Super Mario Galaxy 2 builds upon everything that made the first so great. A must buy for all Wii owners.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the sequel to the Wii’s 2007 Game of the year Super Mario Galaxy and the third pure platforming Mario game on the system. Developed and published by Nintendo and using a modified Super Mario Galaxy engine can Mario’s second space voyage get any more stellar than his first?
Once again the game opens up during the star festival with Mario getting a letter inviting him to share some Cake with the Princess. Along the way to Peach’s castle Mario finds a little lost Luma, the star people from the first Galaxy game, that instantly takes a shine to Mario. When you arrive at the castle Bowser is already in the process of attacking it and quickly takes off into space with the Princess and the power stars. With the help of the Lumas Mario is blasted off into space and begins the chase for Bowser.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the game looks pretty much identical to Galaxy 1 and that’s no bad thing. The game is as bright and colourful as the previous entry and sounds just as great with some reused music and plenty of new orchestrations. Perhaps the biggest change from Galaxy 1 is the way you get to new galaxies (levels). Gone is the hub world of the first Galaxy and in it’s place we have a more traditional world select screen like in Super Mario World or New Super Mario Bros. There is still a place to mess around and practice jumps though with the Star-ship Mario, a planetoid shaped like Mario’s head that can travel through the universe. Through the course of the game Mario’s spaceship starts to fill up with Toads, Lumas and various other creatures from the universe.
The game plays almost exactly the same as it did in the first Galaxy with Mario still having the variety of jumps, flips and spins from the last outing and a friend can still join in using a second Wii remote to shoot star bits. This time if you get bored with Mario you can play certain stages with Luigi without needing to complete the game like in Galaxy 1. Luigi will hang about at the start of the level and take over for Mario if you let him. But what this game really does to spice things up is to introduce Yoshi to you very shortly after starting. Yoshi controls similarly to Mario but can use his tongue to gobble up enemies, power ups and to swing on flowers all by pointing on the screen and hitting the B button.
It’s not just Yoshi’s addition to the game that changes how you go through a level. There are also new power ups that mix up how you play as Mario. The Drill lets you dig from one side of a planet or dirt mound to the other, often resulting in some rather inventive puzzles and challenges. There’s the cloud suit (acquired by picking up a cotton flower) which makes Mario lighter and able to jump further and higher, walk on clouds and place up to three cloud platforms to reach new heights or out of reach secrets. The boulder suit that lets you roll up into a ball with a shake of the remote and bowl over enemies. Power ups from the previous Galaxy make a return including the fire flower, spring and star. These power ups are all used in new and innovative ways leading to some pretty ingenious puzzles and platforming challenges. My favourite by far is the Cloud Suit, it’s just so fun to be able to go pretty much anywhere in the level with careful cloud use.
But what about the levels themselves? There are more than in the first Galaxy but with less stars in each meaning more creativity in the levels design, both gameplay and artistic. The galaxies range from traversing through planetoids in space to running down a ghost filled hallway to a galaxy made out of chocolate and sweets. There’s something new in every galaxy whether it’s a new theme, solving a picture puzzle by butt stomping or racing through a jungle valley using a big pink bird, there are so many fun ideas constantly getting introduced to you, and the short length of each galaxy means you are never far from seeing something new, exciting and unexpected. Another great thing is that there are more 2D sections in this game, making for a lot more creative and interesting ideas in the 2D plane than they showed in the first Galaxy.
One of the most challenging things in this games are the Prankster Comets. You unlock the Prankster Comet Stars by collecting the Prankster Coin in the levels. These coins aren’t too hard to get but are often out of the way or require some skill to collect. The real skill comes into play in the Prankster Stars. These are without a doubt some of the hardest stars to get in the game. Some challenges from the first Galaxy return such as speed runs and daredevil runs (not getting hit) but there are also Cosmic Mario challenges where deadly space clones of Mario follow his every move and challenges where you need to beat every enemy in a short amount of time using a power-up. You’ll end up using the most 1-ups on these kind of stages. There is even a super special surprise stage for those who get everything in the game that will really put your skills to the test.
So, to summarise, this is Super Mario Galaxy on super steroids. It’s better than the first in pretty much every way bar story, and let’s face it, you don’t play a Mario platformer for the story. It’s harder, better, faster stronger, more streamlined, more colourful, more brilliant and more crazy. If you can play this game and not have a smile on your face once in every galaxy then you are either not human or hate gaming. This is 3D platforming gaming in its purest form. It’s fun, exciting, pretty and pure gaming magic. You’ll be laughing and smiling and giggling with glee at so many great things in this game. If you loved Super Mario Galaxy 1 then you will more than love this.