Super Mario Galaxy Wii Review

So, where do you start with a game like Super Mario Galaxy? A game so full of ideas that a simple few thousand words is going to inevitably miss a few out. A few thousand words that may not even convey how truly brilliant the ideas are, and how in a year full of great games, Mario Galaxy comes out on top.

Perhaps it’d be best to start with the gameplay. The classic “collect the stars” formula used from Mario 64 onwards is still present. You go from world to world, completing objectives and winning stars. More stars will allow you to unlock more stars, with the further you get into the game, the harder winning the stars is going to get.

Now, the absolute genius behind Galaxy is, like all good Mario games, the controls. It’s a perfect blend of hardware and software, working together to ensure that Mario has a perfect feeling of weight and inertia, while the controls are exactly where you would expect them to be. There are no complex button combinations or unnecessary waggling, which means once you know the basics you can spend the entire game mastering them.

The offshoot of having such excellent controls is that you instantly have all the tools to tackle any situation the game throws at you, which means the developers are free to create a whole manner of huge play areas to throw Mario around. You rarely find yourself doing the same thing twice and you never find yourself not having fun. Flying around while dressed as a bee, surfing on the back of a stingray or just bounding your way through a ruthlessly hard platforming section, it is like the world’s top game designers have let their imaginations run wild all over Super Mario Galaxy and that, my friends, is because they have.

Who was it who said that Wii games can’t keep up, graphically, in this HD era? Come on, just put up your hand now and nothing more will be said about it. Sure, it may not be as technically impressive as say, Gears Of War, but Galaxy’s vibrant colours and spherical worlds are far, far more beautiful. Beautiful in the same way OutRun 2 is, compared to say, Forza Motorsport. Each stage has its own unique look and individual traits, keeping things visually interesting.

Perhaps the most impressive part is the fact that while you are blasting Mario around the solar system, showing a frankly blatant disregard for the rules of gravity, the camera always copes. Apparently, the D-Pad can be used to adjust the camera left and right, but to be honest I’ve never actually had to use it so I can’t actually be sure! On the rare occasion you need to flip the camera behind Mario, a quick jab of the C button will fix all your problems.

There is also a rudimentary multiplayer mode, where a second player can control a cursor with the Wiimote, helping Mario pick up items and take out a few enemies for him. It’s by no means a full co-op adventure, but a wonderful distraction for a younger member of the family who wants to have a go, but will maybe find controlling Mario in some of the harder levels a bit much. It will also shut them up, leaving you free to hog the Wii until you’ve uncovered every part of this wonderful game.

2007 has been one of the best ever years for gaming, but also one where video games have begun to chase cinema harder than ever before, resulting in a few companies creating “games” that are little more than glorified cutscenes with some generic gameplay tacked on, released in the vain hope that someone will maybe option the movie rights for their fledgling franchise. Super Mario Galaxy couldn’t be any further from this. It has taken Nintendo over ten years to better the classic Mario 64, but with Galaxy, they have finally done it. Most developers would be happy with just mastering a type of game, but here you have what is easily the best platform game you will ever play whilst being so unique and full of creativity. This is Nintendo’s defining statement – when Reggie was banging on about “entire families playing games”, this is what he is talking about. A fully featured video game, not just a half-assed collection of minigames, that anyone can enjoy, young or old.

Games like this are what gaming is all about. You simply have to play Super Mario Galaxy. 10/10? You’d better believe it.

10 out of 10
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