by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on WII
Successor of a game that is held to an extremely high standard and considered by many as one of the greatest games of this generation, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a tricky game to review. Super Mario Galaxy was the first Mario game on the Wii, meaning it had to live up to the standards of Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario World, and Mario 64, all of which are considered fantastic games. It doesn't have to sell new hardware, and it doesn't have to prove that this hardware can be used to make great games. So if it's not a revolution, what exactly is it? The answer of course is evolution. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is in every way superior to its predecessor, and one of the best games to come out in the past several years.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 knows what it is, or more accurately, what it isn't. It's not a story driven epic and the story that is given has little impact on the game. Bowser has kidnapped Peach and taken her to space. Mario must team up with the Luma, a group of star-like beings and chase after Bowser. Basically, it's the story of the first game. Chances are if you enjoy any kind of Mario platformer, it isn't because of the story.
Not too easy
If New Super Mario Bros Wii taught Nintendo anything, it is that they can be successful by streamlining games and making them accessible to the people who remember the days in 1985 spent playing Super Mario Bros and little else after that. Nintendo does an amicable job of this, allowing those who are unfamiliar to the controls take their time and figure them out while veterans can get through it as quick as they please. The game begins in two dimensions, allowing the basics of bilateral movement and jumping to be learnt. Slowly the game opens up, and once you are in the first galaxy you will have full 360 degree movement.
Though that's not to say Nintendo has made an easy game. While some of the earlier stages are on the easy side, things quickly ratchet up. In order to collect every single star, you will have to master all of the abilities in the game, and have the patience to retry something over and over until you get it right.
There were two problems with Super Mario Galaxy: the confusing hub world and the camera. Thankfully the hub world has been all but removed in Galaxy 2. You start on a space ship shaped like Mario's head, where you can talk to support characters, find some 1-ups, and practice the controls. Once you move into the worlds, you are presented with a layout similar to that of New Super Mario Bros Wii. Things are laid out vertically and are easy to understand. You are always aware of where you need to go next, and it would be very difficult to get lost in the map. There are some branching paths, with some unlockable worlds, but for the most part it is as simple as moving from the left side to the right side. The camera has also been drastically improved over the predecessor.
Galaxy 2 controls like a dream. Mario (and later Luigi) feels like he has real weight in his jumps. Even when you are upside down on a planet the controls act like they should. All the usual moves are here, from wall-jumping, back flips, and spins which are done by shaking the Wii remote. There is little involvement of the Wii controller in the core gameplay, and when it is used it works perfectly.
Fantastic level design, superb graphics and audio, unique and interesting power ups, accessible to all, but challenging for returning players.
Starts a little slow, some of the power ups aren’t used enough.