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Super Mario Galaxy

Nintendo’s Wii is an incredible system, and the first time you try it you will probably be blown away by its innovation. The second thing a gamer might think is all the possibilities beyond Wii Sports, the game included with most Wii’s. That said the Wii game line-up hasn’t been very good for hard core gamers. Couple that with the fact that that 480p is the maximum resolution with no real HD to speak of and the system starts shinning a little less after the initial novelty wears off. There’s a lot of games out there for it that I’m sure are giving families and kid’s hours of fun, but there are few that are entertaining more hard core 30 something gamers like me.

Then Super Mario Galaxy enters the scene to great acclaim. I had to buy this game for two reasons, the first one was everyone is giving it incredible reviews so it can’t be all that bad, and the second reason is I have so few good Wii games. Super Mario Galaxy is my fourth Wii purchase, Zelda Twilight Princess and Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition being my only worthwhile purchases so far, and I have yet to finish a Wii game. Zelda is one of those games that would have looked better in HD and would have worked just fine on a normal controller, so while still an incredible game, it just doesn’t seem to offer much extra to the Wii Remote other than being a great game. Resident Evil 4 was designed with a standard def CRT television in mind, so it suffers even more from the Wii’s lack of HD support. Resident Evil 4 does however benefit from the Wii Remote and both games are still fantastic and I would recommend both to any Wii owner. Super Mario Galaxy on the other hand feels like they had the unqiue Wii controls in mind when they developed it.

Let me just start off and say that Super Mario Galaxy is one of my best Wii game experiences to date. Yes it is very cartoony and kiddie, it’s a Mario game! But hey, I use to play Mario games for hours on end as a kid, and this game comes loaded with Wii goodness, and lots of Mario nostalgia. The greatest thing about this game is the Wii specific goodness, and what I mean by that is this game actually uses the Wii Remote in great and innovative ways and for once does not feel contrived. I find a lot of Wii games feel like the developers had to add some Wii Remote actions to the game, so they just added shake everywhere. You will still have to shake your Wii Remote in Mario, but there’s a lot more to it than just shaking your Wii!

The game story is typical to Mario games. So saying Bowser has captured Princess Peach and you have to rescue her shouldn’t be much of a spoiler. The game takes place in the universe, literally and you fly from galaxy to galaxy to restore star power to a ship you are working from, basically your home base in the game. Once the ship is fully powered you are told you can fly to the center of the universe and save the princess. No one should be buying a Mario game for the story line.

So what makes the game play so different from other games, or even Wii games for that matter? Well each level takes place on tiny planets, some so small that you can actually run completely around them in under 30 seconds. The feeling is weird to say the least, but that’s a good thing. Mario Galaxy takes place on every 3D plane, upright, upside down, sideways, top down, backwards, you name the orientation and Mario Galaxy’s probably got it. This is one of the things that make the game great.

The Wii Remote is the next great aspect, you actually use it. I haven’t finished the game yet, but so far I have done things like surf, balance on a ball, blow Mario around, point and pick up star bits, shake enemies off the screen, and climb vines just to name a few. All of these require different motions with the Wii Remote. So far I like the balancing ball Mario the best.

There are also different kinds of Mario, the old stand by’s like fire Mario, but new ones like Bee Mario are very fun. With Bee Mario you can fly for a short period of time before you have to land and recharge to fly again. As Bee Mario you can stick to certain surfaces just like a real Bee! Well at least a real Mario Bee. Other powerups include Ice Mario, Bee Mario, Boo Mario, Spring Mario, Flying Mario, and Rainbow Mario, most of which I have yet to try.

The greatest thing about this game is that it’s just plain fun to play. It’s not hard, at least most of the time, and for the most part it is very intuitive. Mario Galaxy is totally new and different, and you can just jump right in and play without much experience and I think this game will appeal to many age groups.

This is the first really solid new Wii game I have played yet. Games like Zelda and Resident Evil are fantastic games, don’t get me wrong, but they feel like they were not developed with the Wii in mind, and in Resident Evils case it wasn’t. Super Mario Galaxy could possibly be the best Wii game I have played to date.

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