Friday, November 9, 2007

Super Mario Galaxy

Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: Nov. 12, 2007
Systems: Wii
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: The reason I play video games.

0:01 As Super Mario Sunshine might say: Mandatory Wii System Update GET!

0:02 Right to the title screen with a trumpet fanfare, flowing into a gentle piano. The title hovers over a starry field. I'm grinning like an idiot already.

0:03 Up to six save files are available. They really do want the whole family to play, eh?

0:04 "Every hundred years, a comet appears above the Mushroom Kingdom." The shooting stars from the comet were taken by the toads to make the great Power Star. The static hand drawn illustrations remind me of Yoshi's Island.

0:05 Princess Peach sends a letter, recalling Super Mario 64. "Dear Mario. I'll be waiting for you at the castle on the night of the Star Festival. There's something I'd like to give you." I bet there's something Mario would like to give the princess too, if you know what I mean!

0:06 Mario runs along the path with arms out like an airplane. What is he, five years old?And we're playing! Star bits are falling from the sky all over the place, and I can pick them up with a point of the remote. I like how some characters talk as you pass... no need to stop and hit A. But others you do have to stop for. Lame.

0:08 Bowser attacks! The bustling castle courtyard comes under fire from airships (straight out of SMB3). Everything is fire and bedlam! Might be kind of scary for the young'ns. Peach looks over the carnage from a safe perch with a big puffy star in her arms.

0:09 Bowser: "Princess Peach. You are formally invited to the creation of my new galaxy." Well since you asked so nicely. The super-zoom shot of Peach's eye is like something out of a Kubrick film.

0:10 One of the tods actually yells "Panix and fear! Panic and fear!" as I pass. I've never actually heard someone say those exact words when experiencing panic and fear before.

0:11 A large UFO hovers above the castle. It uses a laser to cut a circle out of the ground and lifts the entire castle into space. Booming timpani and strings here... very nice.

0:12 Somehow, Peach calls down to Mario despite being in airless space. No matter, though -- A magikoopa comes down and launches Mario out of the stratosphere and even deeper into space.

0:13 The puffy star thing Peach was holding wakes Mario up on a green grassy planet. He turns into a rabbit. "Finally! You're awake! Let's play!" Who can think of playing at a time like this?! The princess is in trouble. Again!

0:14 Gentle lilting piano accompanies a quick guided run around a smallish planet. The controls are just as tight as ever, and camera follows along perfectly. "Let's play hide and seek. If you catch all of us we'll tell you where we are." Or, how about you just tell me now, eh? Why you gotta be like that, star-rabbit-thing?

0:16 Heehee. I fall through a crater straight through the center of the world and come out on the other side of the planet.

0:17 These rabbits are surprisingly hard to catch. You need pinpoint turning ability.

0:18 A Colosseum appears out of nowhere when I catch all three rabbits. "Mama" is at the top. It's Princess Rosalyn. We're in the "gateway to the starry sky." It loses something in translation , I'm sure. I get the ability to do a spin attack with a shake of the remote.

0:20 With a quick spin in a floating hollow star I'm launched to another planet. I like the little tones that play when this happens. and the sound effects from the remote too.

0:22 Jumping on enemies isn't as easy as I'd like. Spinning or hitting them with stars (using the pointer) seems the way to go.

0:24 Oh lord. There's Zelda-style beeping when you get down to one health unit. I HATE that crap.

0:25 Walking sideways on spheres from the camera's perspective takes some getting used to. I find myself tilting my head to try and get better oriented. It actually helps.

0:26 Now I'm on the inside of the hollow planet. I have to hit switches to turn off a machine. Easy stuff so far. The Grand Star I collect is huge. Mario kind of plays with it like a kitten with catnip. Disturbing...

0:27 The star goes into the corona of a fiery ball, which gets bigger and illuminates a new area of this hub world. Turns out it's "The Beacon."

0:29 Blah blah story. The Lumas pass by every hundred blahs, Bowser took their star blahs, now he has the blah to blah the universe.

0:30 Gameplay again, thank the lord. The star bits say things like "This is the observatory" and "We live here with mama." when I pass. Wow... you guys need to get out more and get some more interesting stories. Seriously.

0:33 Only one galaxy available so far, the "Good Egg Galaxy" This also probably loses something in the translation.

0:34 "Welcome to the galaxy!" Star bits appear as I run through the grassy, flowery field. But on the opposite side of the oddly shaped planet, it's like a Halloween ghost house. Interesting.

0:39 I waste all my star bits trying to hit some underground thing that's leaving trails of dust. Turns out I just needed to spin to bring it up. D'oh.

0:41 I'm really loving the music. For this Dino Piranha boss it's a soft remix of the underground theme from the original Super Mario Bros.

0:42 Dino Pirhana goes down with three quick spins into his rocky tail, which stretches and bonks him on the head. It's a bit easy, but then again, this is my third time playing, between past two E3s. Yeah, I know, I'm a jerk.

0:43 I can feed accumulated star bits to the helpful Lumas in the hub world. So far, all this does is make the Lumas thank me. That's nice and all, but...

0:47 Neat. As I'm flying between planets, I can spin to hit other launchers and take a detour. Heehee.

0:49 OMG this little piggy Luma is SOO CUTE! He demands star bits, and lemme tell ya, he gets 'em, puffing up and getting EVEN CUTER as he does. Then he turns into an entire planet. Whoa.

0:51 COOL. I'm running around the outside of a clear capsule-shaped world. with enemies and stuff inside.

0:55 DOUBLE COOL. On the inside of the capsule is a 2D old-school platforming challenge, only the gravity flips at certain points. As a McDonald's ad might say, I'm loving it.

0:56 I have to say, walking around a metal planet shaped like a hollow five-point star is a new experience for. Slingshotting around to get a star hovering in the middle is also new. And also fun.

0:58 I have just enough time to enter the Honeyhive Galaxy, but sadly not enough time to tell you about it, alas. Sorry.. You'll just have to wait. Actually, I'm not sorry because I get to play it more now. Haha!

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Yes.
Why? It's somehow instantly familiar and wholly new at the same time. I know it sounds cliche, but it's true!

This review based on a retail copy provided by Nintendo THREE WHOLE DAYS before the official release. I love my job.


Anonymous said...

oh, look at me, i am a fatty plumber that lets little children play with me!

Sorcy said...

Grrr... my envy knows no bounds.
I'm gonna play Metroid Prime 3 now to vent some steam against some innocent space pirates. Grrr...

The Teetors said...

Wow you must be to busy playing Mario to do any more reviews for awhile! :)

Andy Baird said...

Great take on the first hour, much the same as ours! Keen to hear what you're playing next :D.

Rusty Bailey said...

I can't see how anyone couldn't like this game. I couldn't help but give it an A rating in my review. It's just so much fun!