Super Mario Galaxy

Published by Nintendo, Developed by Nintendo

Genres: Platformer (2 players)

US release date: Nov 12th, 2007 | EU release date: Nov 16th, 2007

Super Mario Galaxy review

You may not know it yet, but this is the reason you bought a Wii.

Erik wrote this game review.

Review written by

I'm going to cut right to the chase: Super Mario Galaxy is the best video game I have ever had the pleasure of playing. As a form of entertainment, Super Mario Galaxy is a product that can appeal to pretty much anyone. Mario is as household a character nowadays as Charlie Brown or Kermit the Frog. His adventures are the ones that you can get your Dad or girlfriend to play with you. And as a video game, Super Mario Galaxy is in a league of its own.

There's some kind of undeniable charm surrounding the world of Mario, a stellar mold of raise-the-bar gameplay and brilliant presentation that no other company (except maybe SEGA with Sonic) has ever been able to match. With Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo has managed to outdo all previous Mario games that have come before.

Super Mario Galaxy screenshotThe storyline of Mario games has always been a cookie-cutter element, and Mario Galaxy is no different. The Mushroom Kingdom is hosting a shooting star festival that happens only once every 100 years. Predictably, Bowser and his crew of misfits show up to ruin everything, and in the process manage to kidnap Princess Peach. This time though, Bowser has some new firepower in the form of a shiny UFO. This thing cuts the ground out from underneath the Princess' castle, while Bowser's pirate-influenced airships hoist the entire structure into space. Mario, who desperately tries to stop the rising castle, is knocked unconscious. He is soon woken by a group of Lumas, who are star-like creatures operating a space station under the control of a Princess Peach lookalike named Rosalina. Rosalina asks Mario to help find the Power Stars that Bowser took so that she may again have control over her space station. In return, she is willing to help Mario find Princess Peach.

And so you are off on your quest. Rosalina's space station serves as the Hub of the game, much like Peach's castle in Super Mario 64, or Delfino Island in Super Mario Sunshine. As you gain more stars, you will get the ability to play Bowser/Bowser Jr galaxies. Completing these galaxies yields Grand Stars, which power up the station and allow access to more galaxies. Much like Mario 64, the game can be beaten with 60 stars, at which point you may save and return to collect the next 60 hidden in the game for a grand total of 120 stars. That's the basic structure. It's classic Mario, it works well, and it doesn't really break any new ground or impress all that much. The true appeal of any Mario game however, lies in the presentation and gameplay.

And, oh my, what a presentation. I wish I could axe the paragraph where I described the intro and just show you all video footage instead. This game needs to be seen to be believed. The crisp textures, lush colors, shadow effects, high frame rate and stellar artwork all set a new graphical standard for the Nintendo Wii. Old character favorites return in grand fashion here, while charming new characters will surely have a solid place in future Mario endeavors.

Super Mario Galaxy screenshotThe aural part of the package is just as engaging and spectacular as the visuals. Mario's voice is dead on, sound effects are appropriate and fitting, and the music is soundtrack-worthy. I'm not going to spend much time praising the graphical and auditory achievements of this game. If you don't believe me, look up videos online and see for yourself. But believe me when I say that this is the most HD-worthy effort on Wii yet.

The gameplay elements of Mario Galaxy are the legs that this whole package stands on. Super Mario 64 revolutionized the series because it made a silky-smooth transition from 2D to 3D, taking advantage of the (at the time) powerful graphical processor of the N64. It was a benchmark for both the series and the system as well. Super Mario Galaxy is no different, as it so successfully incorporates the Wii's unique controller into gameplay that you will wonder if the producers had the remote in mind since the days of the 64. The Wii remote is neither overused nor thrown aside. You move Mario with the nunchuck joystick, crouch with Z, and jump with A. The Wii remote is pointed normally at the TV, and you have an on-screen cursor in the form of a small star. You use your pointer to collect star bits; shiny little star-like objects that reward you with a 1-UP for every 50 collected. You can also point the cursor at enemies and press B, which will shoot a star bit at them for a stun attack. Mario's classic punch/kick combo is thrown away for a much more intuitive spin attack. The attack is accomplished by simply shaking the remote. There are other levels that incorporate the Wii remote even further, like a stingray surfing level in which you turn your remote-wrist like a key to move left and right. Everything feels just right, and all movements are responsive and simple.

A big part of Super Mario Galaxy is that it takes place in outer space, and with outer space comes unique planetary gravity. The gravity system of Super Mario galaxy is unlike most anything you've ever played. Imagine Mario standing on a floating platform. Now, Mario jumps unexpectedly off the edge. In previous games, this resulted in a lost life. Galaxy however, is different, and it's because of the gravity. In Galaxy, after Mario jumps off of said platform, the gravity pulls him back in to swing around to the bottom, at which point he lands safely and the camera smoothly follows without so much as a hiccup. The gravity is so unique, you will most likely find yourself screwing around levels and trying out different jumps just to see what happens. The camera is beautiful, as it rarely (and I mean RARELY) gives you a poor view of the action, even when moving between the gravities of different objects.

