The Italian Plumber Returns … in SPACE

Arguably  there hasn’t been a proper Mario game since the Nintendo 64 with the release of the classic Super Mario 64 on September 26,1996. Sure, there’s been Super Smash Bros., Mario Party and countless other games where Mario has made an appearance, but it has been a long while since Mario was featured in his own original adventure/platforming title. All that has changed with the release of Super Mario Galaxy on November 12.

Super Mario Galaxy can easily be called the game that best balances the old with the new. Gamers familiar with old Mario games will immediately appreciate the continued simplicity of the controls (run around with the analog stick, jump with A, crouch with Z, shake the Wii remote to do a spin attack or pick up items) and inherently simple gameplay (complete challenges to collect stars).

Yet what really sets this game apart are the new innovations. Super Mario Galaxy utilizes the Wii’s motion sensor by allowing you to pick up the numerous “Star Bits” found in the game with the Wii remote cursor, minimizing the monotonous task of making Mario physically touch the items.

The most influential feature of the new game, though, is the setting. Super Mario Galaxy is set in space where players explore themed galaxies made up of several tiny planets, which are so tiny that some can be run around in as little as 10 seconds. While the laws of gravity in the game would make most physics teachers cringe, the game utilizes this new concept in all of its challenges, turning it into a complex 3-D platform, often with nauseating effects.

Super Mario Galaxy deviates far enough from older games by making sure that the challenges are much more varied and original. Every galaxy has several unique puzzles. While it can be a little disappointing at first that most puzzles are pretty short and not repeated later on, the variety always keep the players on his toes. Players also still have the chance to return to previous levels at any time to repeat old puzzles.

Like older Mario games, the bosses in this one are interesting, match themes of their respective levels well and add an extra difficulty in order to complete each level.

While the game can be completed somewhat quickly without completing all the levels, the fun still remains in completing the rest of them, each with increasingly difficulty challenges.