Super Mario Galaxy (Sniper)
Genre: 3d Platformer
The art style in Super Mario Galaxy is somewhat inconsistent and could have used more overall direction, such as what we see in other titles such as the beautiful Resident Evil 4, or Gears of War. There are occasionally some shockingly bad textures as well, such as the grass in the game's opening scene. But overall, the title is bright and colorful, and the engine has fantastic draw-in distance, which is pretty much a necessity given the expansive reaches in many of the levels.
Koji Kondo is back once again, but with one of his better soundtracks in many years; he still makes use of extremely simple, repetitive melodic structures, and he is still piggybacking off of melodies he wrote twenty years ago, but some of the themes and motifs conjure up space exploration and adventure in an appropriately Star Wars-esque way. Mario's grating high-pitched voice acting is given a more prominent role in this title, but the good soundtrack and nice sound effects mostly overrule these painful style aspects.
Core gameplay consists of the Super Mario 64 player physics and control scheme, but with levels that consist of many individual miniature planets which you can either rocket (using stage elements) or jump between. Each mini planet within a stage has its own theme, with some being like tiny, conventional 3d platformer stages, and others making up sequences of convention-bending, Wii-mote utilizing aspects. The game's pacing is a tad choppy due to the player being almost bludgeoned with a hodge-podge of gameplay dynamics in every level, but these same dynamics are at least original.
Super Mario Galaxy is the first 3d Mario title that plays exactly like the quasi puzzle-like 2d Mario games of yore; Nintendo has clearly gone back to the series' roots and decided to focus on platforming and utilizing the Wii's remote functionality to create new and interesting gameplay dynamics. Personally, I find the action adventure/exploration-oriented Super Mario 64 to be significantly more fun and engaging than this game, but fans of titles such as Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World will undoubtedly enjoy Super Mario Galaxy.