Super Mario Galaxy screenshotEverything is done so right in Super Mario Galaxy that its flaws are pretty much dismissible. Every now and then, you may find a bad camera angle pop up, but it's such a rare occurrence that only the most critical of gamers will notice or care. The frame rate sputters so infrequently, I only observed it drop one time in my first playthrough (and it was a processor-taxing underwater level). The difficulty is also a bit on the easy side, as lives are far too easy to come by that you would have to be a totally inept and terrible gamer to reach a Game Over screen.

But other than those minor quips, Super Mario Galaxy is perfect. 60 stars to beat doesn't take much time, but 120 is a much more daunting and rewarding task. The ultimate unlockable (if you get all the stars, you can play through again as Luigi) gives Super Mario Galaxy the replay value it needs to have long legs. Even without it, you'll still want to beat this one over and over again just based on how good it is. My roommate isn't into video games, but he calls Super Mario Galaxy "video crack" and I would have to agree. Free up your schedule before picking it up. I got this game Tuesday, beat it on Monday, and now I'm right back into the thick of it with no slowing down. It's been tough to pull myself away from this product to write-up this little piece here, so thank you for taking the time to read it. Now go and get it, and have fun playing the best game on Nintendo Wii.

Gameplay (10/10)

Super Mario Galaxy screenshotClassic Mario gameplay seamlessly combined with outer-space physics and Wii remote functionality. This is platforming at its best, period.

Lifespan (10/10)

120 stars take a long time to get. Know that you're going to do it at least twice since you can unlock Luigi and play through as him. Don't be surprised if you go ahead and beat it a third time.

Super Mario Galaxy screenshot

Graphics (10/10)

Sets the new standard for Wii. I highly recommend playing on an HDTV. You'll scratch your head at how the frame rate holds up as well as it does.

Sound (10/10)

The music is top-notch, and I really hope a soundtrack is eventually released. Sound effects are fantastic and fitting with the environment.


Gameplay: Gameplay score: 10

Graphics: Graphics score: 10

Sound: Sound score: 10

Lifespan: Lifespan score: 10

User comments


Ryo said:

I think the game is awesome also, but I think the enemies are too easy and that Mario needs more health. But other than that this game is a game you should get to hold you over until Super Smash Bros Brawl comes out.


BrothaZ said:

Maybe it's just me but when I got super mario sunshine I played it like 3 times through, and I'm about to finish my 4th. I bet anything I'll play this at least 6 times through.


JosephTheSquirrel said:

Well, looks like someone beat me to the punch this time. Oh well! Good to see some new opinions out there. As for my opinion, the game isn't the best game out there. It's a really, really good Mario game, but it's not quite up to being the best game I've ever played. It feels a little limited in my opinion, like it could've expanded much more. I mean only 60 stars to pass? Too simple. I guess I'm one of those critical reviewers you were talking about. In any case, just get this game already.


Yoshi-1up said:

It is an awesome game. I think it's the Game of the Year. One of the best Mario games I have ever played. I never got bored of it. Every level is just amazing. The only part that was frustrating for me was the Purple Coin collecting part, but when you finish the game 100% something great happens.


Gamer guru said:

Possibly the best game evah!


Elebot said:

Everyone talks about how great the graphics are. Don't get me wrong, they're incredibly amazing, but I think the music deserves just as much credit. I find it absolutely beautiful. Nice review.


Wastedyuthe said:

I can't say this is THE best game I have ever played, but I can certainly say it is one of them. It reminds me of the first time I played Ratchet and Clank on the PS2, which also had fantastic graphics, imagination, level design, and characters. I just wish this game had proper speech and a bit more humour with the characters in between levels like R&C did. However it beats it in every other way. The level design in particular is stellar. Some people say they would prefer it to be harder, whereas I (call me a wimp) think it is just the right difficulty. I just love the imagination that has gone into the game, and the one thing I love is knowing there is something new to see in every level you play. Absolutely superb.


DeanPOWER said:

Played it today and I must say 'What a game!'. The attention to detail is truly amazing and completely sets the standard for games on the system to come. Nintendo continue to do what they do extremely well, create amazing games. Also, I've never been impressed with audio in a game before and I found all the tracks played to be amazing. They make even the most simple of levels seen extremely epic and if they ever made a Mario movie, I'd hope they use their composers. Anyway, this review is utterly spot on and I'd like to see some more of this standard.


Mr Friend said:

I didn't think this game was perfect 10 worthy. The graphics and sound are perfect, but the gameplay is artificially extended with the comet levels (fast foe and daredevil). The galaxies aren't as exciting as the paintings in 64 because it ends up being a linear planet to planet affair. It's not bad, but I can think of 3 better Mario games without blinking.


