Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy Cover
Platforms Wii
Genre Star-crossed platformer
MtAMinutes to Action 4
Keep Playing? Yes
Buy from Amazon

I'll be the first to admit this review is rather ill-timed, heck, I've already published my full review of Super Mario Galaxy, and Nate's first hour of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is already up!  But I had this stored up for the right moment, and unfortunately that right moment came and went a few weeks ago, so the new right moment is now.  Better late than never.

I loved Super Mario Galaxy, what an awesome game.  I didn't even have a chance to really play it until this year, but it still astounded me, the only game on the Wii that has.  I already talked about why I love the game, but here's how I started loving the game.  My impressions of the game's first hour, at the time it had a lot of work to do on me.  I worshiped Super Mario 64 in my early teens but could never get into Super Mario Sunshine.  The game sat on my shelf for months until I finally returned it to my friend.  So here was another 3D Mario game that I didn't really care about playing, but of course I was going to give it a shot when the opportunity arose.

So sorry this is late, but there is always someone out there who hasn't been exposed to Super Mario Galaxy, and here is it's first hour review, just for you.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I create a new game file on an empty planet, and the first hour of Super Mario Galaxy begins. I pick the Yoshi icon to represent my file, and then select Play This File. The screen fades to black, and the opening cutscene kicks off. Every 100 years, a comet appears above the Mushroom Kingdom. One year was particularly bad and tons of shooting stars rained down on the Kingdom, assumedly destroying it once and for all.

01 - However, the land was not destroyed, and instead, the stars were collected and made into one giant Power Star that every resident Toad worships. Peach sends Mario her typical letter of request, this time to the Star Festival. What, no cake? Mario runs down a path all excited he gets to see everyone.

02 - I get control. Stars are falling from the sky releasing Star Bits which I greedily snatch up. Toads are everywhere trying to talk to me.

03 - Oh no! Bowser has arrived with a fleet of airships and is destroying the Mushroom Kingdom! Destruction rains from the heavens! Wow, there is a lot of stuff on fire, this is all pretty serious. Peach is shown hugging a star, making a wish I hope. The airship music from Super Mario Bros. 3 is playing.

Super Mario Galaxy Peach Toad Shock

04 - Bowser roars in his own personal language which is subtitled on the bottom. Lightning spews out from his ship and the end is nigh. I regain control. This time there are huge cannonballs hitting the ground too!

05 - I make a mad dash for the castle, and as I get close, Bowser unleashes an alien ship Independence Day style onto the castle, literally cutting it away from the earth and pulling it into the sky. This is quite epic! Mario's trapped on the drawbridge!

07 - But luckily he gets pulled along for the ride. The castle is actually brought into the upper atmosphere! Peach is freaking out, but before Mario can help, the wizard that shoots PlayStation buttons appears and zaps Mario away with his wand.

08 - Mario's alive! Phew. He's on a very small planet and that star Peach was holding appears. It turns into a rabbit who begins to talk to me. It's teaching me how to play the game... c'mon, I found all 120 stars in Super Mario 64! Now I need to catch three rabbits, should be easy.

10 - Controls are a bit tough to get used to as the world is so small and the camera has to keep changing to keep up with me. I catch my first rabbit, don't have to press any buttons, just get close. I jump in a crater and actually fly out the other side of the planet, that was pretty cool.

11 - I jump in another crater and the game somehow pops me out of it, a rabbit also appears, and I chase it around for a minute before finally catching it.

Super Mario Galaxy Bowser Junior

12 - Found the last rabbit and caught it. It's very relaxing playing this game since you can spread your arms apart holding the nunchuck and wiimote.

13 - Since I caught all three rabbits, they ask me to find their Mama. A tower grows out of the ground and I can talk to the three rabbits (now turned to stars) on my way up it.

14 - Wow, their Mama is an emo Peach lookalike wearing a blue dress. Kind of cute though. She's Rosalina! Her star Luma gives me the ability to spin which is performed by wilding shaking the wiimote.

15 - She wants me to rescue the Grand Stars? I thought I was here to save Peach and the castle?

16 - I break some crystals with my new spin move and reveal a Launch Star. From there I can shoot into space; sounds awesome. I launch myself to a brand new planet.

17 - I already have a mission on this new mini-planet, I need to find all the Star Chips to restore a Launch Star. Something is shaking the ground here though!

Super Mario Galaxy Rosalina

19 - The five star chips are easily found, but it's a bit tricky dodging the meteorites and the giant black hole in the center of the planet! I blast to the next planet and find a star trapped under some glass.

20 - The key was about two feet away, and he's rescued. Next planet!

21 - Inside this planet is a star powering a nefarious machine.

23 - It's a bit of a puzzle, I have to activate some tiles on the floor, way too easy. And the first star is mine! Looks like the main hub area is lighting up.

24 - We're back to chatting with Rosalina, a small star appears in front of her and she comments that the star will help the Lumas. She also reveals that Bowser has stolen all their Star Power away from them, and has the ability to travel across the universe.

