Super Mario Galaxy takes place in space, high above the Mushroom Kingdom. As Mario arrives at the centennial Star Festival, Bowser and his armada of airships attack, bringing destruction down upon the kingdom and physically lifting Peach's castle into the heavens. Mario attempts to rescue the Princess, only to lose track of her as he too is sent soaring into the universe. Mario eventually meets a woman named Rosalina, self-titled "watcher of the stars," who lives in her enormous flying observatory, traveling the cosmos with her friendly star children, the Lumas. Mario is tasked with restoring power to the observatory, and is promised that once he does this, he'll be given a ride to the center of the universe, where Princess Peach is being held by Bowser. In order to restore power to the observatory, Mario must travel to neighboring galaxies and explore the planets found within to locate power stars. As these power stars are returned, further galaxies and special stages are unlocked, providing some of the most unique and inventive level design in the history of the franchise.
Super Mario Galaxy controls essentially like Super Mario 64, with the addition of a spin mechanic, which is performed by shaking the Wii Remote. Spinning Mario not only produces an effective all-purpose attack, but is also used to activate certain level design features, launch from star catapults, provide a quick boost of speed underwater, and more. The game makes intelligent use of gravity, providing each celestial body in the game with a different gravity field of various strengths, allowing Mario to physically jump from one planet to the next in certain situations. Galaxy also makes the series' first use of a live orchestral soundtrack. Specific elements of gameplay are detailed below.
A new gameplay mechanic, Black Holes force Mario or Luigi's death where it may otherwise seem they would be able to live, particularly when falling into spaces at the center of planetoids and other planet-like platforms and objects. Black Holes also exist in the larger traditional levels so that players who fall of the edge do not fall aimlessly into space for eternity.
Coins in Super Mario Galaxy take a back seat to Star Bits as the main currency in the game, but do have several uses. Most importantly, coins restore lost health and fill up the air meter when underwater as they did in previous 3D Mario games. Coins no longer earn Stars and are not tracked as a major statistic by the game. Collecting 50 Coins earns a 1-UP. There are also purple coins that, when collected in a certain level, gives you a Power Star. These are missions given by comets and are considered one of the most challenging aspects of the game.
Co-Star Mode allows a second player to cooperatively interact with Star Bits, enemies, and Mario and Luigi in the main single player game. Star Bits can be collected by the second player using the Star Cursor, and then shot at enemies and Mario or Luigi to stun them momentarily. Star Bits will also affect some platform elements in the game, such as rotating yellow tiles and disappearing green tiles that appear in several levels.
Similar to previous games, Mario and Luigi can use the Ground Pound move to kill or stun most enemies, trigger switches, break blocks, and hasten death when falling a great distance. Performing a Ground Pound while in the middle of a mid-air Spin Attack performs a homing Super Ground Pound on the nearest enemy.
Mario and Luigi's health meter is segmented into three equal parts by default. When the player touches an enemy, lava, fire, or steam, one segment of the health meter is deducted. Standing in freezing water or staying underwater after the air meter is depleted deducts one health segment every few seconds until the players health is depleted entirely. Coins replenish the health meter, one coin for each segment.
There is a power up available in some levels that increase the health meter's segments to a total of six. When this enhanced health meter has been depleted to three remaining segments, the health meter returns to its default state of three segments.
Another new move for Mario and Luigi, some objects can be grabbed using the Star Cursor in context-sensitive situations. The Star Cursor can be placed over some objects or enemies which will turn it into a miniature depiction of Mario's gloved-hand, and the player can then press 'A' to grab the object. These objects include Pull Stars, Sling Pods, and the Bomb Boos enemies from the Bouldergeist boss battle in the Ghostly Galaxy.
Pull Stars are small objects that appear in some levels and enable Mario and Luigi to navigate through large stretches of open space from one point to another. Placing the Star Cursor directly over them and pressing and holding the 'A' button appropriately pulls the player towards the Pull Star. Additional Pull Stars are usually near by, and can be used in succession to move the player to the nearest platform or landmass.
Moving the Star Cursor too far away from the Pull Star while hold 'A' or letting go of the 'A' button will allow the player to drop back to the nearest gravity source or will drop them into the black hole below to their death if no gravity source is nearby.
