariooo, and this is my favourite store on|
With the strange (and somewhat unbelonging) worlds, comes a bunch of new power-ups. Super Mario 64's health points are back, but so are Super Shrooms which were missing from that game - they now double Mario's health until his first defeat. The Fire Flower has been downgraded to a temporary perk, alongside Starman and the new Ice Flower, which serves a different purpose than in the New Super Mario Bros. series. This item allows Mario to walk on water and lava, and jump between adjacent waterfalls as if they were solid walls. The Bee power-up allows you to fly for a limited period of time, and is cancelled out if you hit water. The Boo power-up allows you to pass through mesh walls and windows. The Spring, now that's a shitlist favourite if there ever was one. This turns Mario into a Slinky, which means he moves by springing up from the ground, and if you push the A button at the exact right time, he jumps really high. You can just imagine the comfort of the controls with that one, especially in a level that is wholly built of narrow pathways. Good thing about these disappointing power-ups is that they're very gimmicky, they're basically novelties needed for one or two levels in the whole game each, with the exception of the Bee item that appears numerous times throughout the game. That's OK, it's definitely the most useful one out of all these crap items.
|An underwater boss in a 3D Mario game? ...Not quite as bad|
as it sounds.
Before I let this one off the hook and head into Super Mario Galaxy 2 - which I've heard from many reliable sources to be the real thing, suddenly... - I have to commend this game for one special feat. Super Mario Galaxy is possibly the greatest sum of musical score in a Mario game, ever. The epic, yet still somewhat goofy and quirky soundtrack by Mahito Yokota and Nintendo court magician Koji Kondo is like a cross between Star Trek, Star Wars, even The Legend of Zelda (as my friend wanted to add) and classic Mario. One couldn't even imagine a better soundtrack for an adventure among the stars starring Mario. If it's not the best collective ever, then it's right up there with Super Mario World. It's really refreshing after the disappointing and repetitive soundtrack of the New Super Mario Bros. series.
Super Mario Galaxy is a clever, fresh and stellar platformer, which occasionally stumbles on its own unusual being. The controls aren't perfect, the game starts off very slow, but as it starts picking up the pace, it very often reaches the gold standard of its spiritual predecessor. Like I said, it's still not my favourite Mario game, but I have to admit, it's the most refreshing Mario experience I've had in recent months, and it comes from a mighty fine place, with a mighty fine purpose. All about that snotty first impression all those years back hasn't been forgotten, but most of it has.