Super Mario Galaxy shows promise

Posted by Mark Raby

New York (NY) - Opinion - Nintendo let me take a spin through another round of Super Mario Galaxy today and I'm now beginning to really appreciate what this holiday title can bring to the Wii.


Check out Super Mario Galaxy

During E3 earlier this month I went through a quick test run of Super Mario Galaxy and felt it didn't quite live up to its hype.  A cumbersome environment and a seeming lack of focus in the course design left me feeling a bit confused.

After spending some real quality time with the game yesterday, I feel much better about the way it's shaping up for its November 12 debut. In a new level I tried out, the feel was just like classic Mario - find your way from point A to point B while attacking enemies along the way. The environment was lush and colorful, just like something that would have been seen in Super Mario 64, almost universally regarded as the iconic 3D Mario game.

The most interesting part of the demo was getting to play around with Mario's latest power-up, the bee suit. This lets him fly for short distances and climb flowers. To me, this was the best part of the game I had seen so far. It's power-ups like this that made Mario a success and it's great to see Nintendo going back to its roots.

The general controls are a bit confusing, especially since it uses buttons that most Wii games have not even touched yet.  The nunchuck attachment is required, and the joystick on the attachment is used for moving Mario.  The "A" button lets him jump, while the hidden "Z" button on the nunchuck has him duck. Spinning the Wii Remote causes Mario to perform a spin attack, which is his main offensive move.  The motion sensing part of the controller is used to shoot objects that came up on the screen.

In past demos I tried, the levels seemed unorganized and had no overall structure to them. It was just Mario hopping from planet to planet and occasionally I'd see a bad guy and need to perform a spin attack. However, the new level I tried out yesterday was very fluid and for the first time since I played the game last May, it felt like a platformer worthy of the Mario title.

I was skeptical for a while, but Galaxy has really begun to grow on me.  There is a bit of a high learning curve, at least for the world of Mario games, and the whole infrastructure of the game takes a bit of getting used to, but now that I've had quite a fair look at what this game packs in, I have more reason to be excited about it than ever.