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Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy

Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Wii
UK Price (as reviewed): £35.95 (inc. Delivery)
US Price (as reviewed): $46.99 (excl. Tax)

We guard our Wiis jealously in the office, both Richard and I keeping ours locked away carefully in case roaming bandits come searching for them in this, the Time of the Great Wii Shortage.

That’s why, when Super Mario Galaxy came into the office I very quickly shoved it into my bag and took it home – eager to test it at home and not in the office where I would inevitably have to cope with rabid journalists pressed up against the windows, steaming the glass with their breath.

Super Mario Galaxy is one of the most anticipated Wii titles of this year, for two reasons. First, it’s a full length, true Mario platformer straight from Nintendo and they are always good. Secondly, there hasn’t been that many decent Wii games this year and all those that there are will be coming in the next month or two.

Itsa mea, Mario!

Super Mario Galaxy is a small step for Nintendo, but it’s one hell of a giant leap for the Mario franchise as it takes the little Italian plumber to the next, nauseous dimension.

Super Mario Galaxy
Click to enlarge

The game starts off in a simple fashion. In the Mushroom Kingdom, it is party time and all of those good little creatures are getting together to have a merry ol’ shindig to celebrate the Stardust Festival – a time of year when a fleet of comets can be seen passing through the heavens.

Typically, it all goes wrong when Bowser shows up in his piratey flying ship, kidnapping Princess Peach and a load of her minions in the process. Except, this time, he doesn’t just stop there. This time Bowser goes all out and, using what must be the world's strongest rope, manages to steal the entire castle, airlifting it into space.

Mario is quickly on the case however and sets off after the castle, following it up into the stratosphere where he promptly loses the trails and falls, falls, falls – waking up in an observatory floating through space. Here, the mission is explained in more detail…kind of.

Super Mario Galaxy
Click to enlarge

Oddly for a Mario game, the story is actually told quite disjointedly and I found that a lot of the what the characters told me didn’t immediately make sense. It’s not that the story is complex – it just boils down to the same old star-collecting 3D platforming excellence – but the story isn’t very fluently told. Characters repeat themselves often, but rarely say anything truly helpful.

I’m getting bogged down in the mudane now, so I’ll have to snap myself out. The story isn’t something which people really ever play the Mario games for – it’s more about the style of story telling, the characters which effuse childlike joy and happiness and, obviously, the brilliantly addictive platform gaming.

The fact that Princess Rosalina charges you with regathering the power stars to power her ship, so that you in turn can find and rescue Princess Peach, is nothing more than context. There’s very rarely been a Mario game which doesn’t you require to collect the stars to save Princess Peach.