Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Super Mario Galaxy

Hello, Space Monkees!

Thanks to what I imagine had to be a horrible clerical error at the North Pole, I somehow managed to end up on the "Nice List" this Christmas, and so Santa Claus has rewarded me with a shiny new Wii!  And along with that, two great games for it... and Wii Sports.  But who cares about Wii Sports?  I don't!  Its especially hard to focus on that title when you have a huge behemoth of an Italian platformer staring you in the face.  Yes, its my thoughts on "Super Mario Galaxy" - only two years too late!

I love Mario.  In fact, I think I've always loved Mario.  Me and that Goomba-stomping plumber have had years and years of fun together.  Saving the ever-kidnappable Princess Peach, throwing Bowser into a pit of fiery lava, getting our asses handed to us by the Cloud Guy...  ahh, so many good times.  I mean, just pick a Mario game, odds are that I've not only played it, but that I've played it six million times.  "Super Mario 1" - awesome, "Super Mario 2" - awesome, "Super Mario 3" - awesome, "Super Mario World" - awesome, "Super Mario Land" - awesome, "Super Mario 64" - awesome.  Heck, I'll even make a slightly controversial judgement and call "Super Mario Sunshine" awesome too.  I know some people didn't like it because of the water gun thing, but I say it was just as good as 64, if not better.

However, the last level of Sunshine is complete bullshit.  I do not actually believe that any real person has ever navigated the lava river on that boat, and will refuse to believe it until my dying day.  Yeah, I never could beat that game.  Sorry, Peach, but you're just going to have to stay kidnapped for that adventure.

So without further ado, here's my thoughts on "Super Mario Galaxy":

Let me open by saying that from what little bit of the game I've played (fifteen Stars worth), I can say without a hint of hyperbole or exaggeration that this is without a doubt the single best Mario game ever made.  Its as perfect a platforming video game can ever hope to be, at least to my limited imagination.  Its wonderful.  Its fantastic.  Its beautiful.  Its glorious!  Hallelujah, Blessed Be Its Name, "Super Mario Galaxy" is my new God.  I would kiss its feet if the game disc had them.  Before I put the disc in my Wii, I make sure to take the time to give it a bow of respect before I begin playing.  How something of such brilliance was allowed to come into the hands of lowly unworthy me is a question for the limitless ages.  I really like it.

The plot is basically the same as every other Mario game you've played - Bowser comes from the sky, steals Peach, and decides to take over the world  -nay make that universe this time.  So Mario must take to the oddly oxygen-filled cosmos to fight his rival's armies of minions and rescue all the Stars, because that's how a 3D Mario rolls!  The same classic basic plot with the same general goal, only with a very cool twist.  Instead of running around a regular terrestrial world you're running around tiny star systems.  Its the first truly 3D platforming game ever made.  This shift to the stars opens up limitless numbers of opportunities for game design, and knowing the creative teams at Nintendo, by the end of this journey I'll have visited every single one of them.

But its not like the regular flat worlds have been ignored for this jump into space - there are still plenty of worlds where gravity is an absolute direction - down.  Mostly the game does this by throwing black holes below certain areas, but in other locations the game just throws you into a blue sky world.  So while you're jumping through space and riding space junk one moment, the next you'll be riding down a floating river on a giant pirhana. It all looks as good as a Mario game ever has, with the minor details really selling it for me.  For example, if you run to the side of a planet away from the Sun, the area will be covered in shadow.

The controls are quite good, with the Wii-mote serving as an addition to the regular Mario controls, rather than a replacement.  You still jump around, run, and do the ground pound the same way you did in 1997, but here they've thrown in various other moves.  If you give the Wii-mote a nice waggle, Mario will do an extremely useful spin move.  The Wii-mote is also used to shoot various targets and collect star bits, which are used both as ammo, but also as a way to collect another life once you reach fifty of them.  It only takes a few moment to figure out the duel controls, and it works perfectly fine every time.  When I first started playing this game I was worried I would feel that it would have worked better on the GameCube but after several hours of play, I wouldn't have it on any other system.

Okay, some minor complaints:  every so often the controls get a little crazy when you're going from the top to the bottom of a planet.  Also, the game seems to be a bit more linear than the other 3D Mario games.  Instead of having an expansive hub world like Peach's Castle or Delfino Plaza, its just a small satellite world with very few secrets to find. I still haven't found anything like that sliding game that "Super Mario 64" had hidden in a window of the castle, its a little confining.  And like all Mario games, the bosses are piss-easy.

But other than that, this game is basically flawless - its exactly what its trying to be:  an adventure.  It took me quite a long time today for me just to stop playing so that I could write this review thing.  Obviously is this something that any person who plays video games:  children, teenage man-children, jaded older game critics, whoever you are, can enjoy.  Also look forward to a sequel, as "Super Mario Galaxy 2" is coming soon enough.  Yes, this is the game so good that Nintendo has to release a sequel immediately, instead of the usual half a decade we have to wait for a new 3D Mario game.

Look for a review of the other Wii game Santa brought me:  "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles:  The Crystal Bearers" tomorrow.   ...If you can really call these things "reviews".  Uch, I don't like that word, it makes everything so formal...

Fanwank Corner:  Why does Mario even bother with Princess Peach when he meets a much prettier and more celestial character heroine in Rosalina?  If there is a God, she must be either Rosaline or Cosmos from "Dissidia".  These last two video games have convinced me that God must be female, and gorgeous.  This being one of those days that I feel like believing in God.


  1. Since when is "dieing" a word? It's DYING!

  2. Blue, this commet is a spoiler, so watch out.

    Rosalina is worried that Luigi would be hurt if Mario doesn't save him. After doing some star hunting himself, eventually he hangs out in the space station with Rosalina. What do YOU think Luigi was doing with her when Mario was going hero? Not like Daisy is around.....

  3. If you liked SMG, BH, then youll LOVE New Super Mario Bros Wii, that game is freaking awesome. over 80 levels, 4-player action, the koopalings, it has it all.

  4. Have you ever seen the movie "Dogma"? God is a woman.

  5. Yeah, God is played by none other than Alanis Morissette. After Jagged Little Pill, I doubt anybody in the late 90s seemed more like God. Man, that album kicked serious ass...