Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) Review

By James Temperton 19.11.2007 20

Review for Super Mario Galaxy on Wii

When we excitedly shoved Super Mario 64 into our N64 all those very many years ago, we experienced an epiphany. It really was just awesome. Then Super Mario Sunshine came along and, whilst pleasant, never really did enough to make us go 'wow'. Thus, we scored it an eight out of ten and frowned a bit with vague disappointment. Rest assured, this game will never have you frowning. It will have you smiling and laughing from start to finish. Never does it disappoint, never does it fall below our ridiculous expectations. In fact (and we're sticking our necks out here), it might just be as good as that N64 platformer from the times of yore.

Everything just feels right. From the very moment we ran around delightedly in a whole new Mario world, we were fully convinced that this is the Wii at its barnstorming best. A combination of sublime playability along with gorgeous graphics, innovation and traditional conventions, they all come together to create a game that will just blow you away. The sheer variety of levels and puzzles is baffling and, we're delighted to say, the planet/space theme never gets boring, is never overdone nor over the top. For once, the greatest star of a Mario game isn't a plumber, it is (somewhat oddly) gravity. The mind bending twists and turns in all levels will have your head in a spin, and when Nintendo starts to give you control of gravity through flips and switches it all gets rather ridiculous.

As is always the case in Mario games, you have to save Peach. In fact, we'd even go so far as to say the storyline is irrelevant and somewhat pointless - shocking, we know. It is just an excuse for you to have some fun with physics and go crazy in a whole new world of fun and evil beasties. For the first time ever it seems as though Mario is going to get what he has always wanted; "Come to the castle," writes Peach, "I have something I want to give you". Kinky, but alas such plans (even if we do create the innuendo ourselves) never come to fruition. In swoops Bowser, takes Peach into space and before you've had time to rearrange your plumbing, you've been shoved up into the infinite yonder too. The cut-scenes might be corny and boring, but we can excuse that for the fun you inevitably get to have thereafter.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy on Wii

The levels are fantastic in variety and showcase both the graphical capabilities of the Wii and the imaginative scope of the developers. You get to fly, you get to swim, you get to run around upside down, right side up and side-to-side and you get to do it all in a world so bizarre and strange that it will have your head spinning around so you don't know if you're right side down or up side left. Where the hell is up and where the hell is down? Can I run around to the other side of the planet from here? What if I jump? All these simple initial questions will soon be answered. From your first tentative baby steps into space, you'll find yourself blossoming into this awesome new playground. Soon, you'll be pulling off all the Mario moves (old and new) with confidence and flying through the stratosphere like a pro. In Super Mario Galaxy you can almost do whatever the hell you like. Give it a few levels and the whole game will just go crazy.

Our favourite aspect of the game is that it mixes the jokey and the amusing with the downright epic. Some little planets just seem like an excuse for Nintendo to have a little joke or do something clever with a puzzle, whereas others are full-on missions that will require a full array of all the skills learned to fully complete Super Mario Galaxy. It is because of this that the game feels more like 120 little missions rather than one epic game. It doesn't knit together like Sunshine or even Mario 64, but then again it doesn't need to. The glory of this game is just how random it is, how irreverent it is and how clever it is, never seeming to give you the same puzzle to do twice.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy on Wii

The game is based around a central hub from which there are a number of different observatories. From each observatory you can see a certain number of galaxies. And what do galaxies contain? Stars! And what is Mario looking for? Stars! It all makes perfect sense. The more stars you collect, the more galaxies become visible to you. The more galaxies and areas you complete, the closer you'll come to rescuing Peach. The game is hugely non-linear and you always have a number of paths open for exploration. If you don't feel like playing the 'main game', you can always chuck some star bits at a bonus star to create a new bonus galaxy that will present you with a rather delightful little tangent to follow. If that doesn't take your fancy, then every so often you'll notice a special comet passes by a galaxy that creates a fresh challenge for you. It might be a speed-related one, or a race against a shadow of yourself or even a battle with a boss whilst having only one hit-point left. It all spices things up nicely.

As a minor downer, Super Mario Galaxy does have a tendency to flutter from the challenging to the understated and forgettable. Whilst some levels are magical and brilliant some are just as tedious as a Sunday trip to B&Q to pick up a new U-Bend. Likewise, the general difficulty of Galaxy is a bit questionable. If you collect fifty Star Bits you get a 1-Up and on most levels that are more difficult or tricky you'll find 1-Up mushrooms lying about around the place. All this, coupled with numerous 'gifts' of 1-Up mushrooms from Peach, lead to a game that is never quite as hard as we'd like. Still, if you want to get the best scores and complete the game with style, it is genuinely rock solid. It just doesn't force you to be brilliant all the time.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy on Wii

The Wii controls have certainly posed an interesting new problem to the Mario team, and it is one that they have handled with remarkable competence and flair. The main addition is the spin attack, which is accomplished by a nifty flick or twirl of the Wii-remote. The only downside of this is that you have to wait a tiny bit after each one finishes to start a new one, which takes a bit of getting used to. The second major introduction is the use of the Star Pointer (which is permanently on-screen) to pick up Star Bits. You can point it anywhere on the screen in order to pick them up, no matter how far away from them you are. Equally, you can hit B to fire Star Bits at enemies to stun them, which is rather clever. Whilst coins still represent your high score for each level and give you health, the little shards of stars are equally as important. If you really want to complete Super Mario Galaxy to the full extent, you'll have to pick up as many of them as you can find. You also have the chance to use the Wii-mote to propel yourself through space by pressing 'A' on little Pull-Stars to guide you through the sky, a bit like joining up a dot-to-dot puzzle.

