Today we are going to focus on the three main Super Mario games for the Wii: New Super Mario Bros Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Gamachronicles are multi-part features on a famous or noteworthy game series, diving into some of its most memorable moments and providing additional perspective on its history.
New Super Mario Bros Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii was a 2.5D side-scrolling platform game, which was a follow-up to New Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo DS handheld. It was first released in Australia, North America, and Europe in November 2009, followed by Japan a month later.
Unlike other side-scrolling Super Mario games, up to four people could play cooperatively or competitively, taking control of Mario, Luigi or one of two multicolored Toads. The game also introduced “Super Guide” mode, which allowed the player to watch how a computer-controlled character completes a level.
Interestingly, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto wasn’t happy with how easy the DS version was, and purposely added varying levels of difficulty to make the Wii version accessible and fun for a wide variety of players.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii was both critically and commercially successful, receiving particular praise for its multiplayer aspect, although some critics were disappointed by the lack of new content compared to previous Super Mario titles.
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy was the third main 3D Super Mario game in the franchise (not counting New Super Mario Bros). As Mario or Luigi, the player embarks on a quest to rescue Princess Peach, save the universe from Bowser, and collect 121 Power Stars. The levels in the game consist of galaxies filled with minor planets and worlds, with different variations of gravity, the central element of gameplay.
Development on the game began in late 2004, when Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that Nintendo should develop another large-scale Mario game. The concept for the use of spherical planet-like platforms originated from ideas used in Super Mario 128, a technology demonstration shown at Nintendo Space World in 2000. The development team had more freedom in designing it compared to other Super Mario games because of the outer space setting, and the soundtrack, composed by Mahito Yokota and Koji Kondo, used a symphony orchestra for the first time in the series.
Super Mario Galaxy was both a critical and commercial success, like many of the Mario games before it, hailed as one of the greatest video games of all time. Critics praised the game’s graphics, gravity mechanics, soundtrack, and setting.
It won several awards from gaming publications, including multiple “Game of the Year” titles, and became the first Nintendo title to win the British Academy Games Award for Best Game.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is still the only mainline sequel since the series went 3D on the N64. The story follows Mario as he pursues the Koopa King, Bowser, into outer space, where he has imprisoned Princess Peach and taken control of the universe using Power Stars and Grand Stars. Mario must travel across various galaxies to recover the Power Stars in order to travel to the center of the universe and rescue Princess Peach.
After Nintendo finished Super Mario Galaxy, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto approached the development team and suggested that a follow-up be produced. The game was originally planned to just do variations on the original game’s planets and call the game “Super Mario Galaxy More”, and was dubbed “Super Mario Galaxy 1.5” during early development, with a projected development time of approximately a year.
The first elements implemented were anything that was scrapped from the original game, either to ensure game balance or simply because of time constraints, such as Yoshi and the concept of a planet shaped like Mario’s head.
Eventually though, more and more new elements and ideas were brought into the game, and it was decided that the game should be a full sequel rather than a slightly modified follow-up. Ultimately this pushed development to take two and a half years in total.
Like its predecessor, Super Mario Galaxy 2 received universal acclaim from major video game critics with numerous reviews praising the game for its creativity and technical improvements over the original. Most reviewers agreed that the game either lived up to or surpassed the original Super Mario Galaxy.
In total the Wii had three major Mario games released for it, which is a lot more than the N64 or GameCube, which only had one each.