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Super! Mario! Galaxy! January 25, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Video Games.
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Believe the hype: Super Mario Galaxy has taken game platforming to an entirely new level. Whether it’s the ingenious level designs; the playful use of different gravities as players jump, spin, and fly through different planetoids; or the truly exceptional soundtrack, it doesn’t take very long to realize that this game is something special.

There can be no denying that Galaxy is a true and blue 3D platformer if ever there was one. It’s not just in the character rendering: playing the game often requires thinking in 3D, to explore the different nook and crannies that each stage has to offer to find objects, to think about how to position Mario in just the right way to clear obstacles, and occasionally to take control of the pudgy plumber from positively maddenning angles (upside down and sideways are certainly more challenging than most people might think). Disorienting? Only at first. Innovative? From start to finish. Fun? Beyond measure.

As an added bonus, the game allows for two-player cooperative play. This is accomplished by one player essentially playing through the game as Mario, with the second player assisting by using another Wiimote to point out things onscreen, collect and fire star bits, or help the first player pull off double or super jumps. Granted, it seems like a very limited role to play for a second player, but it’s a whole lot more engaging than it sounds. In fact, some stages seem nigh impossible without such an assist, and overall it seems that Nintendo have touched on an entirely new mode of two-player gaming that is not just workable but has lots of potential.

It’s hard to conceive of how anything can possibly top Super Mario Galaxy. Indeed, what Nintendo have accomplished in the latest offering for their flagship character is absolutely extraordinary.

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