Are the controls easy to get used to?
Yes. The analogue stick is used to move Mario and the A button makes him jump. The Remote works as a pointer for picking up or firing star shards, and you pick them up by simply waving the pointer over them (you don't need to "click" on them). Within minutes I was jumping all over the place as if it were Mario 64 on the N64 all over again.
Does it "feel" like a true Mario game?
I'd say so. I'm very harsh when it comes to stuff like this and I was a bit disappointed with stuff like Super Paper Mario because there was something missing that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but this feels like a proper Mario game, moreso than Sunshine I'd say. For starters, the Goombas all over the place certainly help.
Are you as suspicious about the new Princess as I am? I think she's Peach in disguise?
Well, from what I can tell she's not because she talks about helping you "find your love", but there certainly seems to be a lot more to her than a simple character who asks you to do something for her. I suppose time will tell.
Do you find this new background (in space) to be a compelling new idea, and does it work well?
Yup. See, the fact that there are different "galaxies" means they can get away with the usual trick of different themed worlds (a lava "galaxy", a desert "galaxy" etc) but also add a new element (the whole gravity thing). This means you end up with a game that offers something new, but isn't so wildy different as to be off-putting.
Have you tried the multiplayer yet? If so, is it good?
I haven't, no, but from what I can gather the second player simply takes over the Remote's pointing functions such as picking up and firing star shards. Don't quote me on that though because knowing Nintendo I'm sure they'll probably add some extra abilities for the second player.
Do you feel that the levels you played could be improved?
It's hard to say, because the demos don't offer the whole level. As you'll probably remember with Mario 64 and Sunshine, each level is split into a number of challenges. However, these demo worlds only have one challenge, meaning a lot of the level seems pointless but isn't really because you know that later on down the line the emptier areas will be used for other star missions. So until the game's closer to completion I can't say for sure, but I will say that I thought the levels were designed very well, with loads of different routes.
Do the controls work intuitively or are the controls, in a way, similar to the Gamecube (as in, is it pretty normal or does it use Wii to the max?)
Well, in terms of controlling Mario it could have been done with a GameCube or N64 controller (the only extra move is the spin attack which is performed by flicking the Remote, and that could have been easily mapped to another button), but things like picking up star shards by pointing at them work magnificently and simply couldn't be done properly with a joypad. There's one hidden area where you uncover about 50 or 60 star shards, and whereas before it'd take ages to run over and collect them all, here you can just wave the pointer over them and rack them all up. It's really satisfying.
If the controls are normal, do they work well or should it be 'to the max'?
(Answer question in vice versa if the controls were originally used to the max)
Aye, they work fine. Developers need to remember that just because the controller is motion sensitive it doesn't mean they have to make use of it, and luckily Miyamoto and his team seem to be of the same opinion. They could have easily made it that you had to flick the Remote up to make Mario jump, but that would have been rubbish and the A button does a perfectly fine job.
Is being a bee as fun as being mario or is it just a bit boring?
Nah, it's good fun: not so much in terms of progressing through the level normally, it's not too different in that respect. But the extra height you can get from flying encourages you to go and find hidden areas, and I found a fair few. I have the feeling there are going to be a lot of surprises that can only be found as Bee Mario.
The ability to throw those gems to stun enemies intrigues me. Does it work well and how integral is it to the gameplay?
It does work well, but it wasn't essential in the levels I played. It's handy if an enemy decides to leg it, because you can toss a star shard at them and clock them on the head, dazing them. But other than that they don't seem to do anything else so far. Mind, I've only played four missions: I'm sure there will be some enemies (probably spiky ones!) that can only be defeated by firing shards at them.
In the scans I've posted in the Wii forum we've seen first pics of Kamek and Dry Bones in proper 3D for the first time ever, plus a good smattering of Goombas. We're there many familiar faces in the bits you played?
Well, the Kamek and Dry Bones levels weren't in the version I played but I was happy to see so many Goombas walking around, certainly compared to the Goomba-free Sunshine.
From what you've played, would you say it is the definitive sequel to Mario 64?
Obviously it's a bit early to make a comment like that based on only four levels, because bear i nmind that Sunshine started really well then later on it hit you with those awful Hotel missions. But based on what I've played, if the rest of the game is as entertaining and keeps up that level of originality then I'd say so, yes.
Does the game feel solid, and more full than Mario Sunshine from what you have played?
Again, it's early days, but the levels certainly seemed more well-planned. You can tell by looking through the level that each area is there for a reason, and the whole thing just feels really well put together.
Are the graphics as beautiful as they have been in the trailers?
Hell yes. I can understand why you're asking that because I'll admit I was a bit skeptical too, but I was seriously impressed. There are giant boulders that roll around the Bee stage, and there's a big red gem lodged into each boulder, and as the boulder rolls past you can see Mario's reflection in the gem. it's see touches like that which make it look really impressive.
Do you know if it will be here by 2008?
I don't think I'm allowed to say yet mate. I wouldn't worry about it though.
Do all the levels stem from a sort of starter level like the castle in Super Mario 64, or does each galaxy follow on in turn?
Not sure yet mate. The levels I played were selectable from a basic menu, so there was no central hub as such.
What was Petey the Piranha like?
Quite easy, actually, you just spin-attack his tail and it hits him in the head. I have the feeling he's a really early boss though so I wouldn't worry: the octopus boss in last year's demo was much more of a challenge.
Is there any news of maybe being able to play as Luigi?
