Latest Game Reviews

Super Mario Galaxy Review - Wii

8
Gameplay: 8 stars 8
Graphics: 9 stars 9
Audio: 9 stars 9
Multiplayer: 7 stars 7
Innovation: 7 stars 7
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Introduction

Super Mario Sunshine got a lot of crap, perhaps unfairly, for meddling with the formula established by Super Mario 64. It wasn’t a bad game. It wasn’t even broken. There were just a couple of bad design decisions, like setting it outside the Mushroom Kingdom and requiring the tedious collection of coins. For years, there have been whispers of a “true” sequel to Mario 64 – does Super Mario Galaxy deliver?

Gameplay

When does poor Mario ever get a break? Mario Galaxy begins with our hero wandering through a quaint, mushroomy village when Bowser launches a sudden attack and steals Princess Peach – and her castle to boot. They flee into the stars, and Mario nearly makes it on board before he is hit and floats off into space. The game proper starts when he awakens on a spherical world inhabited by three space rabbits. Or possibly space hares. I’m not sure, they never really clarify. So, you discover that the bad guys have stolen all the Grand Stars, and you need to save them. The major boss characters you encounter during the game hold said Grand Stars, and you’ll need to collect the regular old Stars in order to unlock new galaxies and reach the bosses. Simple enough, right?

Your hub world is an observatory slash rocket ship (wo)manned by a person called Rosalina. As you bring back stars, particularly the larger Grand Stars, you’ll unlock new rooms of the ship and also new galaxies within each room. Each galaxy has a different theme. You’ll find encounter small little planets that hold just one star right up to major worlds that you’ll have to revisit up to six times to collect all the booty they hold. I found myself completing each galaxy as best as possible before moving on to the next, which meant I always had more than enough stars to unlock the next world when I reached it. In the major galaxies, you’ll find three standard quests to complete, as well as a hidden star in one of said standard quests and two comet-affected challenges.

What do comets do? Well, when they orbit a galaxy, they cause the worlds below to do weird things. This translates into you having to complete an earlier task again but with a new restriction, such as a time limit, only one bar of health or extra fast enemies. It can get a little repetitive, but hey, it’s better than collecting eight red coins or one hundred yellow ones, right? During comet challenges the colour palette becomes more muted, there is a bit of a black iris around the edges of the screen and the music changes to a fast-paced tune, all of which adds to the tension and increased pressure of the harder tasks. It’s subtle, but it’s effective.

Admittedly, when you’re striving to reach 120 you will have to do some coin collecting, but unlike Super Mario Sunshine, where you were scrounging for coins in bushes, these ones are large, purple, and tend to lead ...

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