Super Mario Galaxy Reader Review
This Mario game is one of the most inventive Nintendo games I've ever played and it has more depth in its game play than if you take several games and put them together. It's also a long game, even though the game hasn't been too difficult it has put up a challenge at times (mostly in the comet challenges) and then I haven't touched any of the tricky purple stars yet.
The story is never a big thing in a Mario game and there's a good reason for that, a story raises the entry level investment into a game. You'd have to invest a lot more time into it to play a bit. The 'proper' Mario games have always been about simple contained levels with clear goals and some hidden secrets. Mario Galaxy does not change this basic formula as it has proven successful in the past and that's why it's so bloody good. But I was surprised to see quite a fitting and nice ending to this.
So bloody good?
SMG is so bloody good because they base their entire game around a bunch of different game modes and gravity based platforming. Then they let their designers loose to create chunks and chunks of these challenges and then mix them together in a random order to make you always see something fresh and always have to think a bit differently to solve a level.
This is also the first Nintendo game where I've been really impressed with the technology and how well it works with the game play. SMG is a completely seamless experience, you'll move from galaxy to galaxy without a hitch apart from some galaxy selection screens and I've got a feeling they are probably hiding the loading there. But the really impressive part of the game is in the physics, the camera and the almost always intuitive controls. For a game where you'll be walking upside down, on the walls, on the roof, clinging to walls and all manners of crazy things there is bound to some slight confusion to the player and yes it does happen but it's almost always just because you haven't gotten used to the new gravity or perspective.
But, there are a few problems and it's quite surprising to see where the problems lie. The biggest problem I had with it was actually with the camera in a mode where they should have the most experience (the standard camera that they used in mario sunshine and mario 64) and that is because now with the Wii controller they don't have two analogue controllers and they don't allow you to move the camera in any way apart from certain occasions when they think you may want to recenter it or turn it 30/45 degrees with the dpad. The problem here is quite obvious, you don't have free control over the camera and if the game decides to go automatic and turn slightly on a corner when you're not expecting you might jump off the edge or jump and miss the star on speed challenge (grr). Being able to rotate on the dpad with the same finger you use to jump is not good enough. And also, the same problem occurs while swimming as the camera there also requires that you have some manual control and again you might suffer.
Then there's the question if the game really required a Wii-mote at all, they use the Wii-mote tilting and the Wii aiming for various tasks. For the rolling ball challenges it gives the challenge a control system that better mimics the actual rolling controls you would expect but it comes at a cost of being more difficult to control. The other important tilt mechanic they use is in a shake and that is used as the basic attack and spin in the air action and that is quite natural but something that could just as easily have been mapped to a button. But then there is the Wii aiming that they use for various things like the Slingpods that you pull to launch in a direction, the basic collection of jewels that you do by pointing at them and then they use the aiming for attracting towards blue stars and building up momentum. These things work well and add to the game play and make it different from other platformers. They could have applied the tilting to more functions like the flying and swimming but I'm glad they didn't as the game is more intuitive if all the movement controls are always on the analogue.
Then graphically the game is mostly great, the characters, the animations and effects all work well and the art style of everything is beautiful. But there is a big problem that you'll notice and that lies in the texturing on the environment that's always simplistic and sometimes quite bad, there is also no shadows cast from the environment and that is the one technical limitation of the game that makes the game play suffer a bit as you cannot judge your shadow in relation to other things (but Nintendo do give dynamic objects shadows). The user interface design is all in the very functional and cute fisher price wii style and they solidify the feel that the game and the Wii is for kids. But I also believe that this is exactly the style Nintendo should go for with all the games they make for the Wii, I even think they should have used the style from Zelda Wind Waker instead of the 'darker' style of Twilight Princess.
All the negatives are minor and do not matter, the game is a fresh breeze to play all the way. There are so many great challenges and such a fun basic mechanic that you'll always enjoy it. Even though you might swear at times you'll always be ready to have another go.
More like this Nintendo.
10 / 10