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Review - Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Started by Nightcrawler, November 02, 2014, 04:32:08 PM

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Super Mario Galaxy

Before now, I hadn't played through and beaten a Mario game since Super Mario World/Allstars. I was initially turned off by Super Mario 64 when it came out, was lousy at 3D platformers, and I didn't think they were as good as their 2D counterparts. Enough years have passed, and I decided to play Super Mario Galaxy to see what all the buzz had been about with innovations in Mario games. After I completed Super Mario Galaxy, I learned many of the things found in the game actually originated with Super Mario 64. So, I decided to revisit Super Mario 64 after Galaxy, which I will write about in another post.


Super Mario Galaxy was a double edged sword with 'innovations'. First, there were indeed plenty of refinements from its Mario 64 roots. Most concepts, characters, and platforming techniques have been refined since their N64 origins. Thank goodness the camera control also improved! There were of course new innovations with the gravity mechanics, which was main feature of this game. They also added a number of new gameplay mechanics utilizing the motion controls of the Wii such as slingshots and bubble blowing.

However, many of those positives were cancelled out with negative 'innovations', especially in the controls department. For years Mario has been jumping and firing fireballs with buttons perfectly fine. Naturally the Nintendo of today, full of cheap gimmicks, would mess it all up by requiring WAGGLING to jump high, WAGGLING to shoot fireballs, and WAGGLING to practically do anything other than a run and single jump. Not only was this a poor use of motion controls, it was just a poor control scheme in general. The icing on the controls crap cake for me was waggling was literally painful for me with my medical condition (where normal button based control schemes are tolerable). So, the whole control scheme made me angry.

Some of the gravity innovations and puzzles were interesting and fun, while a few were absolutely maddening. The upside down sand castle that was filling with sand comes to mind. The camera was fixed in an upside down position, could not be moved, and all your controls were backwards. I must have died near 30 times on that level and nearly quit. I couldn't stand being forced to play that with backwards controls AND upside down concrete camera. That just doesn't work for me.


I was a bit happy to see some advancement in the story department in a Mario game, but the story was totally out there and too crazy for me, especially Rosalina's back story. Oh well, I know you don't need a good or coherent story for a platformer anyway. However, I think it would have been nice and enhanced the game a bit more. I couldn't help but feel out of the appropriate age bracket the story was aiming for, even when channeling the child within...


The music was very nice. All tracks were orchestrated with different themes to match with each galaxy. Some of them were stand-out and catchy, while none of them were bad. Typically games with orchestrated music tend to be atmospheric and not offer much in the melody department, but this game wasn't like that. They accomplished the best of both worlds here, which is impressive.


Aside from my few maddening complaints, the overall game was decent. I had enough fun to collect enough stars to beat the game. I passed on all of the extra stars that would do nothing but frustrate me and not be fun! I would have enjoyed it much more if the controls weren't literally so painful. They really put a big damper on the experience for me and I will not be visiting Super Mario Galaxy 2 as a result.

People generally say the difficulty level was easy for this game. I guess I have only marginally improved at 3D platformers over the years. I found it mostly continuously challenging for me. I only passed maybe half the stages without multiple attempts. A handful of stages took excessive tries. - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.

Lorenzo Gioco

Very decent review! Nice to read such interesting thing!


3D Mario game is pretty much a separate genre than 2D Mario.
3D Mario I believe is usually about exploration, while 2D Mario is about platforming to reach the goal point.

I guess Super Mario 3D World was the one time they broke that tradition?
They made a 3D game where the reach-the-goal platforming was the focus.

Though I remember this Mario fan game called Super Mario Bros. X (which I recall seeming to have a big mod scene back then, at least) was a 2D game that did support both kinds of goals.