Super Mario Galaxy (Hands On) (Wii) Preview

By jason 11.05.2006 11

Super Mario Galaxy better than Super Mario Sunshine? The demo alone was enough for a resounding yes on that one. Super Mario Galaxy = Super Mario 64? The demo proves ultimately that the possibility is there. The videos Nintendo are releasing showing game footage mixed with shots of Japanese folk manipulating the controller are good in theory, but visually don't make any sense as to what's really going on. So how's about some hands on impressions...

The game looks fantastic. Think Super Mario Sunshine with a refined primary color palette and better saturation. Plus you'll hear me mention this a lot down the road, while the Wii may only be a Gamecube x 1.5, with 480p and widescreen native support, the HD gap is severely narrowed. Nintendo made a great compromise by opting for the widescreen support. With it, the only thing kids can really complain about now is a few missing polygons and lower resolution. I notice no real difference in things like color saturations and texture quality.

The demo levels included at E3 have a real Sonic feel to them. The action is high for a Mario game and on each little planet you move around on, (and move on a 360 degree plane which makes for some interesting visuals) there is some minor goal to be accomplished before you, literally, blast off to the next mini objective. The boss battle is awesome, forcing you to make your way up its gigantic mechanical body dodging heat seeking Bullet Bills and timing your moves through rotating gears just right, classic Mario. Heat seeking Bullet Bills in fact play a huge roll in these levels as you'll need to constantly trick them to follow you for a bit only to have them plow in to some environmental obstacle causing it to blow up.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy (Hands On) on Wii

The game makes full use of the Wiimote and nunchaku. In fact it feels very much built from the ground up to do so as you'll be using just about every function within about the first 15 seconds of gameplay. Whatever Mario 128 was brewing these last few years I have a feeling is a shelved product in favor of Super Mario Galaxy. The nunchaku analog stick moves Mario. Buttons are still used to jump and butt stomp so you won't be doing anything like jerking the controller up for "jump" as seen in the original Wii promo video. What you will jerk the controller around for is Mario's windmill attack. In addition to baddie destruction, the windmill seems to serve some key gameplay rolls this time around. In the demo worlds available at E3, once you've solved whatever was in your way on the tiny planet your on, you use the windmill technique underneath a glowing star to rocket propel you to the next objective. The game moves so fast some times that you are doing this kind of traveling a couple times a minute.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy (Hands On) on Wii

What can the pointer do in a platformer? Umm, plenty. While its unknown what the hell they are, littered through out the planets and floating in space are rock shards that must be collected for some reason. The way you accomplish this is not by walked to them but by aiming with the pointer and firing at them with the Wiimote's underbelly B button. There is a star like cross hair that is constantly onscreen which represents what you're pointing at. It has some neat graphical touches too. There will be times when your zigzagging the thing all over the screen trying to shoot at tons of shards dancing all over the place, testing your skills with the remote. The star cross hair leaves a comet like tail behind it and the faster you move it, the longer it gets. As you might imagine, the action can get pretty intense because you're doing all this rock zapping while concentrating on a platformer of Mario proportions with the nunchaku. It could in fact be argued that Super Mario Galaxy is a good example at how all this innovative control can actually be used for far more complex gaming rather than just the simplistic line we've been sold so far.

Heck, that's not even all you do with the pointer. There are times when Mario isn't even platforming on a platform at all. There's full on floating in space sections as well. You move around the space sections by axing the nunchaku all together and shooting floating blue stars with the remote in the order that you want Mario to travel. There are multiple paths in these space sections that will let you decide which way to go next based on what order of blue stars you shoot at.

Final Thoughts

All this sound like a lot? Well, it is. Like the sound of a new and completely fresh Mario universe, something Super Mario Sunshine tried but really didn't deliver on? This is it. I'd venture to say Super Mario Galaxy is the best demonstration of the Wii on display here at E3. Its utilization of the controller to its fullest is almost chuckle inducing and is simply a blast to play. Remember when you first fired up Super Mario 64 and Latiku came sweeping down with his camera and you got the first glimpse of the Mushroom Kingdom in 3D. And then the feeling you got when the dialogue screen ended and you were actually put in control? It feels just like that.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (133 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

What should be pointed out is that people are very worried about this because Artoon is developing it on behalf of Nintendo.

HOWEVER, I loved what they did with Yoshi's Topsy Turvy/Universal Gravitation...and what I've seen of this so far looks faithful to the original (although the controls are apparently not quite as tight).

I reckon this could potentially be another million seller in Japan...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I'm not so worried about the Artoon connection - I think Nintendo will keep the leash rather tight on this one, particularly because it's a sequel to one of their classics, and because of the lack of love for Universal Gravitation.

I can definitely see it selling a million in Japan, yep. :-D

I have to say this looks pretty damn good. I haven't played the original :O but from what i've heard it's great. My only worry is a saturation in the 2D platformer handheld market but I'm sure Nintendo will space them out adequately. Nice work though :Smilie

Even if you have to swim through a pit of lava, get your hands on that game. It's a must.

Great preview, Mike :-D

seriously, if you havent played the original, you really must :-o

I'm looking forward to this sequel, I was so excited when it first got announced. I just really hope they don't mess it up and disappoint me...

Co-founder of the PDSLB - Pink DS Lite Buddies Fraz: Cheerios are made from fairy orgasms.

Cool preview, this is the first time I heard of the additional characters, I'm a big fan of the original, acing that and the GBA version recently, I hope this one is as good as it sounds!

If they ruin this game I will personally mutilate every single person responsible... Yoshi's Island is my favourite game ever...

Still a proud member of the 'omfg amazing water in games' society
Guest 03.07.2006#8

you forgot that yoshi's story on n64 was craptacular. It was gorgous to look at and was fun to play for the five minutes that it took to play it. The snes version was pretty darn challenging and long, but the 64 version was so basic it wasn't funny.

I think Gamespot.com has a review of this game and they gave it a 9.3 or something close (it was over 9.0) MUST-HAVE GAME! YAY! lol

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