Mario, the beloved Nintendo character, has made several appearances on the various renditions of Nintendo consoles ever since Nintendo?s start in the game console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System. Since his appearance in Super Mario Bros., Mario was an instant hit and has become one of the most paramount figures in games. His start on the Wii began with Super Paper Mario, a 2D/3D platformer that emphasized much of what the Mario franchise has been about. With the launch of Super Mario Galaxies, Nintendo has taken Mario where he has never been before?into outer space in a fully 3D, gravity-centric game that allows Mario to be right-side-up or even up-side-down, solving puzzles and adventuring as he hunts for Princess Peach.
As a recurring theme among the Mario games, the Super Mario Galaxy story begins as Peach is captured by the fire-breathing dragon villain, Bowser. It would seem Bowser has obtained the ability to fly into outer space and would like the Princess to reign over the universe with him. Mario and the princess are not the only ones affected by Bowser?s mischief. Bowser has completely upset the balance of the universe, draining the power of a space ship carrying baby stars, called Lumas, which have the potential to turn into new planets. Mario?s friends, like his brother Luigi, have also been lost in the universe, and it is up to Mario, with the help of a player or two, to find a way to power the Luma-carrying spaceship, locate his friends, save Princess Peach, and stop Bowser from carrying out his evil plans.
Different from any of the past Mario titles, Galaxy challenges Mario to conquer various, unique, free-floating, planets that require Mario to think in 3D, running 360 degrees around many worlds in order to solve sometimes tedious puzzles and obtain a star at the end that will begin to power up the Luma?s spaceship. With enough stars, Mario unlocks new planets and can complete full galaxies, eventually making the ship space-worthy again so that he can fly to the princess.
Like most every Mario title, Galaxy is pretty much free from what could be deemed as objectionable content. All dialogue and dress is suited for younger players and what violence there is in the game (jumping on bad guys or spinning into them before they go poof, leaving behind star bits) is clear of any blood or gore, prevalent in so many other games. The game?s theme and social message is even childish in nature and thus suitable for just about any one, though very young players might get a little scared when Bowser enters the scene. There is a small amount of magic content found in Galaxy taking the form of a magician-dressed foe wielding a wand sending fireballs and shells in Mario?s direction. Other than this element, Galaxy receives a clean bill for content.
While not the best the Mario series has to offer, Galaxy is a worth while play for Wii owners. Galaxy is much more appealing to a younger audience, though the puzzles can challenge a player of any age. And there are definitely plenty of playable levels to take on to keep anyone busy for more than a week. Mario fans, prepare to blast off into outer space with Super Mario: Galaxy.
» By Stephan Mack, Plain Games. Published 2/5/2008 12:20:35 AM.