Developer(s) – Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Director – Yoshiaki Koizumi
Producer(s) – Takao Shimizu & Shigeru Miyamoto
PEGI – 3
The official 3D platformer in the series since Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube, Super Mario Galaxy presented players with the most innovative Mario game since the days of the Nintendo 64, and has since become a cult classic, and is considered a must-have game for anyone who owns a Wii. It is indeed a very unique game, and makes for one of the better titles on the Wii overall, even at the time of its release, I did have one or two issues with it, which prevented me being able to personally consider it to be one of the best Mario games of all time.
Graphics – 9/10
The conceptual design of Super Mario Galaxy is also unlike any other Mario game to have ever been developed prior, introducing players to a world made up of standalone galaxies and traversable planets. There is also a wide variety of new characters and setting, which have since become stables of the series, appearing in the likes of Mario Karts 7 and 8. On top of that, there is also extremely effective use of lighting and textural detail; indeed, its factors like that, which makes the final cutscene one of the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen in any video game in general.
Gameplay – 7.5/10
Playing out very similarly to Super Mario 64, but going unanimously beyond the quality of Super Mario Sunshine, it involves simply traversing each stage of the game to collect as many stars as possible, and thereby ultimately reaching the last boss. There are a good few stars to have to collect with the added incentive of being able to play as Luigi once this is done, and then being given additional objectives afterwards. There is also a ton of new power-ups for players to take advantage of in order to progress through the game, such as the ability to transform into a bee, or even one of the boos.
Controls – 9.5/10
Normally, when video games try to incorporate a new or unique control scheme, it usually becomes a question of trial error, such as in Lair or Sunset Overdrive. But it’s surprising to see how little issues there are in Super Mario Galaxy is, considering how different and off-the-wall it is compared to not only other Mario games before it, but other video games in general. There are one or two issues regarding the camera angle, but they don’t become anywhere near enough of a problem to render the game unplayable by any means.
Lifespan – 6/10
The one thing I was disappointed by, however, was the game’s lifespan. To do everything will take an average of roughly 20 hours, which taking into account things like larger level designs than Super Mario 64 and more to play for than in Super Mario Sunshine, seems that evermore underwhelming. It wasn’t until three years later when every single issue I had with this game was addressed in the sequel, including lifespan, but I don’t think the game should lose out on too many marks, since it does last considerably longer than many other mainstream releases.
Storyline – 7/10
Although the story follows the same basic premise as most other Mario games (Mario must save Peach from Bowser and job done), it does have a few things differentiating it from other Mario games. The basis of the game’s story involves Mario having to travel through outer space through various portals within an observatory occupied by new character Rosalina and her companions, the Lumas; a race of people resembling stars. It makes for settings and characters very different from anything else seen in either most Mario or most other Nintendo games for that matter, and the fact that the basic objective remains the same also remains forgivable as well.
Originality – 9/10
Super Mario Galaxy is undoubtedly one of the most unique games on the Wii, and one of the most unique titles of the seventh generation in general. Introducing gameplay mechanics that gamers may have thought couldn’t possibly work otherwise, it was popular enough to spawn a second game, and did extremely well to expand on the Super Mario mythos even further. It could be argued that a lot of the ideas in this game stemmed from the cancelled Sega Saturn game Sonic Xtreme, but I think this game would have been more impressive if the latter had been released anyway, since it takes advantage of an entirely new control scheme and way of playing games.
In summation, Super Mario Galaxy is indeed a must-have for Nintendo Wii owners, and one of the better Mario titles in recent years. Though the sequel would arrive some time later and blow this game out of the water in my opinion, this was an extremely good starting point, and remains something that players come back to again and again.