26 - She asks me to begin recovering the stars, and to start in the Terrace Observatory. I head inside the small dome and a blue and black Luma begin talking to me. This game sure is chatty.

Super Mario Galaxy Good egg Galaxy

27 - I grab onto the blue Luma, and the game pulls back on the galaxy like I'm playing Mass Effect! This is really cool. I point my cursor at the only galaxy I can attempt, and its name is revealed: the Good Egg Galaxy. Looks like there are three stars available here.

29 - Good Egg Galaxy - Dino Piranha. Is that the star name?

30 - Star Bits keep popping out distracting me from where I'm going. So many to grab!

32 - The game has some really neat effects and environment design that seem to defy gravity, really great mechanics.

33 - Each planet is a little puzzle that needs to be solved, it's really keeping me on my toes wondering what's next. Hey, there's Yoshi's egg!

34 - As I fly to the next planet, I land on a giant egg (not Yoshi's), and it begins to crack... my first boss planet! I bop the tail sticking out and a large piranha plant hatches and begins chasing me around. It's like a Frankensteinish Petey Piranha.

35 - Very simple fight though, just spin against his tail a few times and he's done. And there's my second star.

Super Mario Galaxy Good egg Capsule

37 - Back at the hub now, the Luma teaches me how to shoot Star Bits, just point at the screen and press B. Time to head back to the Good Egg Galaxy and score some more stars. The next star is A Snack of Cosmic Proportions. We fly to the same starting point as the first star.

39 - I go inside an orange pipe and appear inside a cube shaped room. I can run along one side, and then take a ramp and start running up the wall! It's so surreal. I grab a big coin and I start chasing some colored things around the room, as I grab each one, a note from the original underground Super Mario Bros. song plays. Simply awesome.

42 - A Luma warns me about a hungry star up ahead.

43 - Flying from planet to planet is amazing. I find the hungry Luma, he wants to eat 100 star bits! Unfortunately, I only have about 80, but am able to find the last few on the current planet I'm on. I feed him all the star bits and he gets fatter and fatter, until he transforms into a new planet!

46 - I immediately fly there and have to climb a mountain of sorts. Along the way, I refresh my wall jumping skills and save some time going up. Next up I fly to a giant capsule of sorts that looks nothing like a planet.

47 - Wow, the inside of the capsule has completely different gravity than the outside... and it flips between "up" and "down" depending on what color background you're against. This is... I really don't have words. Oops, I get crushed going for a 1-UP! The game starts me back outside the capsule.

49 - I make it to the top of the capsule and launch myself out of it to the level's star! Well, first I have to awkwardly collect a bunch of blue star pieces. Shine Get!

Super Mario Galaxy Giant Goomba

51 - One more star to pick up in this stage... or I could try out a new galaxy? Let's try something new now that I have three stars. Oh, I've opened up a brand new dome.

53 - Or not, as I can't find anything new. I'm a bit confused. I head back into the Terrace dome and fly to the Honeyhive Galaxy which requires three stars. Bee Mario takes Flight!

54 - A bee starts talking to me right away, nothing important to say though.

56 - Sweet, I unlock Mario's bee costume and begin zooming around. You can fly for a few seconds by holding A.

57 - Life as a bee is interesting, but perilous. I accidentally fly off a planet, thinking I would rotate around under it like some of the others. You also have to avoid water like the plague.

58 - I find the Queen Bee, she's gigantic and asks me to get some ticklish items off her back. You can crawl around her fur, and finding the pieces are easy. This creates a launcher behind her.

60 - Toad is on this final planet, and he's found a star for me! Looks like all these Toads were stranded here, and by rescuing them, they'll be in the hub world. Well, that's the end of the first hour Super Mario Galaxy!

Super Mario Galaxy Lava Volcano Blast

First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 4

Gameplay: Feels like how you would expect a 3D Mario to play: wonderfully.  Plus there's all the cool gravity twists Galaxy is throwing at me and I've barely scratched the game's surface.  Not sure if Bee Mario actually makes any sense in this game, but it handled well enough.  The rabbit catching part was also a bit obnoxious, and might be a bit difficult for the younger gamer.

Fun Factor: Actually pretty slow to really get moving, lots of dialogue for a Nintendo game, let alone a Mario game, and it's a solid 30 minutes until you can even start the first star.  The game was very fun when I was actually doing something.  The trend is generally when the gameplay is good and the pace of the game is at least average, one will have a fun time; Galaxy continues to confirm that notion.

Graphics and Sound: Super Mario Galaxy is gorgeous, particularly when flying from planet to planet.  And the music is an awesome collection of classic tales, I love the Super Mario Bros. 3 airship cameo.

Story: I'm kind of annoyed why Nintendo feels like their Mario games need such epic plots.  Just tell me I need to collect some stars and that will do.

Would I keep playing? Yes, this is undoubtedly the Mario game I've been waiting for, I just hope the rest of it isn't so chatty.