Dec 10, 2007
It’s not easy giving out scores like 10. It’s hard to be sure you’ve got it right. Imagine it like Star Trek’s warp drive: as we gingerly wrench the score lever past the 9 mark, the ship starts shaking and rattling; the alarms wail; your crew members exchange worried looks, visibly wondering if this is really a good idea.
But when we reviewed Super Mario Galaxy, we just knew. It’s a kind of combination of the visuals, the sounds, the level design, the challenges, that Nintendo near-cliché of inventing a new idea only to throw it away a few minutes later for an even better one. But, most of all, it’s not really any of these tangible elements. It’s just that indescribable buzz of simply having fun.
And now we’re one month on? By god, it’s somehow even better. Try going back to the opening Gateway Galaxy after you’ve finished the game. Taunt dozy Goombas; spin through flowerbeds; watch Mario’s reflection dance in icicles; see distant planets spin in the sky as the camera wheels around to keep up with you - it’s still incredible. Even these throwaway tutorial moments feel as exciting as though you’d only just switched the game on for the first time. Truly, only 10-scoring games can do that.
So what makes Galaxy feel so right? With around 100 hours of play under our belt since our review, we’re starting to see right into Galaxy, Neo-in-The-Matrix-like, and getting a deep understanding of why it’s the true heir to Super Mario 64’s crown. For one thing, it’s as mad as a box of lobsters. From Sea Slide’s impossible loop of hovering water to Toy Time’s utterly bananas asteroid belt of floating toys, cakes and school stationery, Nintendo’s Tokyo studio knows that the best way to impress you is by knocking your senses sideways.