Super Mario Galaxy
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Genre: Platform
Hands on at E3: The biggest star in the video game industry is making his presence felt at this years’ E3 Expo. Not only is he stealing the show on Super Mario Bros DS, Mario is paving the way for the next incarnation of true “next-gen” gameplay with his first venture on Nintendo Wii. In Super Mario Galaxy, a working title, the brilliant Miyamoto has our favorite plumber jumping from planet to planet, running in full 360, and utilizing the nunchuk attachment to guide our hero to victory in this brief E3 06 demo.
Do you remember the first time you picked up Super Mario 64? For the first time, players had to relearn how to control our little plumber and navigate around the 3D worlds. For the first time since then, players will have the same sort of initial reaction to the new Wii controller in Super Mario Galaxy. In your left hand, the nunchaku attachment is held. This is also used to move around via the analog stick, punch items by swinging the attachment, and crouching with the Z Trigger. In the right hand, players will hold the Wii Remote. This device acts as a “star cursor” on the screen and is what you use to interact with. The A button is also used to jump like in other Mario titles.
The new gameplay features are seen immediately in this demo. As Mario takes his first few steps in the world, a group of three bells appear over your head. If you use the Wii Remote, players can point and shake the cursor over the bells to ring them. This unlocks a secret. Other examples of utilizing the controller include standing in a bush and shaking the Wii Remote. This makes coins appear.
The demo features several small spherical worlds, like what has been seen in Ratchet & Clank in the past. Players can walk all around without fear of falling off. The gravity on each planet keeps you from falling. Once you locate a star location, simply shake the Wii Remote over your location and Mario will literally jump and fly to the next planet in the distance. Galaxy appears to have no draw-in issues and you can see all the planets very clearly in the distance.
Depending on which planets you visit in this demo, players will eventually encounter one of six bosses. The one I faced off against was a squid-like creature coming out of lava. You must avoid his fire boulders he spits out and wait for him to throw out green fruit. Once you see the green fruit, get close to it and shake the left nunchaku attachment. Instantly Mario will swing his Italian arms and knock the fruit back at the monster--smacking him in the head. After several hits and evading fire creatures he eventually throws out, the boss is defeated and you are left with a star. However, the demo ends there or when the player runs out of time.
Super Mario Galaxy features incredibly detailed graphics. While we aren’t talking Gears of War good, it is still very nice. Mario appears to be almost animated and his movements have never been this crisp or appear this exciting. Super Mario Galaxy is a return to what Miyamoto did with Mario 64. Utilizing this technology, it appears he will bring the franchise back to its roots--leaving the last Mario Sunshine mechanics behind--and giving players a title that will be easy to pick up and impossible to ever put down. Even though this demo is relatively short, I find that this game is among the very best E3 2006 has to offer. While it is only the first day of the show, I doubt I will find a game that is more fun or enjoyable than Super Mario Galaxy.
If this is a sign of things to come for Nintendo Wii, I am in. Heck, if I can play more of this game, I will even stop making fun of the name! Yes, Mario is this good. So forget how much you hate the name of the console and remember the gameplay that will make you remember why we love games in the first place.