Super Mario Galaxy may not be out for a while yet, but that hasn’t stopped Nintendo showing it off at various press events. We got our hands on it in London a few months ago and were really impressed with what we saw. As much as Nintendo are pushing the Wii as a system that will attract new people to gaming, they have also made a promise that it will have a whole host of titles that seasoned gamers will want to snap up in an instant. Established franchises are popping up all over the place on the Wii from Excitetruck to Metroid, Mario and Zelda; and you don’t get much more established than a little red plumber jumping around in a platform game.

Mario goes back over twenty years now and his debut on the Wii promises to be one of his most exciting outings to date. Using the Nunchuck in combination with the main Wii controller this latest iteration of the franchise is both innovative and familiar. The demo starts out on a small grassy plain, giving you ample room to have a little play about with the Wii control system. Jumping, running and a whole host of actions are done using traditional button combinations, but a special spin attack is done entirely using the motion sensitivity of the controls. All you have to do is spin the controller around and Mario starts spinning. You can do this to get coins out of bushes and to hit enemies but best of all to catapult Mario out of special boost-points that send him from one little plant to the next.

Mario in space is a rather bizarre combination and he certainly isn’t there to fix the plumbing! The aforementioned star-boost points are angled off in all sorts of directions and all you have to do is jump into one and spin the controller, sending you flying through the glorious void of space before landing on the next planet. This innovative and tremendously fun use of the Wii control system really makes the game. Before long we found ourselves doing it with an artistic flourish and a flick of the wrist, as we got more and more involved and enchanted by this fantastic title.

You also use the Wii-mote to pick up star-shards – tiny little lumps of brightly coloured rock that are all over the place. These are collected by pointing the little star icon at them and then pressing the B trigger. Soon you find yourself whizzing around the latest Mario universe like a professional, flying from planet to planet, picking up star shards and pummelling enemies with your effervescent spin attack. Rarely does a videogame get us this excited.

There are two routes to take during the demo, by either choosing left or right about half way through. One way leads you into battle against a very cranky lava-spitting squid-type-thing; the other pits you against a humungous bomb-launching robot. The choice, as they say, is yours. Choosing the former involves heavy use of the spin attack, which is great news as far as we’re concerned. This boss spits green balls at you (don’t ask…), which you have to use your spin attack to hit back at him. You have to hit him (or he might be a she?) three times with the same ball, in a sort of strange rally, then he gets more mad, spewing lots of lava at you – repeat the rally process and collect the big shiny star at the end. Pick the other boss and you have to run around trying to get bombs to smash into a special little pod that will enable you to defeat the large robot creation. Mario at its wackiest and most challenging best.

Graphically this game is outstanding and there are some lovely sound effects hidden in there as well. Admittedly we couldn’t hear much above the stupidly loud music on the show floor but what we could hear was fun, easy on the ears and really well done. In terms of looks, this game is one of the best we have seen on the Wii so far. The colours are really vivid and rich, the animation is slick and extremly accurate and all the sparkle and the perfection that you expect from a game of this calibre is present and correct.

We were expecting Mario Galaxy to be a bit of a mixed bunch, but what we got was one of the most impressive experiences on the Wii, with a conventional game. The control system fits in seamlessly and having the little Italian stallion running around and flying through space opens up a whole new dimension to the series. With this title, Nintendo have proved that more conventional games can be reinvented and revamped on the Wii with outstanding results. It was always going to be a huge game for the console, but it might also be a classic in the making. Wii can’t wait for more [Fired! -Ed]

Originally Written By: James Temperton

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