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I'm up to 15 stars, and I thought I'd write to give my first impressions.

First off, last month I was playing a little bit of Mario 64 in preparation for Galaxy. When I played through the first area, with 2 generations of gaming later eyes, I was amazed at the genius of the game and level design. I realized no one had done anything like this and they nailed it. How Mario's abilities allow him to navigate a 3D world to complete certain objects. And some objectives were only possible to complete because the game was in a 3D world. For instance, on one stage you have to use a cannon to launch yourself on to a platform to obtain a Star. The way you get on the platform is to aim at a wall, which will stop your flight, to land on the platform. Otherwise you would just fly right over. Thinking about this blow my mind. It may sound simple to today's standards. In fact, it was quite intricate, using a mix of physics and enviroment to complete a task. The game also gave you stages with an open environment. You were free to roam around, giving a Mario game a sense of adventure. Super Mario Sunshine did pretty much more of the same, with a Super Soaker on Mario's back. I enjoyed playing through that game. I also enjoyed many of the stages, like the haunted hotel. However, just like Mario 64 caused the gaming industry to clone its style to pieces, Mario Sunshine was pretty much the same This point is important when comparing Mario Galaxy to 3D Action/Platformers to date, and more importantly Mario 64.

I know you been hearing all over "Galaxy is the true successor to Mario 64." Let me tell, in truth, it is more of the same. . .

More of the same of the orginal Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario Brothers 3, and Super Mario World. Galaxy, in my opinion, is the true successor to those games. Here's why. . .

Mario 64 was a game with open ended environments. You explore them and you use your jump abilities to reach higher ground to further explore the level (with the exception of boss stages, which were pure Platform). You had freedom to roam, to find the star you needed. On the other hand, Galaxy is old school jump over this, jump here, race to the end of the stage, complete. It is linear like the old Mario games. These days most people are like "oh no linear!" However what makes it different, you platform up side down and have other crazy scenarios because of the nature of planet/gravity aspect. It is not the first well designed 3D Action/Platform to do this.

There is a game called Pyschonauts that did the same thing, and the stages are even linear too. There is like no one that has played that game. Funny when I saw the Zero Punctuation review, I was like he was dead on. Make it your mission to play this game.

Not to take anything away from Galaxy. Psychonauts' pace is a lot slower, since there is a interesting story, with good voice acting, and entertaining dialogue. Then there are some RPG elements in the game. So, yeah, the game is quite different overall. Anyway, my point is Galaxy is better than Psychonauts, and I think Nintendo was going for a more retro Mario game.

The pacing is quick, and the levels are just the right length. Should take the average person 5-15 minutes to complete the early stages. The game is Action/Platform heavy with old school stomping on Gomba fun. The difficulty is just right. And I think I am having a little more trouble since my platform skills are rusty. There are plenty of extra life mushrooms around, and I see why. I blew through 26 lives, mostly on a bonus stage, the last 3 were on the boss stage I'm at, the 3rd one. Very cool stage, and who you face is a total surprise, and I dunno the boss is a pain the ass. The previous bosses are a walk in the park though. So there is a nice balance. Everything is not a walk in a park, just like the original all the way to World.

Even though its a race to the end of the stage for the most part to complete the objective, there is still that Mario 64ness of getting a star, going back to level to get another star, level is slightly changed. Certainly not a bad thing, since it keeps things interesting, seeing new parts of a stage.

Now here is the kicker. Star progression is a little different, and "harder". In Mario 64, and Sunshine, you got a star/shine on a stage. You go back in and you have a new objective, usually with the level changed. You could even disregard the mission you were on if and collect another star/shine you may see. In Galaxy, you will see 3 stars to get on the main stages. I saw this and got confused because there is either a ton of stages, or I'm missing something here. So I went to gamefaqs to investigate. Turns out the other stars are hidden, and others a comet randomly appears at a stage. The prankster comet missions I have tried one. Basically, they are challenge type missions. The one I tried I had to complete a previous mission, where I had to get to the end of the stage, beat the boss, in 4 minutes. They changed parts of the original stage too. . . I failed. Interesting aspect I think.

The whole getting all 121 stars seems like a real challenge with the hidden star aspect, especially if you do not use a guide.

Plenty of power ups in the game too. Good to have the Fire Flower back, and Starman.

Last the music is kick ass. I gotta get me the OST. Original music, plus tunes from previous installments. The music though really adds to the stages. Its like you launch your self to the level, Mario lands and its like BOOM "Welcome to the Galaxy" appears in the screen, and it cues to some epic orchestrated piece of music that is in a style never heard in a Mario game. Hell any Nintendo game period, even Zelda. Anyway the music gets you pumped.

Alright going to play some more. If anything worth noting comes up, I will write some more.

I picked this up last night too, its a fantastic game. At first I didn't like the whole "point at shit to pick it up" thing with the wii remote, but once I stopped fighting it the whole game just clicked. The controls are spot on, and the goals for each level are varied and enjoyable. Each stage goes by pretty quickly, so you're never bored or stuck on some irritating part, and the gameplay is really engaging.

The sound is excellent, with an awesome musical score, even some themes from previous games such as the Airship theme from SMB3 and the Underground song from SMB make appearances in fully orchrestrated glory. The graphics are an actual showcase for what the Wii can do as well, everything looks soft and smooth, with a rich, vibrant color palette for every stage. If only every (or hell,m even a handful of) Wii game had this amount of love in it!
I just gotta add that this game is pretty much perfect. I would say its even worth the price of admission for a Wii just to play it. mario.gif
Yeah. I'm at 56 stars right now (took a break yesterday). I love how they have something for everyone. Like 60 stars to complete the game for the more casual. Collect 120 for the hardcore. Collect 121 for the devoted hardcore gamer. I can't wait until months from now when people start doing speed runs to 120.
I'll throw in a review. The game is simply amazing, the story, the graphics, music, gameplay, everything. For a game that looks so damn complex, it's amazingly simple, I very seldom have any control issues. As the other two have said, the music rocks, i'm partial to the dreadnaut music. Way sick.

The graphics are very clean, and every time you meet up with a certain baddie, he always looks awesome, and lets you know an epic showdown is about to take place. They also take advantage of the motion control pretty well. They don't do it so much that it's repetitive, it's comfortable when you need to use it. (Unless you're collecting star bits.) My one complaint lies in stage time. As scan mentioned, they usually range between 5-15 minutes, but once you get in the zone, they rarely go beyond 10. I was kind of hoping by this point in the game some of the stages would get a bit longer. fortunetly some definetly got harder. (Fuck you Toy map purple comet!)

In any case, I imagine all of you would be able to easily get the first 60 stars to beat the game, and i'm sure most of your can get the 120/1. When I picked the controller back up 12 hours ago, I had about 33 stars, ended my night with 108. I'll get the last of em before work! If you have a Wii, I should think you'll be wanting this game, I can firmly say this game is the shit.

mario.gif mario.gif mario.gif mario.gif mario.gif / 5!

For those playing, let's chat some! The mini-games can be a huge frustration. I hate the manta ray and monkey ball shit. The bubble thing is cool, I can dig that.
I love the purple coins. I been getting those out the way. Its a good mix of easy to hard to ima break the wiimote in half. Its refreshing to play something with old school "throw the controller against the wall" difficulty. The only other game that comes to mind is Devil May Cry 3.

Anyway this game does have its challenging moments. I think it has a nice balance with the difficult range. Keeps you on your toes because you do not know what to expect.
The fire stage in the last observatory had a really difficult purple coin challenge. I just kept making stupid mistakes, and landing in firey magma never ends well. :(
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