With the passing of the Christmas season, we are left in the wake of the plethora of video games released during that hectic time of the year.
So many excellent titles came out with very few disappointments. One such game that made the holiday season a virtual one was Super Mario Galaxy on the Nintendo Wii.
The big "N" has done it again with keeping the Mario franchise fresh and original, pushing the boundaries of what that adventurous plumber can do.
In this installment Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and hauls her, and the entire castle that she dwells in, to a remote part of the universe.
In order to save her, Mario must use the help of a mistress named Rosalina who has a comet/observatory that can launch him to the farthest galaxies in the universe to gather up Grand Stars, so as to power the comet so he can face Bowser and save the woman he adores.
Now, if one has ever played Mario 64, the level setup and gameplay is almost identical. Consider the following as a helpful comparison (and for those who have never played it, pay close attention):
The observatory is like the castle, where each galaxy has its own theme, much like each room in the castle did. Each painting in the room in Mario 64 was a level; whereas, each planet in a galaxy is a level, too.
Let it be known that this is a true Mario 64 sequel that we all have been waiting for. Along with the similar level setup came the same maneuvers and tactics found in the 64 classic, just improved upon more with the inclusion of new moves and abilities.
These include new powers that Mario can gain throughout the levels, found in the form of mushrooms, that, when taken, provide him with a timed power up that pertains to goals in the level (i.e. Bee Mario, Boo Mario, Spring Mario and the popular Fire Mario).
How Mario progresses through the levels has been changed dramatically as well; now he soars through the air, jumping from planet mass to planet, bending the way physics is understood.
The Wii remote, in all of its intuitive glory, plays a major part in the controls of the game as well. Players will be swinging, shaking, pointing and flailing it to help Mario accomplish goals in the game.
One level of particular interest is when Mario has to balance on a ball and navigate it to the end of the level, and all of that is done by having the player hold the Wii remote straight up and "balance" it with gentle, well-timed tilts to help him avoid dangerous ledges and precarious slants that could spell imminent plumber doom.
Super Mario Galaxy is also the best looking Mario game to date, with 480p HD graphics, the colors of this game shine best on an HDTV. The overall presentation of the game is pleasing, accessible, and most importantly, a lot of fun.
For any one lucky enough to own a Wii (one year out and still a hard find), Super Mario Galaxy will certainly entertain those familiar to the Mario franchise, as well as those who are introducing themselves to the most iconic video game character.