Nothing yet mate. And by "yet" I don't mean I know anything, I literally know nothing about Luigi in the game.
Does Mario wear a belt like he did in some screenshots in the mag?
To be honest, I didn't notice mate. So if he does, it's not blatant.
How close is the demo to the finished game, do you know?
Well, in terms of basic gameplay mechanics I'd say it was pretty close because it felt pretty stable, there were no major bugs. The only problem was that the game had problems adjusting to widescreen at the start of each level and the display kept correcting itself for about 10 or 15 secs, but that's only debug stuff and will be completely fixed by the time the game's out. However, in terms of game size, obviously I only played four missions, earning four stars. Bearing in mind Super Mario 64 had 120 stars and Sunshine had 120 Shines, if Galaxy sticks to that formula I've barely scratched the surface so I couldn't possibly say.
You've said in the mags that you own a 360, Chris. Well, imagine comparing Super Mario Galaxy's visuals to something on the 360 - does this game prove that Wii can hold up visuals as much as it's competitiors?
No. I know that sounds dodgy, but let's be realistic here: nothing on the Wii will ever match the high-powered HD visuals of anything on the 360 or PS3. In terms of what we've seen on the Wii it's easily the best-looking game on it yet, and there's no way the GameCube or Xbox could handle it. And I'd go so far as to say it challenges some 360 games if they were running in 480p too. But compared to the 360's HD visuals, the Wii just isn't powerful enough. Luckily, it's not the sort of game that requires photo-realism, so its cartoony nature means it manages to achieve exactly the look it requires.
I personally have a HDTV, and because 480p is a resoloution that many new HDTVs aren't accustomed to, resulting in horrible jags etc, how great does Super Mario Galaxy look in 480p?
It does look really nice in 480p. I didn't notice any jaggies, though bear in mind that Nintendo's tellies are top-notch HD numbers.
Do the basic gameplay mechanics alienate it from the rest of the Mario series?
I wouldn't say so, because it feels very similar to the other games in terms of Mario's basic moves.
Not being negative or anything, but from what you played, are they any things that you feel are bad, or need improving?
Nothing really leaps out to be honest. There were tiny wee niggly bits, but they were the sort of things that didn't really affect my enjoyment of the game and will most probably be ironed out before the final game anyway.
I know it's only a few missions, but does the difficulty feel right?
I can't say mate. The problem with these demo versions is that they're deliberately easy so that gamers can see everything on offer and not become frustrated, so it's quite hard to judge the game's difficulty based on the easiest, almost tutorial levels.
Are the big levels, like the Bee level, as big as some levels from Mario 64, or Mario Sunshine?
I'd say the Bee level was similar to the Bob-Omb's Battlefield in Mario 64 in terms of how long it takes to get from one end of the level to the other. It's very hard to compare them however, since while the Mario 64 and Sunshine levels were mostly one large stage, don't forget all the Galaxy levels are split into loads of seperate planetoids.
Will any other mario characters make a cameo? like maybe Yoshi or Toad?
No sign of Yoshi from what I've seen but Toads do feature in the game. I've seen one scene featuring Toads.
Is it fun?
How many times did you see or do something that just made you smile because it was so... Mario-like?
There were quite a few. All Mario's new voices are really funny, and at the end of the demo he says the classic "thank you so much-a for to playing my game".
Did you uncover any little 'secrets' inside the worlds that would be challenging for a 'normal' gamer to find - so as to extend the gameplay for finding all the star shards or whatever?
Yes, there are a few nice wee hidden areas, especially in the Bee world. Once you're a bee you can go back to the start of the level and fly up a steep slope to uncover an area filled with loads of shards. It sounds a bit simple but it's not as obvious as it seems and many people wouldn't think to return to the start of the level as Bee Mario.
Is there any cool sensor buttons? (Like flicking the remote to punch)
Other than flicking the remote to do a spin attack, I didn't see any other motion-sensitive controls. There are some nice pointing controls, though (such as the aforementioned collecting of the shards).
In the ONM preview and other screens, the life circle showed only a maximum of 3 or 4 - does this mean we will be seeing a lower health threshold in Galaxy?
Very good question, I was hoping someone would answer this because it was worrying me. Yes, for the most part your health meter only holds 3 bars maximum. Of course, this bar can be replenished by picking up coins, just like in the previous games. However, if you find one of the hidden red mushrooms in the level you earn another three-bar health meter, bringing the total to six. THe mushrooms look awesome, incidentally. But that's just me talking as a geek.
Is it more like Sunshine or 64?
In terms of graphics, Sunshine. In terms of innovation, 64.
My friend says it's out on December 14th. I say no. Can you confirm this? (UK RELEASE)
I can't say because there's been no official announcement on the UK release date yet, but for that reason you can be sure your mate doesn't really know, he's just guessing.
I saw in my friends magazine a picture of Bowser breathing fire. But if he's not the one who kidnaps Peach then what role does he play in this game?
Well, the Bowser level wasn't in the demo so I don't know any more than you do about that one, but also don't eliminate the possibility that it was still Bowser who kidnapped Peach. I'm not saying he did (because I don't know), but I think it'd be a bit strange for Bowser not to be behind it all.
Are the bosses quite difficult or pretty moderate?
As I said above mate, we'll need to wait for more playable levels before I can accurately answer. Petey the Piranha was very easy, but the lava octopus boss form last year's E3 demo was slightly tricky and required a bit of skill to beat.