Comparable to an un-aimable cannon, Sling Stars shoot Mario and Luigi varying distances throughout a level, most often used to move from the many small planetoids than make up the non-traditional levels. Sling Stars are enabled by jumping into the middle of them, and then performing a Spin Attack maneuver.
Sling Pods are large, sticky, elastic grey hands located primarily in the Sling Pod galaxy. They work like a sling shot and are used via Mario and Luigi's context sensitive grab mechanic to aim and shoot the player from one point to another.
New to Mario 3D platformers, the spin attack adds several significant gameplay strategies. Through a quick lateral flick of the Wii Remote, players can stun enemies and send them spinning (running into, jumping onto, or ground stomping on them then kills), activate Sling Stars, pull-in nearby coins and Star Bits, and extend jumps mid-air to collect coins from dangerous or high places, and save ones-self from falling undesirably.
There are a total of 121 unique Stars that are earned by completing objectives within each galaxy. Most objectives are met by reaching a goal point set at the end of an obstacle ridden-path or by collecting 100 Purple Coins. Unlike Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine, collecting 100 Coins is not rewarded with a Star.
Collecting 120 Stars with Mario unlocks Luigi as a second playable character. Collecting 120 stars with Luigi unlocks the Grand Finale Galaxy on the Planet of Trials, which contains the 121st star. This final star can be collected by both Mario and Luigi, making the total number of possible stars on a game save 242. A picture and congratulatory note is sent as reward to the player's Wii Message Board after collecting the 121st star. While the note is the same, collecting the star with Mario and Luigi earns unique pictures.
Star Bits are the main currency of Super Mario Galaxy. Mario and Luigi can collect Star Bits by running over them as item collecting is done in most traditional platformers, or by using the Star Cursor to pick up Star Bits that are visible anywhere on the screen regardless of Mario or Luigi's proximity to them.
Collecting 9999 Star Bits turns all of the coconuts in the game into watermelons. Collecting 50 Star Bits earns a 1-UP.
Throughout the game, the Wii Remote can be used as a pointing device with several purposes; collecting Star Bits, aiming to shoot Star Bits, grabbing Pull Stars, and grabbing certain enemies. Moving the Star Cursor over enemies also plays musical notes that change pitch in sync with the game's music.
The story in Super Mario Galaxy can be completed once 60 Power Stars have been collected (or up to 121, if you like). Speaking to Rosalina after collecting the 60th Star (in any order you like) opens up the final Bowser level "at the center of the Universe" (or in this case, Bowser's Galaxy Reactor). After completing the final fight with Bowser and when you get the 7th and final Grand Star, the ending cinema and credits play, and then the player is prompted to save their game and can load this save to continue collecting the remaining Stars.
If all 120 Stars are collected as Mario, then after the credits, you'll see a special ending starring Rosalina telling the player thanks for all the hard work that you've done in the game and you'll be able to play as Luigi after you save your game. Then if 120 of them are collected as Luigi, then you'll see the same thing but this time after you save, Mario and Luigi can get the 121st and final Star.
There are sixteen unique bosses in Super Mario Galaxy. Total number of appearances is noted in parenthesis, including the Comet variances.
Total Stars per Galaxy are listed in parenthesis.
Requirements for Luma availability and approximate location is listed in parenthesis.
Mahito Yokota, who was in charge of the composition of the music, originally intended the game's soundtrack to have a Latin Style because Latin percussion had been used in previous Mario games. Yokota used Latin instruments and a synthesizer to create a sci-fi sound for the Super Mario Galaxy theme and was approved by the game's designer, Yoshiaki Koizumi, but when presented to Koji Kondo, he said the song was no good. Three months later, Yokota produced three different styles of music for the game and presented them to Shigeru Miyamoto. One piece had an orchestral sound, the second was a mix of orchestral sound and pop music and the final was pop music. Shigeru Miyamoto chose the orchestral piece which Koji Kondo wrote. From then on, it was decided that Super Mario Galaxy's soundtrack would be composed for a symphony which is performed by the Mario Galaxy Orchestra.
Some of the stages incorporated brand new scores specially for the game while older themes were implemented in other stages.