All of the above work really well with the whole Wii control mechanic, but what we're far less impressed with is the game's use of what we're going to call 'Stupid Tacked on Wii Mini-Games'. Whilst they're not as bad as some examples we could give you from other games, they do border on being a tad pointless and never work as well as the conventional parts of the adventure. Whilst some of them are fun, others just feel awkward and poorly conceived. Still, they don't happen very often and you can complete them nice and quickly and get on with the gravity defying platform fare on offer throughout the rest of the game. One other quick moan, the 'two player mode' is a total waste of time unless player two is an idiot who likes waving their arms around for hours on end. Boring. Moving on.

In a game where nothing makes sense, Mario can become a bee, disappear into a bubble, become a spring and do all sorts of other things we won't spoil for you in this review. Rest assured, in Super Mario Galaxy nothing makes any sense and you'll love it from start to finish. A game of gravitational ups and downs, platforming perfection, graphical brilliance and sheer ridiculous fun. We love it.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

Throughout our time playing Super Mario Galaxy we were torn between scoring it a nine or a ten. As you can see, we went with the latter. Our reasoning is simple. This is just about as good as a platform game can get. It has everything. Great bosses, great power-ups, great levels, a great concept, great innovation, great design, great graphics, a great musical score and most of all it is brilliantly good fun. It makes you think, it makes you smile and it compels you to play just one more level. Flat out, the most addictive platform game ever created, if not one of the most addictive games ever created. The perfect demonstration of how to 'do Wii' and what's more, a game that matches, almost inch for inch, the genre defining heights of Mario 64. To play Galaxy, is to fall in love all over again.






3D Platformer



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   


What I would add, and it's a slightly negative point, is that the camera angles can be rather annoying and off-putting at first when going around a small planet. Trying to judge jumps onto enemies or do a spin attack just close enough to a monster to knock it out can simply come down to dumb luck in many cases. This is, thankfully, countered by the ability to shoot star shards, though...Clearly it's a flaw Nintendo couldn't quite solve, but worked around.

I'd definitely say 9/10 (on C3's whole integer scale) because whilst it's good, the amount of little niggles here and there prevent it from being that 'perfect 10' experience. In many respects I preferred the Metroid Prime 3 experience to this...*shoot me, I know* :roll:

As for the addition of a 'two-player element', when I mentioned to my wife she could join in by basically just pointing at the screen for ages, she mumbled 'You're joking, right?' and went off to do some work instead... :lol:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Fab review T-man, fab review. Loving this game, tis a different mood from SM64 or Sunshine, I agree. I haven't gotten majorly far (am about 40-odd stars as I write this), but has seemed a bit sporadic, bouncing from level to level quite quickly.

IMO it may not be a pefect 10, but it is a great game - seems to me like a well formed experimentation ground for the Mario team, fun, quality doses of platforming action wrapped up in a cool storyline :D

One thing I do miss is large words that can be run around and explored, as opposed to a series and sometimes quite linear series of smaller planets. However, as I progress it seems to be opening up a lot more which is great.

Sound - gorgeous. Love it to pieces, some mighty fine orchestrated work here. Especially Battle Field. Bonerific to the ears!

Anyhoo, top review!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Fantastic review James, I agree wholeheartedly. Something which will draw a frown from many is that I've never really taken to 3D Mario games (64 was good but never compelled me to finish, Sunshine bored me so I never got more than a few worlds in), so I was a little concerned that I wasn't going to like what people were touting as Wii's best game. Thankfully those fears went unfounded - I absolutely adore this game and everything about it, and I'd award it a 10 myself any day of the week.

It's the most creative game I've seen in ages, and the game design is in that beautiful sweet spot between insanity and pure genius. Complete games could have been made out of some of the galaxies, I feel, and equally some of the galaxies possess more creativity than other games in their entirety. I love how the developers appear to have totally ignored any idea they could get backlash for creating something that could be perceived as childish and have just made exactly whatever the heck they wanted; the result is a game of pure unadulterated joy and is clearly a labour of love.

Don’t get me started on the music; I’ve been humming one of the tunes for the best part of the day. The visuals are stunning and would probably be about on par with 360 games if Wii could output in HD, and the art design just makes the whole thing gorgeous. The physics are surprisingly great, the gravity usage being brilliant. The difficulty level seems to be pitched perfectly; it’s easy to get through, but challenging at the same time.

