It is finally time to cover the third and final game in the Super Mario 3D All Stars collection on the Nintendo Switch. That game is Super Mario Galaxy, an early Wii game where Super Mario’s adventures are in space. I remember hearing about it in early college, and picked it up when it was new to see if it was any good. While I was somewhat skeptical of the Wii at the time, I remember liking this game a fair amount. Now let’s see how it holds out.
Before I begin, if you were looking for the other two games in this collection, follow the two links below:
- Review: Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Part 1: Super Mario 64 (Switch)
- Review: Super Mario 3D All Stars, Part 2: Super Mario Sunshine (Switch)
The Wii was known for popularizing motion controls in home consoles, so there is the potential issue of it not translating well in this Nintendo Switch port. This game originally used the Wii remote with the nunchuck attachment, but thankfully, you have the choice of Joy Cons, the pro controller, or handheld mode on the Switch. Better yet, Mario’s spin move is now mapped to the Y button for easy access (the original required the player to shake the controller to perform this action).
The motion controls in Super Mario Galaxy were used mostly to point at star bits to collect them, though there were some stage related gimmicks that required more precise movements, sometimes to move Mario around. I played entirely with the pro controller (my Joy Cons drift), and its motion controls worked well for most parts of the game. I did have to recenter the orientation with the R button somewhat often, but most of the game didn’t require constant use of the motion controls. There are two major exceptions, notably manta ray surfing and when Mario tries to balance on a ball, but if you just want to finish the game, you can skip these few levels. It is my understanding that gathering star bits in handheld mode requires the use of the touch screen, so that is the least recommended way to play. The joy cons might offer an experience closest to the original Wii version of the game.
A good chunk of the game is Mario shooting from star launchers from tiny planet to tiny planet, and often, the gravity allows you to walk on every surface of these short level segments. There are some portions where you can fall off into a black hole, but otherwise Mario can move on all sides of the planet he is on. This can sometimes be disorienting, and can lead to sweaty palms from tricky platforming. Luckily, the game doesn’t make this too difficult, as it is forgiving enough for players to get used to the new gravity mechanics.
Like the previous two games in this collection, finishing a level requires finding a star at the end of it. As you gather more stars, more levels become available, and most of them have around three stars. These stars are usually gained in order, though a hidden star is in many levels that you can get if you simply find it. There is also another star that shows up when the game decides to make a comet orbit the level. These add an additional challenge to the level, such as a time limit, a race with shadow Mario, or to complete the level with only one health point. You won’t have any control when these comets are attached to a level, but these are optional challenges anyway.
This form of progression is a nice blend of linearity and freedom. There are enough stars in each level that a return trip may be necessary, but you do not need all of them to open up the next stage. Late in the game, you will need to gather a specific number of stars to reach the final level, and there is a fair amount of freedom at that point that you can avoid tougher challenges. To top it off, each level changes at least a little bit when you pursue a different star than the previous one, so it doesn’t get as repetitive as Mario 64 or Mario Sunshine. There are plenty of planets to choose from as well, so the game has tons of variety.
There are a few odd quirks to this game though. For starters, the game uses the lives system, which is a little outdated in this day and age. Oddly, after you progress far enough into the game, you will get 5 free lives whenever you start the game up again by talking to an NPC. At that point, you would figure the game could just give you more starting lives, instead of simply picking them up every time. The game saves after every star, so running out of lives simply demands that you restart the level at the start, as opposed to whatever checkpoint you reached last if you simply lost one life.
There is also a rare but very awkward powerup found in a few levels, which makes Mario jump uncontrollably. It isn’t impossible to deal with, but it takes a lot of fun out of navigating this portion of the game. Other than that, you just have to watch out for the manta ray surfing and balance ball levels, which rely too much on motion controls to clear reliably, but as stated earlier, you can skip these stages.
Overall, Super Mario Galaxy is a fun experience full of polished 3D platforming, an epic soundtrack, and a surprising amount of story for a Mario game. There is a lot of variety in environments, and no wrong way to play the game. This game aged quite well, with fewer flaws than its predecessors.
- Get used to the controls early, and pick a controller you are most comfortable with.
- Gather star bits, they are fun to acquire, give extra lives, and can lead to completion.
- Try all sorts of levels as you play this game.
- Unless you want to master this game, avoid the motion-controlled levels.
- Extremely persistent players will want all the stars. Be sure to attempt the comet levels when they show up if this is your goal.
- If you get all the stars, you get to replay the whole game again as Luigi.
- Getting all the stars as Luigi is a lengthy process, and should be done only by the most dedicated players.
- Game maps the spin action to the Y button.
- Solid graphics.
- Epic music and sound effects.
- Tight 3D platforming.
- Good variety in repeat stages.
- Some motion controls are very awkward, but avoidable.
- completion is a lengthy process.
8.6/10 A Great 3D Platformer
Super Mario Galaxy has a ton of variety in locations and gameplay. Much of the game feels quite modern, despite some motion control-based hiccups. The game does feel more linear than Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, but it leads to a smoother experience in the end. Some players may consider a score from 8.1-8.9 to be more accurate, based on taste.
And that is what I thought of Super Mario Galaxy. What did you make of this game? Did you complete the game, or just finish it? Do you have a favorite level? How well did the motion controls work for you? Let me know all this in the comments below! If you enjoyed this review, then click that like button and share on social media! To keep up with That’s All Games, you can subscribe via email or WordPress. Until next time, have fun gaming!