Some video games have the ability to fill you with a sense of unbridled glee, satisfaction, stupefaction, and delight. Super Mario Galaxy is one such title. Released on the Wii around this point in 2007 (nine years – my word, they flew by, Rupert!), it effortlessly bagged Game of the Year in most media circles and remains a masterpiece to this day.
To casual outsiders, it may appear Nintendo has a habit of simply rehashing Mario titles over and over. Whilst the company uses the same gameplay mechanics within the genre, it’s never afraid to innovate. Super Mario Galaxy is a perfect example, taking 3D Mario platforming into the depths of space for a physics defying, uplifting romp which is a goddamn delight. Hurray!
Super Mario Galaxy
Nintendo place a heavy emphasis on outright fun in gaming. The Mario series is the perfect example of this. Whilst the phenomenal Super Mario 3D World from 2013 on the Wii U is a recent example, Super Mario Galaxy is the Wii’s masterpiece. With sublime genius, it showcased the Wii’s gesture-based controls to perfection and offered a wonderful challenging to all ages.
The plot is minimal – Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser and you’ve got to save her. From there, you have to get to grips with the demands of Mario’s new environment – space. Mario visits different galaxies filled with planets which have gravitational forces, so you’re able to circumnavigate the environments you leap to and generally blast through space with wild gusto.
The endless imagination is what’s truly stunning. Each galaxy you visit offers weird and wonderful new experiences, with planets offering a horde of oddities and strange experiences to keep you on your toes. It’s an epic adventure, simply put, with thrilling bursts through space mixed with familiar Mario platforming action. It was revolutionary when it came out and remains a sweeping classic of the highest order – by Jove, buy it if you’ve missed on this one.
Nintendo brought in a full orchestra for the soundtrack, which elevates the game to a grand scale. It’s perfect, simply put, building up to a rousing level as you traverse the cosmos, take in the sights, and blast from one planet to the next with a shake of your wrist.
The creation of the soundtrack caused some conflict in the company. Legendary composer Koji Kondo rejected Mahito Yokota’s first selection of 28 pieces as “no good”, infuriating Yokota. He had approached the project under the belief it was a children’s game, so went down the line of “cute” music. However, the company wanted the game to appeal to all ages, with Miyamoto eventually choosing the orchestral theme which Yokota created several months later.
We’ve always really loved this little piece as well. It plays between levels when Mario makes his way around the observatory, which opens up new stages of the game. The further you progress, the more dramatic and professional this music becomes. It’s a glorious little touch, as at the start of your adventure it’s simplistic, before reaching this mighty crescendo as you prepare to take on Bowser.
The music in Mario’s games is iconic. Whether it’s the first level in Super Mario Bros (Kondo’s legendary tune) or Super Mario 64‘s often beautiful compositions, Super Mario Galaxy ramped things up to a new level which the company has been aspiring to ever since.
Arguably the absolute finest game of the last generation of consoles, Super Mario Galaxy is another crowning achievement for Nintendo. If you don’t like the company or consider them responsible for “kid’s games”, this title is the one to try. It’ll open your mind to the glorious world of Nintendo’s creative genius – it’s a truly breathtaking experience even nine years later.
It was followed up by an extremely well-received sequel in 2010, but since then Nintendo has moved away from the Galaxy concept. However, it’s been made clear with the Nintendo Switch’s release in March 2017 there will be a new Mario title potentially at launch. From the clip it looked in the style of Super Mario 3D World, but there’s a rumour at work it’s going to be Super Mario Galaxy 3.
We’d welcome this like but jumping into the air and beating our chests. It’d be a glorious game to find its home on Nintendo’s new console, so we’ve got our fingers crossed. In the meantime, though, the original is well worth your time and effort. It’s a masterpiece.