Super Mario Galaxy

Stomp on the Thwomp

A couple of days ago, I had a discussion with a coworker about how one could implement the flash-game Fold in a 3D – environment, though it is clear to me now that Super Mario Galaxy both shows the idea works brilliantly and, in a way, makes such a game superfluous. Gravity puzzles are present in most platformers coming from the school of Mario, but to my knowledge this is the first big game created entirely around them. In a way this is weird, Galaxy probably could’ve been made just as good on the GameCube since the Wiimote-specific controls are few and kinda tacked on. Saying that Nintendo uses a concept that doesn’t abuse motion controls isn’t really an insult, though.

Besides from the space-and-gravity- theme, Galaxy contains what Super Mario 64 had back then; great level design both visual- and game-design wise, tight controls and scalable varying gameplay. This autumn has seen a lot of high-quality releases and this is no exception, so I’ll go right ahead and start nitpicking.

My biggest (and really, only valid) complaint is the camera/controls. The camera usually moves by itself, sometimes you can interfere and sometimes it is locked – problem is, you can’t stop it from moving and you have very limited control of it. There are several reasons for this, but since the controls are locked to the camera you kind of lose touch when it suddenly decides to swing around. This becomes especially frustrating underwater – which brings me to my second gripe, the scalability.

Galaxy has a lot of really frustrating moments, time-attack levels and tricky minigames; problems range from long levels devoid of checkpoints and dodgy exercises with the wiimote to repetitive boss-fights and struggling with the aformentioned camera. You can’t really argue that these are unfair though, since you don’t have to complete them in order to finish the game, and I guess having some extra material for people with a taste for challenges is a good thing. Besides, it can’t have been that difficult since I got most of the stars over 2 days.

All in all, Super Mario Galaxy is an improvement in much the same way as Super Mario 64 was (and Sunshine wasn’t), and it seems I can’t write something even remotely interesting about it so I guess I’ll stop trying.

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Posted on Nov 19/07 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »