Review: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)June 3rd, 2010 | Written by Danreb Victorio | Topic: Reviews, Wii
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the direct sequel to the Wii’s wildly successful 2007 release. It’s also the first direct sequel to a Super Mario game since Super Mario World 2 on the Super NES, so the expectations of quality for the game are high.
Being a typical Mario game, Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn’t offer much in terms of story. The game has you once again play the role of everyone’s favorite red-suited plumber as he makes his way to Princess Peach’s castle for a rendezvous only to find that Bowser has used some type of power to turn himself into a giant in order to easily kidnap the princess. With his new size, Bowser takes a giant leap and flies into the depths of space, which forces Mario to give chase with the help of his new star-shaped companion hiding under his hat.
The main reason why the first Galaxy game was so good was due to the fact that it provided a unique take on traditional 3D platforming. Because Mario was in space, each orbital world he stepped foot in featured its own rules on gravity. So whenever on a planet, he can jump and run about freely, orbiting from one part of the planet to another. When jumping high enough near another planet, that planet’s gravity would take precedence, and he’d be on the ground of that particular planet. It may seem quite confusing, but the game’s solid controls made it everything but that. Throw in a few Mario-themed enemies and colorful environments, and you have a fully-fledged Super Mario experience.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn’t shy away from the formula at all, and it really feels like it basically picked up where the original left off. Sure, you’ll be forced to re-learn some of the dynamics from the original game, but the actual tutorials are extremely brief and they leave you alone to explore the possibilities right away. You still have to collect stars, and when you gather one you’re sent back to the game’s overworld.
While giving players the illusion of thinking they’re playing the same game, Nintendo went ahead and added different twists to the gameplay. The first of which comes right away when traversing your way though the Mushroom Kingdom. Highlighting his 2D roots, the game starts off as a sidescroller before Mario is forced to truly explore his surroundings in 3D as Princess Peach escapes.
Further giving the game its simplistic feel is the addition of the Starship Mario. The Starship Mario replaces “The Hub” as the main overworld in Galaxy 2. Unlike The Hub, the Starship Mario remains the same throughout the entire game, with the exception of adding a few extra trinkets and characters to make the ship seem more “full.” In order to travel from world to world, all Mario has to do is step in front of the starship’s steering wheel and the camera will zoom out to what is pretty much a map of the universe and galaxies. Each galaxy is clearly shown on the map and also indicates how many stars each planet possesses. This relieves the game of the complexities that The Hub may have produced, further simplifying the process.
On top of this, the developers have included almost double the power ups from the original game. All the suits like the Bee Suit from the original game make a return, while others are introduced. One of the more useful of which is the drill, which Mario can use to dig into planets and end up on the opposite side. Mario can even take the form of a boulder and roll around wreaking havoc as Rock Mario and platforming action remains even more interesting thanks to the new Cloud Mario suit, which allows Mario to be light enough to step on clouds without evaporating them and make his own clouds simply by shaking the Wii Remote.
Highlighting the new features is the ability to once again ride on Mario dino-companion, Yoshi. Yoshi can run a little faster and jump a little higher than Mario, but he is also extremely vulnerable in the hands of careless players. Aside from eating enemies and turning them into coins or starbits, when eating special power-up fruit, Yoshi will change color and do all sorts of different things. For example, when eating a dash pepper, Yoshi runs so fast that he can travel up walls. Aside from the dash pepper, there’s the float fruit and the bulb fruit, which are pretty self explanatory since the float fruit allows Yoshi to float for short periods of time and the latter would allow Yoshi to light certain places up to see unreachable paths or platforms.
In traditional Nintendo fashion, using these power-ups to your advantage also revolves around solving puzzles to get to otherwise unreachable areas for hidden stars. This kind of makes up for the fact that the game is still linear in the sense of having to get from point A to point B to get certain stars, so discovering that there are more to worlds than just the straight path definitely give the game extra depth that should make the experience even more welcoming.
There are well over 240 stars in the game, and unlike its predecessor, you don’t have to use Luigi to get the same stars Mario did in order to gather them all. This leaves room for all sorts of gameplay even after defeating the final boss, so masters of fetch quests should find a lot to like.
The game’s presentation has largely remained unchanged. The graphics are seemingly flawless in terms of the visual prowess of the Wii, and the worlds are as expansive as they’ll ever be. The music is comprised of new tunes as well as orchestrated remixes of previous Mario themes, leaving veteran players nostalgic while giving newer gamers something to endlessly hum to.
You can blame Nintendo for continuing to maximize the money that their famed mascot can make, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is as close as it gets to a perfect sequel. The gameplay is just as great as its predecessor was, but the amount of new content and features make it the far superior game. With 242 stars, each obtainable yet surprisingly challenging, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a game that should keep everyone’s Wii on this summer.