Allen said:

Yeah, this is the first game in a while that actually made me want to go inside to play it. It's not perfect, Mario needs more health.


CyberControl said:

Yeah, I bought the Wii for Super Smash Bros Brawl not Super Mario Galaxy.


ganon man 62 said:

Why are you guys complaining about health? It's good to have some difficulty. I think it's still too easy with 3 health.

Avatar 71

PHiRE said:

3 health is ok, but some of the later stars where you have to beat a boss without getting hit once are kind of annoying in my opinion. The camera is awkward at times during swimming too. But these complaints are tiny in the grand scheme of things, Galaxy for game of the year.


Ian C said:

The graphics are beautiful, I thought you could only get graphics like this on a ps3 or 360! This deserves the right of being called "the best game on Wii".


TechnoM said:

I have the game. I started, and then: "What, only 3 health? Whoa". But when you complete the 60 stars game with a single game over, it makes you think that 3 is enough or too much.


LuiJake said:

Can't wait to play this.


THE Guy said:

Hot damn I love this game, I just got Luigi yesterday.


Wii said:

Ya, this is the game to get while you're waiting for SSBB to come out. Good graphics, long lifespan, music's great, and like most great Wii game's: innovative gameplay.


Ian C said:

I love this game so much I'm going to get all 120 stars.


Seri said:

Erik, what a nice review! Your descriptions are crisp and clever, your writing fluid and easy on the eyes (and ears). I haven't played this yet, nor do I have a Wii, but I've been with Mario since the beginning, and my delay in joining him in his latest adventures (last 1 I played was Super Mario 64) is due only to some recent life struggles. I'll be able to get back in the game later this month and look most forward to sinking my teeth into *this* title. I have a soft spot in my heart for this charming plumber, his brilliant quirks, and beautiful, nostalgic theme songs. I hope he'll welcome me back into his life with open arm--er, overalls. Thanks for your work on this review & others. Long Live Mario.


777 said:

Mario Galaxy is for everybody and a very relaxing game. Perhaps too easy at some stages, but there is lots to do and lots of innovation. Definitely 10/10 in my book and the best 3D experience with all the running around 'stuff'.


BrothaZ said:

YES super mario galaxy got IGN's overall game of the year award! All of the other nominees were rated M.


wiigirl said:

I played on this at a friends and was amazed! My copy is arriving in a couple of days, I can't contain my excitement.


Wybe said:

It's like a summer shower on a cold winters day. Delicious, a colorful display of fruity thoughts and dreams beyond all that you can imagine.


Nuclear Milk said:

Super Mario Galaxy is the best mario game ever.


hbh said:

It's probably the best Mario game so far, but I have a feeling that if Big N plays their cards right there'll be better games in the future.


davyt 0247 said:

This game is AMAZING! Planet to planet hops, via warp star. Lumas will help you out. And for the first time ever, Rosalina's back story. Erik great review and I agree 100%.


Matt said:

I totally agree but I completed it with Mario. Got all stars in like 3 weeks.


Wiipaw said:

It's like my ideal girlfriend: beautiful, smart and fun.


iK47 said:

I've gotten all 121 stars, and 9999 star bits in each character and I'm still amazed by it.


Wii Freak said:

I like this game but I don't think it's one of the best games ever made.


Wii Freak said:

Even the guy at Zero Punctuation said he enjoyed this game. And he criticizes everything.


insultman911 said:

Getting 121 stars for both mario and luigi takes about 2 months. That's how long it took for me. I would say 8/10 for lifespan.


Quartz said:

I find it amusing that someone here asks for possibly more health, and yet, if you look closely at BETA screenshots he *did* have more health. Which is interesting, actually. It would've made it even more easy, even though the only way I really ever die in this game is by cliff.


Son Ninja said:

Of course this game is the one main reason I bought the Wii. Just like Super Smash Bros Melee was for the GameCube, Super Mario 64 was for the N64, Super Mario World was to the Super NES, Super Mario Bros was to the NES, Super Mario 64 DS was to the NDS, Super Mario Advance was to the GBA, Super Mario Bros Deluxe was to the GBC, Super Mario Land was to the original Game Boy and Mario Bros was to the Game and Watch series.


Nintenjosh said:

Super Mario Galaxy is definitely the top dog on Wii.


Cliko said:

What happens when you get every star, both characters?


rups said:

Great game, really enjoying it. Not a big fan of lives, but you really don't notice them since you get so many. Really good fun, best Wii game yet by far.


insultman911 said:

Actually, it's more likely after you get all 121 stars as both mario and luigi, that you'll want to replay your favorite levels in the game. And if you're not lazy, collect the highest amount of coins in each level. I'd change lifespan to 9.

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