Some games take a little while to get into. You have to learn the controls, get a sense of how the game should be approached, and get to that point where the real fun kicks in.
Mario Galaxy is not that game.
From the moment you are given control over the virtual Italian that saved an industry, the game is running on all pistons. In the few moments when it slips, it’s back running full steam to be one of the most enjoyable games in recent memory.
The Princess is on Another Asteroid
So the story…..for whoever it is that may care, Princess Peach is kidnapped by Bowser and Mario must save her…in space, with the help of a new character named Rosalina who is trying to fix her spaceship with power stars which will allow Mario to save the day. Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense.
All you need to care about is that the space concept allows the game to string together platforming levels of such stunning variety so that no one level feels redundant. Gone is the practice of revisiting tasks in increasingly difficult situations throughout the game. Gone is the need to constantly collect red coins. What has returned is the skill-based use of your environment that we have not experienced since the days of the Super Nintendo.
The game controls better than any of the pervious 3D Mario’s, in large part due to the fact that when Mario lands, he lands solid (there are a few surfaces where he does skid). This one little nuance is central to the ease of controlling the character and providing a visceral satisfaction that has been absent for far too long. The game does utilize the motion sensitivity of the controller but in sparing ways. The Wiimote allows you to collect star bits, a new form of currency, and shaking it slightly releases a spin attack which is a wonderfully thought out addition to Mario’s move set. The game plays so many perspective games that perfectly jumping on enemies can prove challenging, this is a nice way to mitigate the frustration.
All the Right Moves
But good controls are nothing without fun places to use them. This is where Galaxy shines so brightly. All the way through to the end I found myself stunned at the creativity and inventiveness in each level, some feel more traditional exploration based, some are all skill, others present mind-bending perspective shifts that keep you on your toes and provide immense satisfaction upon completion. I would like to name some favorites, but really there aren’t any, they are all that good.
With one exception; swimming. It still doesn’t work well. To be fair, it does work better here than in Mario and Banjo Kazooie’s past, but it’s the only element that feels clunky. Without the aid of a motorized turtle shell delicately maneuvering Mario to a coin, a star or air bubble can be deeply frustrating. Even with reptilian assistance, precision is beyond the controls.
Thankfully swimming levels are few and far between because every other aspect of this game is top notch and polished. Experienced gamers will find deep challenges in the game but for those new to gaming via the Wii, the game won’t pose insurmountable challenges.
He’s the Best for a Reason
Mario Galaxy is one of those charming, perfect achievements that remind you why Nintendo saved our pastime in 1985 and has reinvigorated it in 2007 with the Wii and the best game made yet for the system. Hell, this is better than Super Mario 64, not as revolutionary, but a better game. Do yourself a favor, play it and smile.
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