The Super Mario series needs no introduction. After 30 years of busting blocks, and stomping turtles, Mario has become a household name. This status shows in full force in Super Smash Bros. The Super Mario series has nine characters to its name. Which made choosing a game to play very hard. I could knock out a good chunk of them with one title. There’s basically no way around doing that. So I decided to choose the game that best represented them all around. Super Mario Galaxy.
Super Mario Galaxy is probably a game you need me to tell you nothing about. I’ll discuss it a little bit anyway. The third 3D Platformer of the franchise, Mario Galaxy shifted the way the series was going entirely. Super Mario 64, and Sunshine, were open-world sandboxes. The games locked off a lot, and guided you thoroughly, but there wasn’t a direct point A to point B formula. Many loved this change, just as many hated, I stand somewhere in the middle.
Super Mario Galaxy takes full advantage of the Wii’s unique controls. Being one of the rare games to use a Wii Mote and Nunchuck combo. I couldn’t imagine playing the game without an analog stick. Controls were fluid, responsive, and fun. Nintendo brought their A-game with this adventure.
Mario isn’t just restrained to Peach’s Castle or even the planet. He now roams the galaxy using Rosalina’s Comet Observatory starship. A decent hub world in my opinion. Sometimes traversing it was a bit confusing, but as time went on that issue faded. The new starry stage allowed Nintendo to try out a bunch of new toys.
Mario is now equipped with a spin move, performed by flicking the Wii Mote, an interesting maneuver that serves as an attack and a second jump. Galaxy still uses the health bars of 64, and Sunshine, which can be refilled by collecting coins. Star Bits also serve as a second collectible. You can feed them to hungry Luma’s, a new species that takes center stage, and earn extra lives. You can also shoot Star Bits to stun enemies, and dig coins out of the ground.
Super Mario Galaxy features items that are very similar to the 2D game’s power-ups. Including the iconic Fire Flower and Invincibility Star. Galaxy includes multiple new forms. Bee Mario can fly for a short time, Boo Mario can turn invisible, Ice Mario can skate around on water, and Flying Mario can… eat ten thousand Big Mac’s without becoming a diabetic, obviously.
Mario Galaxy features a whole host of boss fights. A couple of them were annoying, but most of them were an absolute treat. Every time I would come across a new boss I’d get excited. Patterns were a bit too easy to decipher, but I can’t fault the game for it. I’d take something like this over the Koopalings any day of the week. Even over the Broodals 10 times out of 10.
Super Mario Galaxy takes full advantage of it’s setting. Every new galaxy feels different from the last. A couple feel reminiscent of past galaxies, but never like a copy and paste. It made my play-through that much better. It’s a beautiful game, and I’m not sure how to properly illustrate that.
The music is almost as good as the graphics. Koji Kondo really outdoes himself with this soundtrack. He is THE guy for Mario music, since the beginning, the man has created dozens of recognizable themes. The music for this game has been in my head for years, and will probably continue to be for more.
The pointer controls took a long time to get used to. Collecting Star Bits was hard at first, but come the end of my journey, it was second nature. The game felt very short, but back in the day, I had bought it for $20 as a Nintendo Select. You can pick it up for super cheap now. The oddest thing to me is how bad some galaxies were. I absolutely couldn’t enjoy Dusty Dune Galaxy for some reason. The entire thing was a slog. Some of the others don’t stick out in my head, at least.
I loved Super Mario Galaxy. It was absolutely worth the time investment I put into it for this review. It’s incredibly linear, but uses that to its advantage. A beautiful experience with wonderful level design, music, and controls. I can’t recommend this game anymore to the three people who haven’t played it yet.
So how well does Smash represent the Mario series? The Super Mario series has some of the most representation in the game. Multiple stages, over a hundred music tracks, and probably just as many spirits as music tracks. Mario is Nintendo’s golden boy, and Smash only hammers in that point.
Mario himself doesn’t take much from this game. As part of the original 12 his moveset was mostly created for Smash. It features a lot of new additions from the years. Brawl skipped out from giving him updates from Galaxy. That’s pretty fair all things considered. Mario is the archetype people think of when they think “Smash fighter”. He’s in a league of his own in the series.
Peach also doesn’t really take anything from this game. She primarily takes from Super Mario Bros. 2. Her only playable appearance at the time of Melee. Peach hasn’t changed a lot since Melee, but she certainly is a standout among the roster. I don’t have much to say, she doesn’t really do a lot in the Mario series itself.
If anything Bowser in Super Mario Galaxy is inspired by the Bowser of Smash. Bowser’s character was solidified in the Gamecube era with the help of Mario spinoffs, and Melee. Except for his size for some reason. Guess the Mario series just haven’t got their proportions down yet.
Rosalina & Luma first appear in Super Mario Galaxy. Their moveset is entirely based upon this game. From the Launch Star recovery to the spin down-special. Rosalina & Luma are an archetype usually referred to as the “puppet fighter”, where one player controls two fighters, Rosalina & Luma are unique even among Smash’s two puppet fighters. Her design is a complete love letter to this game. Her inclusion in Smash solidified her place as a Mario mainstay.
Bowser Jr doesn’t really do a lot in Galaxy. He really just hovers in his ship in boss fighters. Good thing that he only sticks in his clown-car in Smash. I feel like this character was a huge missed opportunity, but there’s not much else I can really say otherwise. He’s unique as the only character to have no alternate colors. Instead, he has seven alternate costumes for each of the Koopalings. An interesting concept, but I would not have done it the same way.
Piranha Plant is very prominent in Super Mario Galaxy. He doesn’t take anything from this game explicitly in Smash, but he’s constantly around regardless. He’s a unique type of character in Smash. Having many traps he can set, but also being reliant on an aggressive play-style. He was Ultimate’s first DLC character. If he is setting a precedent of the future to come, we’ll find out soon.