Super Mario Galaxy is back with a sequel to what is arguably one of the best games of this generation.
Mario returns on the Nintendo Wii in 3D once more to tackle crazy intergalactic levels and save Princess Peach one more time. With all new suits and a ton of inventive new levels, Super Mario Galaxy 2 tries to win us over one more time with its charm.
Does it succeed? Hit the jump for the review.
I am one of those people who didn’t have a Nintendo Wii when the first Super Mario Galaxy was released, and have been constantly ragged by my peers for never playing it (or even Mario 64 for that matter). For that reason though, I entered into the 3D world of Super Mario Galaxy 2 with fresh eyes to see what all the fuss was about.
This isn’t your typical Mario storyline, as SMG2 has you heading off into the universe to track down Bowser and defeat him through a string of crazy galaxies and worlds that often defy the usual constraints of life.
You cruise around the game map to new galaxies using a large spaceship that’s shaped like Mario’s head (at some point in the game, comically referred to as Mario’s face-ship).
Your objective is to collect stars, which are usually found towards the end of a level, with most levels having more than one star that can be found at a branching point in the levels layout (one usually being behind a boss fight and the other by some other means). This means that you will mostly be returning to levels more than once, in order to try and obtain the second star.
Whilst traversing the levels, you are given the ability to collect gems as well as coins. Gems are used for other purposes such as buying stuff or using them as projectiles and are collected by using the on-screen “mouse/wii-mote” pointer but can also be collected by running into them (coins have to be physically touched by Mario).
They can both be used for other reasons too though. In order to obtain the second star on some levels you will find these strange and hungry creatures that will request a certain amount of gems or coins to satisfy their cravings. Once you have fed them what they need they will either transform into a star, or transform into a new little piece of the level that will give you access to a star.
Gather enough stars to move to fuel your ship to the next galaxy, get an ultimate star and you will be able to start moving between worlds, that unlock more galaxies.
The controls themselves work very well in the 3D space, and while you will be doing a good amount of waggling, it’s only really for Mario’s important spin-attack, but doesn’t feel like too much effort. Mario himself is controlled using the nunchuck’s thumb stick, with other buttons being used for simple commands such as duck, or reset camera.
The Mario controls combined with the need to point the Wii-mote at the screen (to collect gems) really keeps the game feeling interactive and does a great job of keeping you entertained at all times.
Mario aside, the levels themselves are the real superstars of the show and truly, the reason to play this game.
Each galaxy brings something different to the game and its almost mind boggling to see that the blokes from Nintendo have managed to come up with. Some levels will have you drilling through from one side to the other to reach specific areas, while others will have you donning Mario’s new cloud suit to get up higher, or even messing around with gravity from a 2D perspective. They really are quite fantastic and for the most part make every bit of use of the 3rd dimension as you run around mini planets, cubes and so on.
The gameplay itself is a fantastic mixture of basic mario combat, platforming and puzzle solving that just kept making me want to come back for more. Some of the levels can become fiendishly difficult though, especially for those of you who will want to try and collect every star available. If you aren’t that sort, you should get through fine.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is also a shining example of where art direction can overcome technological muscle. While SMG2 runs on the outdated Wii hardware, the art style and creativity injected into the game makes you want to stare at its pretty colours and inventive level designs.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 brings your mind back to the good ol’ days of gaming. When everything was about fun and bright colours, not sniper rifles and online smack talk. It’s a bit of an eye-opener that makes you realise why we all loved videogames in the first place, and for that I will always be grateful.
Inspired levels, a great vibe and an overall ambiance of fun kept me coming back to Super Mario Galaxy 2 over and over again, even when I was stuck trying to get a difficult star.
For fans of: Nintendo, Mario, Puzzle Platformers
Scoring (not an average)
Fun and enjoyable, making good use of the Wii’s motion controls.
Beautiful art direction hides the Wii’s old technology
It sounds like a Mario game, and maintains an upbeat vibe with Mario’s “yahoo”s and renewed old-school mario music.
Depending on if you are a completionist or not. The game will take you over 15 – 20 hours to get through.
Nintendo and Mario join forces once again to remind gamers about what gaming is really all about… fun.
[Reviewed on Nintendo Wii]