It’s fair to say that Super Mario Galaxy is one of the best games of all time. We’re talking about a game steeped in esteem and lineage, a game following the likes of Mario 64 and Sunshine. A 3D platformer from a breed rarely known to falter. But everyone has their favourite. Some love 64 for it’s sandbox, open ended approachability. Some like Sunshine for it’s thematic levels and the added utility of the FLUDD. But as for me? I’m always gonna dig the linearity and focus found solely in Super Mario Galaxy.
Galaxy is a cross-breed. Largely following the moveset seen in both prior games, it’s actually the level design that sticks out from the crowd. Gone are the open ended sandbox levels, gone are the various FLUDD nozzles and in their place, comes a series of space themed mini levels that you launch between in an extremely linear fashion.
It’s fair to say that with the exception of 3D World and 3D Land, the Galaxy games are some of the most linear 3D platformers Mario has appeared in. Whilst you may feel like you’re running around a big open area at times, in reality you’re playing a classic Super Mario Bros stage from a different perspective. In fact, I often get vibes of Mario 3 or Mario World from how the game is structured.
Power-Ups are abundant, with the introduction of Bees, Boos, Springs and even the Ice Flower. These are fun to use, but are noticeably strict on time limits and placements. Whilst many criticize this aspect, calling it situational and restrictive, I found Galaxy’s approach to the power-up allowed for tighter scenarios within stages. Using Fire Mario to light up torches and open a gate, or the Ice Flower to ice skate across Magma. Set pieces that probably wouldn’t fit or work as well in a game like Mario 64.
The sheer level of character to be found in Galaxy is yet another highlight. Not only do we see Mario and co in really expressive cutscenes, but new characters like the Lumas and Rosalina made a real impact with the audience, being series mainstays ever since. Though, it does help that the story takes on a suitably epic scale to fit with the theme of Space and the great beyond.
Though in all honesty, I think the real reason Galaxy sticks out so much is the sheer variety in every one of it’s aspects. The level themes are countless and crazy. The soundtrack has some really quiet thoughtful pieces at times, only to surprise you with an epic orchestral piece when confronting a boss. It really is a variety show in every sense of the term.
Hey Now, You’re An All-star
If you’re gonna be experiencing Galaxy for the first time as part of the 3D All-Stars collection on Nintendo Switch, I envy you. Not only are you getting a collection of three of the tightest 3D Platformers in all of games, you’re getting the opportunity to experience it ANYWHERE YOU GO. I can’t tell you what i’d have done to be able to take my Wii on the school bus back in the day… technology truly is a beautiful thing. Have fun!