Super Mario Galaxy Reader Review
So this is it: probably the most anticipated Wii game this side of Twilight princess and its touched down at last.It goes without saying that anybody who is a fan Nintendo's mustachioed mascot needs this game but there is absolutely no excuse for any Wii owner not to experience Mario's latest either. Why? Because Galaxy is superb, an absolute masterpiece of platform gaming that reminds us all that amongst a relentless tide of repetetive car modding, crime sim and sports offerings, the platforming genre is still alive and kicking - or wall kicking in Mario's case. Perhaps it won't revolutionise in the way that Mario 64 did but it does give the decidedly stale genre a big boot up the backside and sets the bar higher for other developers.
This is most noticeable in the level design. Set largely in space - as the game title ever-so-slightly hints at - there are new elements of play to consider. Spherical planets can be walked all teh way around for instance and gravity plays a big part in the exploration of levels. Say you have cpvered every inch of a planet and there is nowhere to go. What can you do? Well if there is another planet close by, you can jump and be pulled toward it by its gravity. This is just a tiny example of the clever new angle on exploration which allows for some truly inspired ideas and set pieces. The actual design of these worlds is phenomanal and whether its the obligatory staples of lava and ice worlds or beautiful seaside worlds with lush water lapping at the sand, you'll be completely immersed and unable toput down the controller. Its all rendered in amazing graphics that are both crisp and detailed, putting and end to fears about the Wii's capability in this department just as Metroid Prime 3 did. There's simply no excuse for lacklustre Wii visuals anymore.
The sound is equally impressive with the new orchestral style of music fitting the game like a glove, sucking the player in. Catchy tunes both familiar and new accompany the player throughout the game and there are some truly epic areas of the soundtrack that give levels a momentous feel; this is especially true when it comes to the boss battles, Bowser showdowns standing out as the best examples.
Those fearing that an overuse of wiggly waggly controller nonsense might ruin what is shaping up to be an incredible package needn't worry. Aside from when the remote's motion sensing capabilities arerequired in special challenge galaxies, the only time you will need them is to perform a spin-attack by simply flicking the remote or nunchuck upward. Movement is controlled via the analogue stick as you would expect while 'A' on the remote makes Mario jump. The 'Z' button is used for long jumps and back flips while the 'B' trigger is utilised for shooting star pieces to stun enemies. Its incredibly easy to get the hang of and allows you to get straight into the game without trying to get your head around an overly complex control scheme as other games have been guilty of.
Thats not to suggest that the gameplay has been dumbed down in any way because it hasn't. At its core, Galaxy remains challenging - moreso in the latter stages - but never to the point of frustraion. The best part is that it never becomes a chore to retry something and successfully grabbing another power star is always a reward in itself. There's plenty to do too with a mix of 'normal' missions, challenges that put a spin on previously visited levels and some galaxies that resemble enjoyable mini games. These latter challenges actually require some skill to complete in some cases but perseverence will see you through and you'll be rewarded with another power star for your collection.
Collecting them all is no easy task but there's always incentive to carry on and whether you only boot the game up for a few minutes or whether you're there for hours, you're sure to find a compelling and refreshing experience that deserves to go down as a masterpiece in gaming. So do yourself a favour and play this instead of the mediocre collect em' ups that come around year upon year. You will not be disappointed.
10 / 10