Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why I was disappointed with Mario Galaxy

For me the Super Mario games games can be divided in to two categories. You have the pre-N64 Marios and the post-N64 Marios. They are set apart by much more then the graphical jump from 2D to 3D. When our favorite plumber moved on to the N64 the gameplay completely changed. It was no longer about running from point A to point B while using the jump to overcome various obstacles along the way. Instead it became about exploring 3D environments and collecting stars. Where you before blew through a level as fast as possible you now returned to it over and over again to explore various aspects of it. The Mario games became less action oriented and more of adventure games.

Here my problem with the Galaxy games come in. I was expecting them to fit snugly in the the second category, I was expecting the exploration focused gameplay I had come to love in Mario 64 and Sunshine. This was what the Mario series now was to me and it was what I wanted from a Mario game.

But Galaxy 1 and later 2 were to fit better in the first category along with Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World. While the Galaxy games still offered extremely high quality platforming they were now super linear. Mario ran through a series of small planets until he reached his goal with no real possibility for exploration, not that unlike the original Mario games.

I can recognize Galaxy 1 and 2 as being extremely well made games and I did enjoy them but I still couldn't help being disappointed. I wanted something more along the line with Mario 64, I wanted them to use the power of the Wii to create even more intricate 3D environments for me to explore every little part of. Instead we got an action packed highly linear platformer. An excellent one for sure but for me an unwanted regression to the pre-N64 era of Mario design.