It’s a heady responsibility to be called a sequel to Super Mario 64. I mean really, how do you properly continue the game that pretty much invented the 3D platformer genre? Many considered 2002 Super Mario Sunshine to be just that through simple deductive reasoning. It was the second 3D Mario platformer in the series, which of course makes it a sequel to Super Mario 64, right? For many fellow Mario fans, while the quality of the game was undeniable, they found it a bit…safe. subdued.
Then came 2007 Super Mario Galaxy.
This new Mario adventure was far more than a trek through a magical castle or a tropical paradise. For the first time ever, the entire universe was Mario’s playground, and it was clear that Nintendo was pulling out all the stops with its most ambitious Mario title yet. Even before release, gamers around the world were enthralled by how astronomically epic the next big thing in 3D Mario games looked – and at release it lived up to the hype. On this very day 15 years ago, the true sequel to Super Mario 64 finally came out, reaching (and in many ways surpassing) the lofty heights of its predecessors.
Super Mario Galaxy wastes no time in showing players just how magical it is. The game begins with Mario happily hopping down a starlit path as colorful candy-like projectiles rain down around him, and makes his way to a familiar sight: Peach’s Super Mario 64 Castle, looking more magnificent than ever, lit up against the background the starry night . The game also wastes no time in bringing about the conflict. Yes, it’s good old Bowser again bringing down the Mushroom Kingdom’s Star Festival with a fleet of airships – and an unexpected addition: a bloody spaceship!
The Koopa King confidently declares that this time he is taking his aspirations to intergalactic levels, showing his intentions by ripping Peach’s castle from the ground with laser beams and taking it off into the vast depths of space. Luckily, Mario made it aboard the Shanghai Castle, but his attempts to rescue Peach are abruptly stopped by a Magikoopa blast to the face, sending him hurtling into the unknown starry expanse.
Mario regains consciousness, only to find himself somewhere in space on a small grassy planetoid. The only way he can find out what happened to him is by hunting down and capturing a trio of chubby star-like creatures called Lumas, who take the form of space rabbits. Here, players are slowly introduced to the gravity-bending gameplay that characterizes the title. The trek leads him to one of Bowser’s mechanical bases, where puzzle-solving and typical Mario run-and-jump combat are masterfully mixed together as he shatters an energy star from a vast force field.
If you’ve played the previous two 3D Mario titles, you’ll quickly, if not immediately, understand the controls. Using the Wii Remote in game feels very intuitive, like a natural extension of Mario’s abilities. And that’s no surprise for Nintendo and a game with its ever-popular mascot, right?
A simple flick of the controller will cause Mario to perform a spin that can take out enemies or launch him from the appropriately named “Launch Stars” that launch him through the sky and space with spectacular flair. Occasionally the motion controls can be used in shakier situations, e.g. B. balancing on a ball or riding a giant manta ray, but luckily these sections are few and far between and don’t really detract from the polished normal platform gameplay.
The game’s story unfolds in fairly typical Mario fashion, but with a cosmic twist: Mario must explore the cosmos and collect enough energy stars to refuel a spaceship piloted by the enigmatic Princess Rosalina in order to find Princess Peach and Trampling Bowser’s plans for world domination.
While the aforementioned Super Mario Sunshine was pretty safe with its level tropes, the entire game featuring tropical locale variations, Galaxy revels in its diversity. Of the game’s 42 levels, known here as “galaxies” (a term the game uses fairly loosely that would make an astronomer foam at the mouth), many are standard Mario tropes. You have your grasslands, deserts, volcanoes and the like, but designed to take advantage of the new gravity-based gameplay and give them a fresh feel unique to Galaxy’s aesthetic.
Where the game’s creativity really shines is in its more unconventional levels, particularly those set against the glorious backdrop of outer space. Stumbling through the stars while soothing piano music plays in the background is an ethereal experience unlike any other platformer I’ve played. Unfortunately, the powers that be decided to tone down many of the original game’s “spacey” elements for the sequel, replacing them with blue skies, which gave Super Mario Galaxy 2 a more grounded feel. That decision resulted in Super Mario Galaxy having a unique, otherworldly vibe that we’ll likely never see – at least to the same extent – in a Mario game again.
Another area of the game that received much praise from fans but was criticized by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was the backstory of Rosalina, the princess of the Lumas, who helps Mario in his quest. Game director Yoshiaki Koizumi bestowed the character with a tragic backstory that could be unraveled in a series of storybooks accessible from the hub world. Reportedly, Miyamoto was so opposed to the idea of adding story elements to certain games that Koizumi often had to sneak them in under his nose. Needless to say, all elements of a deeper story have been eliminated from the sequel – another aspect of the original Galaxy that makes it unique among Mario games.
And how did I get this far into the article without discussing the sheer majesty that is the Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack? Really, a writer could probably write an entire article gushing about it, but grades speak louder than words. (Seriously, check the Youtube video embedded below before reading further. I’ll wait.)
As befits a game of this magnitude, Nintendo opted for a full 40-piece orchestra to perform a number of its tracks, which was a rarity for Nintendo games – and many video games in general – at the time. Don’t be surprised if a tear or two rolls down your cheeks as you listen, from the hauntingly beautiful Space Junk Galaxy to the haunting grandeur of the now iconic Gusty Garden Galaxy. Aside from Donkey Kong Country or Celeste, very few platformer game soundtracks can make me emotional just by their musical quality, but Galaxy’s is certainly one of them.
The Super Mario video game franchise is one of the few in the history of the industry where someone can throw terms like “special,” “timeless,” or “masterpiece” and have to be asked what game they’re referring to. Super Mario Galaxy is definitely one of them, if not at the top of the list.
All of the elements of Galaxy — the perfect platforming, masterful anti-gravity gameplay, hauntingly beautiful atmosphere, and inspired orchestral soundtrack — blended together in a way that I don’t think has been matched by any Mario game before or since. Like the special comet that sweeps through the Mushroom Kingdom sky every 100 years, Super Mario Galaxy was a once in a lifetime experience, a star that shines just as brightly today as it did 15 years ago.
https://www.vg247.com/15-years-later-super-mario-galaxy-most-stellar-entry 15 years later, Super Mario Galaxy is still the standout entry in the series