-Kris “Kaz” Sturm
Okay, I will admit that I’m ashamed to see that there was NOTHING on this on our site. Seriously, I think it’s a load of bollocks. I mean, how the hell do you not talk about one of the biggest and most popular franchises in video gaming history? “But what if you don’t have a Wii?” NO. FUCK YOU, LOGIC. Thankfully, I have one and after plopping some cash down, got my hands on a copy to cover.
To start off, we see Mario and as he makes his way to Princess Peach’s castle (giving an homage to the most popularized design of her home, ala Super Mario 64) as all the Toads celebrate while stars fall from the sky and JESUS CHRIST THE WIIMOTE SENSOR ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING? As you notice these stars flying at the Toads’ heads, the Wiimote can be pointed at these little Star Bits and used for collection and as we learn later on, can be used to fire these same bits at Mario’s enemies to stun them or to fuel hungry stars. As Mario makes his way to the castle, sure e-fucking-nough, Bowser comes in to wreck everyone’s shit and decides to save himself the trouble of personally abducting the Princess and instead takes her whole castle, flies away and fires his orbital friendship cannon at the planet, blowing it to pieces. “But hey, if the planet was destroyed, how come Mario was perfectly fine floating in space and lands on small planets and is able to walk on them like we would on Earth? And how could anything breathe on these small planets?” SHUT UP LOGIC. THIS IS MARIO, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO MAKE ANY SENSE.
Super Mario Galaxy works on the imagination and lets Mario adventure in another open venue, using the territory of space and the ability to give the mind an opportunity to exercise as the player is not given the opportunity to let the camera focus over Mario, but rather we’re given the design of these planetary formations and letting the environment control what it is what we see. Everything from walking around on the inside of a spheric cube or roaming around on a grassy, bee inhabited planetary structure is given the chance to expand the mind and let the player have fun. Oh and lest I forget, Mario’s ability to gain new powers has made a comeback while pushing the boundaries of creativity. “Wait, Mario can get stuff like a Bee Suit that makes him fly and hang onto honeyed walls and can turn into a Boo? Doesn’t this seem a bit ridiculous?” I SWEAR TO GOD LOGIC, ONE MORE PEEP OUT OF YOU AND I’M FEEDING YOU TO CTHULHU.
I do have a big complaint regarding the game, however. The one time logic and I would agree on an issue in regards to Mario Galaxy is fact that it’s not actually wide and expansive game unlike what the title would suggest. While one may assume that with this being a “galaxy” of exploration, the levels are excessively linear. The player selects a level and what star they want to work for and find themselves going through the various platforming elements that brings that familiar, almost signature style to the game we’ve grown to love… but handled in a very linear fashion. If said as bluntly as possible, it’s presented as “pick what star you want to get and go for only that one.”
“But hey, doesn’t this work better to gamers who want linear gameplay?” *sigh* I will give you that one, Logic (because I’m too tired to put up with your shit anymore), but I still feel that by presenting it in the manner they had, it felt more limited than it could’ve been.
As older gamers such as myself can tell, the charm and openness that came in Super Mario 64 is lost to this game as the player is steered towards the end goal. This same notion applied, Mario is left in a restricted environment and can only go see different areas after having snagged more stars. This, again, was something (important) dropped from the traditional 64 dynamic which originally let Mario go anywhere in the environments presented and could go for any star (selected or not), allowing a change in their own scenery on any given whim.
Speaking of addressing monotony, I’ll make my way back to the former point, level design. As mentioned before, it’s the environment that plays a larger role in shaping and designing how the player gets to fully enjoy themselves. I actually found myself enjoying how I was more at the mercy of the environment and needed to learn how to adapt with the situation rather than take matters into my own hands. There are several perils introduced such as black holes, minibosses and quite the diminished health bar (three hits and you’re gone, unless you happen to get a power mushroom) but by introducing these and different approaches to handle oneself, it does offer the player a chance to see things a bit differently in a tried but true game design.
All in all, Mario Galaxy set itself above and beyond preconceived notions (I only thought it would be an -alright- game to be fair) and thankfully unlike the newest Mario game to come out to the market, there isn’t a tail to be found on our Italian plumber or on Goombas… or on Bowser… or anyone else who doesn’t need a Goddamn tail. The whole game provided quite an adventure to play through and I thoroughly enjoyed the new approach that Mario took in his latest hostage rescue mission. The fact that a sequel came out soon after opening up the world even further and widened the territory that Mario could roam through helped to set the standard for future Mario installments. It took an illogical premise and sent the player through a round of fun that really never seems to get old. With only one minor issue to complain about, the game never actually came short on anything.
I was thoroughly impressed with the overall design and almost yearned for more from Nintendo; hoping that the game lasted longer than it did. Now don’t misquote me, I don’t think Mario Galaxy was short at all, but through my desire for more of a sort of sandbox feel, I felt as though they short-changed themselves by leaving things in the manner they presented the game. Other than that, the final product was fluid, immersive and fun to play; a solid game.
Reviewed by Kris “Kaz” Sturm
Reviewer Rating : 4.75/5