Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image | August 16, 2022

Scroll to top



Mario Galaxy vs. Ratchet & Clank: ToD Showdown

With the next Ratchet & Clank game coming out this month and with a next Mario Galaxy game coming out next year, and now that I’ve completed both games and had time to reflect on them, I thought it would be fun to do a scored category-by-category comparison of the two kings of the 3D platformer.

Scores are obviously subjective and light-hearted fun…

Technology: Visuals, flash, audio

On the Wii, I’m used to stuff like Wii Sports which has obnoxiously bad graphics. I know that’s not the point of the game, and it’s a runaway favorite with kids everywhere, but it makes it more surprising when Mario Galaxy actually looks pretty good. At several points I noticed various water or lava effects or shading effects that actually looked impressive. Beyond the core tech though, everything in Galaxy looks really well polished and integrated.

Ratchet & Clank, obviously runs on fancier hardware, so expectations are high, but the graphics, physics, and audio exceed those high expectations. Even two years later, Tools of Destruction is one of the most visually impressive and beautifully polished titles of today.

A quick glance at some screenshots or video footage should show that these two games aren’t even in the same ballpark in terms of visuals and technology in general. Obviously, this is just one aspect of the game experience, but it does enhance the fun.

Winner: Ratchet +1 (no surprise here)


Longevity and Game Size

I didn’t record my play time, but I’d say that both of these titles have unusually large single player campaigns packed with varied high quality content and are about equal in this regard.

Winner: Tie.

Level Design

Both games had tons of cool levels, with all types of unique and creative twists. I’d give the edge to Mario, however. They just had more creative twists, that were fun and easy to play through. Breaking up levels into miniature planet surfaces worked really well. (I know the Ratchet & Clank series did spherical levels first, but it’s not in Tools of Destruction).

For a platformer, this is a broad and important category, so I’m giving two points.

Winner: Mario Galaxy +2


Boss Battles and Game Progression

Ratchet had some gorgeous and fun to fight boss battles, but Galaxy’s bosses were more plentiful, unique, and entertaining.

Galaxy’s level hub area worked better than Ratchet’s space travel system. There is more flexibility of choosing the next level, repeating old favorite levels, and feeling game progress.

Winner: Mario Galaxy +1

Narrative + Cut Scenes + Voice Acting

Mario’s cut-scene type story segments were a real bore (even for kids) and the voice acting is screeching and annoying. The game featured lots of text story books which held little entertainment value. The best news is that it’s mostly avoidable and ignorable.

Ratchet has extremely well animated story segments with great voice work, and some genuinely funny moments. Some of the humor fell flat: I thought the pirate gags and the groovitron bit were overdone, but overall the story bits were well done and served as great polish on the rest of the game.

Winner: Ratchet +1

Special Powers and Vehicles

Almost every special power or mode in Super Mario was tons of fun: Fire Mario, the racing segments, the turtle shell swimming, bee mario, etc. Ratchet had a few gems, such as the flying wings, and had a bunch of cool weapons to use, but most of the other special vehicles and powers just weren’t as fun as Galaxy.

Also, while the core of Galaxy is controlled by the standard analog stick and buttons, they have a few more fun novelty uses for the Wii pointer and tilt functionality.

Winner: Mario Galaxy +1


Mario obviously doesn’t have gunplay and focuses strictly on it’s strengths.

Gunplay is an integral part of the fun in the Ratchet & Clank series. Ratchet has deceptively childish cartoon looks, but the action mechanics are far better (fun, balanced, challenging) than most “mature” FPS games. Of particular favorite is the arena battles which have really fun and intense action challenges.

Winner: Ratchet +1


Expert Player Challenges

Mario has tons of extra bonuses to do and extra stars to earn. Ratchet has a few bonus arena challenges and collectibles to find on old levels, but is generally lacking in this regard. Even earlier Ratchet games had more end of level optional challenges. This is a real disappointment for Ratchet as the game needed bigger goals for expert players to work up to.

Winner: Mario Galaxy +1

Also, as an aside, and not as a better/worse point, the main game in Mario Galaxy was more difficult to complete than in Ratchet.



Winner: Mario Galaxy by two points.

It’s a close contest, and they really both do excel at different areas. I have both sequels pre-ordered and eagerly anticipate them.

One other observation worth noting is that these games are meant for kids and novice gamers. Yet all the kids in my extended family and all the novice gamers that I know shy away from both these games. They seem to prefer simpler and more accessible games like 2D Mario on DS, Wii Sports, LittleBigPlanet co-op, or even Call of Duty. I suspect that the 3D platforming interface is somewhat less-intuitive and rewarding for novice players.