Super Mario Galaxy Review
Super Mario Galaxy box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Nintendo 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 12, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Sorry Mario, but the Princess is in another...ahem...planet!

by Maria Montoro

Mario has flown all over the galaxy and into our hearts this time! Why is it that I always give my highest scores to Mario games? Am I just completely biased by his charm? I'm pretty sure that it's not just that.

Super Mario Galaxy screenshot

Most Mario adventure games are simply very well made, starting with the good old Super Mario Bros. all the way to Super Mario Galaxy. There have been exceptions, of course, but overall Mario is there to bring the best possible gaming experience to our homes. I was one of those people completely disappointed by Super Mario Sunshine and not completely wowed by Super Mario 64, although I liked it. It seems like Mario had lost something when he made the transition to 3D. However, Super Paper Mario, even though it's not exactly one of the series and it's not quite three-dimensional, really had me impressed. Amazingly, Super Mario Galaxy impressed me even more!

In the first cutscene, we'll see how Mario runs to meet Princess Peach at her Castle, on the night of the Star Festival. Like most fairy tales and all of Mario's games, the fortune won't be with our heroes right from the beginning. Bunches of flying pirate-ships invade the starry skies and approach the castle. Bowser shows up with the most cavernous voice ever heard and threats everyone with building his own galaxy. Chains drop from the pirate-ships and clutch the piece of land where the castle is sitting, not only stealing the Princess but also the castle itself! His arrogance went too far this time! Mario finds himself, once again, all alone and with a huge mission in front of him: rescuing his beloved princess. Weird, uh?

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What makes this game different from all the others is the ground-breaking gameplay. It's not due to the Wii controls, like everyone may think. The concept of platforming has just been remarkably innovated, thanks to Super Mario Galaxy. Nintendo broke the mold one more time and gave birth to one of the smoothest and most fun to play platforming adventures out there. The game may be on the easy side, but the unique gameplay just flows like never before, making this a true work of art.

Super Mario Galaxy screenshot

Mario will have to explore each galaxy in order to obtain power stars. Their power feeds the Observatory Station, where Rosalina and the rest of the stars live. From there, you can view and study all the galaxies that form the Universe. With Bowser's invasion, the power stars were lost and without them the Observatory has been extremely weakened. Mario needs to help restore power by finding all the power stars. Hopefully that way he'll be able to find the Princess and save her!

Mario, eager and responsible as always, will jump from planet to planet and from galaxy to galaxy looking for power stars. Each galaxy contains one or more planets. These planets are full of small planetoids with different missions and platforming elements. There are so many of them that the fun and uniqueness never stops. You won't spend much time in each planetoid; everything will just flow; before you know it, you'll find another launch star and will be sent off to the next planetoid. Each of them has a little mission. Some will have you crush enemies and obtain a key to unlock the next launch star; others will keep you busy jumping from platform to platform collecting pieces of the launch star; sometimes you'll have to solve a small puzzle, go through pipes, be chased by bullet bills, get on top of rolling balls, inside bubbles or travel by launching yourself with the sling pod.

Super Mario Galaxy screenshot

There are coins all over the place, which restore part of Mario's life. You'll also find green and red shells, 1-Up mushrooms, and life mushrooms that temporarily increase your health meter. Star bits are the main course in Super Mario Galaxy; they are colorful shooting stars that fall from the sky and sometimes hide within bushes and flower patches. They can be fed to hungry Lumas (weak stars) or used as projectiles to knock out goombas and many other enemies found in the game.

You can pick up star bits by running over them or pointing at the screen with the Wii-mote, and then shoot them with the B button. While this can be fun, it's my least favorite part of the game. There are hundreds of them everywhere, they come out from every nook and cranny, and they fall like raindrops from the sky. I found it difficult to ignore those little shiny things, and kept wasting my time making sure I picked up every single one of them. That's the one thing that slows down the gameplay and doesn't seem very necessary. Simply reducing the amount of star bits would have solved that problem.

Screenshots / Images
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