A soundtrack to the game was released on January 24 2008 in Japan and was an exclusive to Club Nintendo subscribers only. Two versions were produced. A standard version which included one disc holding 67 minutes of music from the game and a Platinum Edition which had two discs, the first disc containing the same music from the standard version in addition to a second disc which added an extra 62 minutes of music from the game. The track listing is as follows:
|#||Japanese title||English title||Length|
|2.||????||The Star Festival||1:29|
|3.||????????||Attack of the Airships||1:19|
|5.||?????????||Peach's Castle Stolen||0:32|
|6.||Into the Galaxy||Enter the Galaxy||1:25|
|8.||????????1||Rosalina in the Observatory 1||2:27|
|10.||?????????||Space Junk Road||3:21|
|12.||??????||Beach Bowl Galaxy||2:21|
|13.||????????2||Rosalina in the Observatory 2||2:24|
|14.||???Jr.??||Enter Bowser Jr.!||2:54|
|15.||??????||Waltz of the Boos||2:42|
|16.||????????||Buoy Base Galaxy||3:11|
|17.||????????||Gusty Garden Galaxy||3:44|
|18.||????????3||Rosalina in the Observatory 3||2:44|
|20.||????????||Melty Molten Galaxy||4:08|
|21.||??????????||The Galaxy Reactor||2:27|
|22.||??????||Final Battle with Bowser||2:25|
|23.||?????????||Daybreak - A New Dawn||0:56|
|25.||Super Mario Galaxy||Super Mario Galaxy||4:03|
|27.||????????||Blue Sky Athletic||1:10|
|28.||???????2007||Super Mario 2007||2:19|
|#||Japanese title||English title||Length|
|4.||????????????||Stolen Grand Star||0:35|
|5.||?????????1||To the Observatory Grounds 1||0:45|
|9.||??????????||A Chance to Grab a Star!||0:55|
|10.||??||A Tense Moment||0:41|
|11.||??????????||Big Bad Bugaboom||1:58|
|13.||???????||The Toad Brigade||0:41|
|18.||?????????2||To the Observatory Grounds 2||0:30|
|21.||??????????||Beach Bowl Galaxy - Undersea||1:31|
|23.||??????||Bowser's Stronghold Appears||0:52|
|24.||???????||The Fiery Stronghold||2:11|
|25.||???||The Big Staircase||0:36|
|29.||????????????||Buoy Base Galaxy - Undersea||1:55|
|31.||??????????||Chase the Bunnies!||1:07|
|36.||???????||Drip Drop Galaxy||1:19|
|43.||????????||Dusty Dune Galaxy||3:04|
|44.||?????????||Heavy Metal Mecha-Bowser||1:23|
|46.||????????||Deep Dark Galaxy||1:43|
|48.||????2||Star Ball 2||0:42|
Super Mario Galaxy received universal acclaim and commercial success. As of April 2012, the game sold 10.68 million copies worldwide.
Super Mario Galaxy is one of the highest rated games of all time, becoming the first game to top The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, albeit temporarily, on GameRankings.com. Critics stated that the game had beautiful graphics, fluid animation work, simplified and responsive gameplay and controls, innovative level designs, an orchestral soundtrack, and a steady difficulty curve, as well as universal appeal. Reggie Fils-Amis hailed "Galaxy" as the "first worthy successor to 'Mario 64'"; IGN.com concurred with this claim, while G4TV argued that Super Mario Galaxy is in fact the superior game. Play Magazine exalted "Galaxy" as the most profound installment since the original "Super Mario Bros.," and PALGN stated that "Galaxy" is the finest game Nintendo have produced this decade.
Common criticisms include its easy difficulty during the first half of the game. GameShark.com argued that the creativity and brilliance of the opening salvos fails to be retained in the latter half, while Ben "Yahtzee" Crowshaw of "Zero Punctuation" retorted that "Galaxy's" attempts at being unique, via its gravity effects and circular landscapes, interferes with the core gameplay, and that the Wii Remote does not contribute to an overall better control scheme over a GameCube controller.
Galaxy won several Game of the Year awards, from publications such as Gamespot, IGN, Gametrailers and Nintendo Power, and was also nominated for Giant Bomb's '2008's 2007 Game Of The Year', as well as the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences award for Game of the Year.
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