Super Mario games, unlike Zelda games, are rarely anything like the previous ones in the series, well at least since the N64 and the classic that is Super Mario 64. While in Zelda games you always have to navigate Hyrule doing tasks that you’ve done before and beating bosses similar to, or even the same as, those in previous games, Mario always seems to be doing something new. In Mario 64 this involved going around a castle and jumping through paintings to get to different levels; (this also was Mario’s first ever 3D outing), in Mario Sunshine you went around with a large water cannon and now with Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo have ventured into the final frontier, space.
In the game Mario will move around space and visit a variety of different planets, some small enough that you’ll be able to see the whole of them on the screen at the one time others will be massive in comparison. It does seem, like the different levels in Super Mario 64, that the planets will have a theme to them so there will be variation between one level and another. Otherwise it could get quite repetitive visiting levels that are all based around the same central theme of space. All the planets do look very nice, with easily the best graphics in a Mario game so far. While the visual side of the game is very crisp and colourful the graphics aren’t a huge step up from some GameCube games and are nothing really special.
The game seems as though it has been designed specifically with the use of the WiiMote in mind. You will use the analog stick on the nunchuka attachment to move Mario around, and buttons will be used to make Mario jump rather than moving the WiiMote up. However you will move the controller around to activate Mario’s windmill move, which so far serves two purposes, one is to destroy enemies and the other is transporting you from one area to another once you’ve completed a planet. Being able to walk all the way around a planet may become quite confusing for some gamers, but the same concept was used in some of the planets for Ratchet and Clank with very little difficultly for gamers. The gameplay does look nice from the few videos that are out there, and there are a few new touches to the game that will make even the oldest Mario veteran anticipate this game. You are able to travel between planets in the game by flying with Mario. There are route you have to follow with blue stars you need to shoot at with the WiiMote to choose your direction.
In Mario games there are always lots of stars to collect, and in this game it is no different. However, a new item to collect has been added into the game, star shards. Not much has been revealed about star shards yet, but it could be that if you collect 100 of them you get a star (not unlike coins in Mario 64),or they will enable you to move on to the next section after collecting so many. You are able to see the amount of star shards you have in the usual interface along with your health, coins and number of lifes left. This luckily disappears after a few seconds only appearing when there is a change; so that the screen is, for the most part, left clear.
It is unclear whether or not other main characters will feature in this game, although in Super Mario 64 it was only Mario, but in the remake Yoshi, Luigi and Wario were all also playable each with their own disadvantages and advantages as well as different abilities. And in Super Mario Sunshine Yoshi was able to help Mario get around by letting him climb on his back and ride around the place. Hopefully in this game other main characters will also make an appearance, but it would be nice for a different story rather than Princess Peach getting kidnapped again by Bowser.
Super Mario Galaxy does look like it will be the true successor to Super Mario 64, obviously Super Mario Sunshine was a decent game, but it wasn’t anything special. It seems that Super Mario Galaxy is the Mario game that everyone has been waiting for since Mario 128 came and went. With some many new ideas coming out of this game it looks like it is going to be for everyone, from the veterans of the series who have been loving it since the NES, to children so young they haven’t even heard of Mario yet.
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