Game: Super Mario Galaxy
Platform: Nintendo Wii
When the Super Mario Brothers series began with its humble, homely roots on the Nintendo Entertainment System it began the platformer genre, as it would be known for years to come. Some would argue that there were platformers before it, but none captured the gameplay style games in the future would copy. Super Mario Galaxy ends this saga and acts as a book end for the genre as a whole.
The game begins with something out of fan fiction: the Mushroom Kingdom being seized by airships led by both Bowser and Magikoopa. They lay waste to it and take the entire castle, with the help of a large space ship, into outer space. The entire scene is more dramatic and cinematic then the rest of the Mario games combined. Mario jumps to follow and is brought on a journey far out of the kingdom and into the galaxy.
Landing on a large flying platform, Mario meets other characters that explain the situation. A mysterious woman by the name of Princess Rosalina who explains that Peach is being held at the center of the galaxy and powering the platform, which is actually a ship, will take you there to the rescue. The game unveils more plot as it goes on including a missing Luigi and Rosalinaís past, but those are all things that can be left unspoken of for now.
The levels that follow donít have any specific rhyme or reason to them in the ways of themes. A blend of worlds we have seen in other Mario games are given twists and turns that only Myamoto could think of. The entire thing is much more reminiscent of Super Mario 64 and it is very obvious the faults of Super Mario Sunshine were learned and corrected. The imaginative worlds take everything to the next level in every way, mainly due to the unique gravity aspect.
The worlds throw Mario around in every way Ė literally. Since the levels are in outer space the typical rules of gravity donít apply. Instead, every platform has its own pull. Large orbs are run around, typical flat platforms can be run under and on the side of, and in many cases jumping off the side of the level is just jumping under it. Itís hard to explain but is executed perfectly. If Portal was a one way ticket to motion sickness, Super Mario Galaxy could be considered a syringe of it.
This is the core of the game when it comes down to it. It takes the platformer as far as it can go and kills it. Never again will a game do to platforming what Super Mario Galaxy does. The level design is brilliant and could not have been done better. The only sour spot is the occasional camera malfunction that will leave a confused stare on the face of any gamer, but they are easily resolved and forgotten amidst the pure bliss the game puts fourth.
The Wii controller isnít abused in any way as it has been in some titles. Its uses are for mild motion sensing in the ways of a spin attack executed by shaking either part of the controller and collecting star bits by pointing at them. Star Bits are used to unlock new levels and can be fired at enemies to stun them. It isnít a necessity and the game could have been made just as brilliant without it, but the addition isnít at all a negative thing.
The thought of ďthis would be better with just a joystickĒ isnít really an issue like it was in other Wii games. It compliments the game and is never a hindrance. Other times the remote is used to move objects, or act as a wind source to blow Mario around. Without the remote these parts would have had to be remade and the game is, on the whole, better with them.
The game is the closest to perfection in the history of the Mario franchise. Some small issues with the camera keep it from perfection but this is about as close as the platformer will get. It does what Super Mario Brothers did for the NES and what Super Mario 64 did for the N64. Here it is, folks, this is the reason the Wii was made. Enjoy it when it hits shelves on November 12th in America.