Nintendo has been met with a fair share of skepticism from both gamers and critics alike ever since the unveiling of its' “little console that could,” the Wii. Notorious for designing controllers around their titular character's adventures with the launch of each console (remember the trident controller from the N64 era? Blame Mario) and coupled with the fact that the wiimote's full potential has yet to be unlocked (Metroid Prime 3 notwithstanding), many worried that this newest adventure simply wouldn't hold a candle to Super Mario 64 or do the wiimote justice. Those worries, thankfully, are completely unnecessary.
It's the annual comet festival and the Mushroom Kingdom is once again caught off guard by Bowser who wreaks havoc on the area and kidnaps Princess Peach. Armed with flying ships, magikoopas and a fleet of alien spaceships, Bowser comes up with the creative idea to literally rip Peach's castle from the ground, hoisting it away into space and blasting Mario with a powerful spell that sends him flying to a nearby planetoid. It is only there where he meets the celestial being Rosalina who allows him to use her spaceship to navigate the galaxy with the promise that he will rescue her star friends.
The story is simple and predictable enough that it won't win any awards, but the production values are certainly high, especially after Super Mario Sunshine's disappointing CGI rendered cinematics. In fact, Galaxy attempts to right all the wrongs made by 2002's Sunshine, often considered a drastic, somewhat jarring side story to the Mario canon. Nintendo CEO Reggie Fils-Aime has even made bold claims that Galaxy is the proper sequel to Mario 64.
But bold claims have turned into welcome realities as the game proves to be everything Sunshine should have been and more. This is the true sequel to Mario 64 and its influence can be seen and felt in every corner of the Galaxy universe. Once again you must traverse over 40 worlds (now called galaxies) and acquire star sprites in the hopes of rescuing Peach from the clutches of Bower's army.
The original Super Mario Bros. came at a time when Atari had ran the industry into the ground, releasing games that were not of high quality or substance. It saved the industry from its' own destruction. Super Mario World came at a time when the industry was ready for an upgrade from the 8-bit days, Super Mario 64 taught industry leaders how to properly take the next step: 3D, and laid the groundwork for what was to come. Super Mario Sunshine, while a great game, was not what many were expecting and made the wait for a true sequel to the N64 classic all the more unbearable.
Finally, in 2007, Galaxy has graced our presence and reminded us what it means to have fun with a video game once again. In an era of complicated controls, an overuse of buttons, long-winded cinematics, and an overall bloated gaming experience, Mario has brought it back to basics, reinvigorated the once dead platformer genre, and has reminded everyone what it means to be a video game all over again.