Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Parent Review): A surprising history lesson

Nintendo /
3 of 4
Super Mario 3D All-Stars - Super Mario Galaxy
Nintendo /

Super Mario Galaxy (2007, originally for Nintendo Wii)

We made it. After the tours of the first two games, my kids got hyped when we finally got to this one. Though, I don’t think they were quite ready for the beginning.

See, in Mario 64 the game starts off with Mario being promised cake, only to find out that Bowser has trapped the Princess in her own castle. In Mario Sunshine, the game starts off with Mario being charged for vandalism. But in Mario Galaxy? Oh boy.

Much to my kids’ horror, at the beginning of Super Mario Galaxy, the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom are celebrating a magic 100-year event where adorable little sparkly star bits rain harmlessly from the sky. Up until a whole fleet of Bowser’s airships show up and literally carpet bomb the entire town.

Toads are encased in crystal, lying unconscious on the grounds and their homes get destroyed and roasted. While this is happening, a laughing Bowser literally rips Peach’s castle out of the ground and bends reality to take her away and build a new reality in his image. Holy hell.

But going back to the game itself, while very vertigo-inducing, the game is an absolute delight. Instead of standard stages, you’re on small gravity heavy planets so you can run completely around them.

Even if a stage looks like it’s flat, if you run off the edge you’ll just flip to the other side. Because of this, the game is like a series of very small platforming puzzles as you try to figure out how to get from one planet to the next. It also allows them to make large bosses that truly carry a sense of scale. The first time you fight Bowser Jr., he’s literally piloting a three-legged robot that’s larger than the planet it’s on. It makes you feel exceptionally tiny which made its defeats all the more fun.

There’s still a lot of reading though, so if your kid has a hard time with that it can be a hurdle — especially when Rosalina is around. I love Rosalina but she drops about seven pages of dialogue whenever she shows up.

Ultimately though, they had a lot more fun with this game than the others int he collection. The thing with this one though, much like Super Mario 64 trying to figure out cameras and Sunshine bumbling with cutscenes, Galaxy features the clumsy introduction of Wiimote controls. There are a lot of points where you have to point your controller at the screen like a Wiimote to select options. You would have thought they would have worked D-pad support into the menus but nope. That was really strange but did, weirdly, make my brain immediately remember what it was like gaming on the Wii.

Super Mario Galaxy is a lot darker of a story than the other two but it features a ridiculous amount of variety and a lot fewer ways to die — even if sometimes that death is Mario spiraling off into the infinite void.

Also, another thing my kids love that I completely forgot about is the fact that they completely forgot how cool it was flying around space when they found out Mario could become Bee Mario.