No game can be perfect. Nothing can. To me, though, Super Mario Galaxy is probably about as close to perfect as you’re going to get in a game. It ISN’T perfect; there are camera niggles, the jump is inaccurate for enemy dispatching at times because of the way certain planets are laid out - but it is certainly one of the best games ever made in my eyes.

Once again, fantastic review James. :Smilie

I think thats a fair point Mike about no game can be perfect. At one point, I think people need to throw "well the camera didn't work right in this spot" or "well, there was this one level that wasn't great" out the window and examine the game on a whole.

No game is perfect. I don't think a 10 should mean perfect, if it did, no game would really achieve it. I think it should mean an absolute gem that provides an incredible experience, and that will go on to be a landmark in the genre. All indications point that Galaxy is that type of game.

Of course this is just me speaking from videos and reviews, so whether or not I think it is an "absolute gem" remains to be seen. Can't wait to try it for myself.

Anyhow, nice review James. :Smilie

That's exactly the problem with review scales that are out of a 100 (or worse), Jacob. In these, 100% implies perfection, and as no game is ever going to be perfect there will be no 100%s, and thus the full range of the review scale is not being used. With a 1 - 10 system (whether that be whole numbers or 0.5s; any 'deeper' than that and it all becomes too convoluted) you're not implying perfection, you're just showing how good a game is. I digress though: Mario Galaxy is well worthy of the score.

Yeah, I don't think games can be treated like a kid's test where .1's are taken off for tiny mistakes etc. Gets far too pedantic.

On one hand, I like .5 scales to distinguish ratings between games, yet on the other hand, I think it still makes things a bit overly critical. I actually almost prefer a simple 5 point total scale.

1 - Stinks, avoid at all costs
2 - Poor, fundamental flaws that ruin gameplay.
3 - Decent, has flaws that hold it down. Rent first.
4 - Great game. Has some minor issues but is a solid purchase.
5 - Excellent game and a must-own title.

However, I said almost. Smilie I still think a 10 point scale is best over all, because with a five point scale, I think there is a too little room to distinguish between truly excellent games and very good games. With a five point scale those get lumped into the five star category together (unless you use half points, which defeats the purpose of using a five point scale in the first place IMO).

With a ten point scale, the 9 for great and 10 for exemplary are distinguished, and keeps the 10 as something special.

Sorry for the completely off-topic-ness. :lol:

Excellent review as usual. And I really like how you've been able to justify the 10. I hate Gamespot's reviews. The score and the review don't make sense most of the time.

Excellent review, but I have to express my disagreement on just one point. I find the 2 player Co-Star mode to be a whole lot of fun. My sister is a fan of video games but there are times when she stops playing because one thing or another is just a tad too hard. But since I am able to to help her out along the way, by either making sure she gets just a few more 1-ups or by making her spin to gain some more height when shes has narrowly missed a platform, we both have a ton more fun with the game.

^^ nice but u didt talk about only have 3 HP on this one unlike the last two 3d games make it alot header at times

but one of the most fun game i play for a long time ^^ yeah this gen really kicking off now

Excellent review. Personally when I play the game I find it hard to put it into words, which could be a problem as I'm reviewing it for my English coursework...

But this review is really well worded. :-D

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Excellent review...well worthy of the 10. I've had no issues with the camera. I find the game perfect.

Lol, quality review, lol. We can all forgive it it's few minor flaws in the hope that next time around things will be even better. Only Nintendo make games like this, another reminder if we needed one.

From my brief play and watch i can tell that nothing comes close to this game, not Metroid, Halo, Half-Life.

So the best game of this gen so far is on the Wii.........

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

I dunno, Bioshock and The Orange Box are pretty close contenders. This really is a wonderful game though, just a great sign of what the Wii is capable of.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

I think it says a lot, that people like Mr. T, who like totally different games too, get cought by Mario. *That* is something a good game can achieve.

Hint: Never judge a game by its marks, but read the test. Because they always build these marks in a way it seldom makes sense. bug great review, it deserves it.

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

One other quick moan, the

Not fair - another great review and I have to wait until Christmas to play it!

Jump_button said:
^^ nice but u didt talk about only have 3 HP on this one unlike the last two 3d games make it alot header at times

but one of the most fun game i play for a long time ^^ yeah this gen really kicking off now

Your joking right? If I had 8hp for galaxy it would be a joke and WAY too easy (imo 3hp is perfect for the balance between easy and hard)

at the begining the camera severly pissed me off, (im one of those people who have to have the camera perfect to make "that jump"

) but after a while i got the hang of it and it was perfect.

i own Mario galaxy & i must say 9/10. like mast of u said the camera angles just got on my nerves. i past mario galaxy like 6 times & i nevr got bored of it until now... but now i only play it for the glitches & fun stages Smilie but for those of u who dont have it i REALLY RECOMMEND U TO GO & BUY ITSmilie

Death To All who Oppose Me!!!!

Excellent review. I too enjoyed this game greatly, it is definitely worth the mullah.

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.