There is something about video games that gives you a sense of adventure.....Back in the 8 bit days we had simple ones. Pac-Man, Popeye, BattleZone, Circus Atari. The characters consisted of Dots and the controls where a button and a joystick. most games only required you to move the character around and jump, or fire. But the games where simple, addictive, and fun.
Games have evolved since then...and have now entered the realm of 3D. Some have been succesful at the conversion. Others, like Sega's Sonic series, continue to struggle.
With Mario, it's been a mixed bag. I found Super Mario 64 rather boring, to be honest. Getting used to the 3D world and controls took a lot of the fun out of the game. So when Super Mario Sunshine came along a few years later, I was a bit iffy on giving it a chance. But, they improved...Mario had a fun new gadget, and graphics got a boost. While I found the game to be more fun than the original, it still didn't get a single replay from me.
So, you can imagine how I felt picking up Mario Galaxy. If 3D worlds where tough to navigate before, having a small tiny planet to circumnavigate would make you almost dizzy in confusion, right?
Yes, and no....
The game starts off simple enough in what could almost be considered the first theatrical mini movie for a Mario game. During the Star Festival, Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser when he takes the whole castle into another part of the galaxy...Mario gets blasted off into a tiny planet that King Kai might find homely, and his adventure begins...
One of the best things about this mario game, and for any kid who grew up in the 80's, is that it contains platform elements. something the last few where missing. Platform provides an annoying, but otherwise fun challenge that is easily defeatable with a bit of practice....something most 3D games forget about in their rush to impress you with a fully epxlor-able, but otherwise useless 3D world (looking at you Zelda). sometimes the game even goes into a 2.5D screen view, and it's almost like an update of the original super mario brothers from the NES days.
As whole, the controls leave a little bit to be desired. Sometimes if you go 'underneath' a planet, Mario will go the wrong way. You continue to point down, he'll circle around and go back up. There are also new elements that use the Wii remote, like a Star Ball that Mario has to balance on in order to move through a treacherous course...this can be frustrating, since there really seems to be no center of balance for the ball controls on the physical wii remote...a slight twist one way, and off the cliff you go. Other annoyances concern the joystick....Mine might be a bit faulty, but I find Mario will go off a cliff into a lava pit and die instantly, despite the stick being pointed in another direction.
But, if you can master, or work around these problems, you'll have the most fun in a 3D mario game to boot. All in all, Mario Galaxy is a welcome, well thought out addition to the Mario World, despite the fact that once again, Luigi is a useless character, only playable until the very end. This game is well worth $45's, I will be picking up the sequal.....along with what I hope will be Luigi's Mansion 2 being announced soon :)