Review by Archmonk Iga
When it first came out, I was pretty sure Super Mario Galaxy would be the ultimate need-to-own Wii game of this console generation. In my opinion, it was hands down the best single-player game to come out at the time (this was before I played Metroid Prime Trilogy and World of Goo). So when we first heard about its sequel, I was both ecstatic and concerned. They were making a sequel to one of the greatest video games of all time, and it's a MARIO game! There was never a Mario 64 2, or a Mario Sunshine 2. So the folks at Nintendo must have had some crazy ideas up their sleeves that they just couldn't fit into the first one. And let me tell you, their crazy ideas make Mario Galaxy 2 yet another must-own Wii game. Can Mario ever go wrong?
SMG2 takes place as if SMG1 never happened. It's a completely separate story. Yet some things certainly never change in a Mario story. Princess Peach is kidnapped by Bowser (who is absolutely HUUUUUUGE in this game) and Mario needs to save her. He will team up with the little star guys, the Toads, and many other adorable galaxy residents to gather stars and go to the ends of the galaxies to rescue Peach from Bowser and bring peace throughout space.
But let's face it. Mario has never been about winning any awards with its stories. It has always been a simple means to an end, and it oddly never gets old. And the Mario series certainly has its charms. The crazy characters, new and old (I love the fat purple star), the whimsical themes of the franchise, and its important role in gaming history is more than satisfying.
SMG2's graphics are basically identical to the first's. That is to say, they are the absolute BEST the Wii has to offer. Can you believe this is a Wii game? Are you sure I'm not playing a Mario game on the PS3? The levels are absolutely stunning, the characters and critters look great, and the color scheme just makes the game more fun to play.
Using the same ideas from SMG1, the sequel uses little voice acting and relies on text. I'm perfectly fine with that, just because of the very unique noises everyone makes are a great way for us to recognize them. I especially the loved the birds that would hang out in the Fluzzard stages. Sound effects are classic 3-d Mario style, and the music can only be matched by, well, SMG1's music. Great electronic arrangements fill every stage, and whether they're fresh and new or old and familiar, they all sound amazing.
SMG2 brings in nearly identical gameplay as the first. And while many have been saying it's more of the same, I think they need to remember that getting more of the same in this particular case means getting more of the BEST. Isn't it generally agreed that SMG1 is one of, if not THE best Wii game out there? So there's nothing wrong with getting more of the best.
What makes this one really step up to the plate is in how amazing the levels are designedif you thought the first one's stages were crazy-awesome (which they certainly are), then you will be in awe of the sequel's stages. I can't even begin to explain how imaginative these levels are. Clockwork platforms, flip-switches, gravity control, and so much more somehow manage to trump SMG1's levels.
And to make these levels even more exciting, Mario has a whole lot more help this time around. First off, Luigi becomes a playable character from very early on in the game, so if you prefer Mario's slip-n-slidin' brother then you can play as him at your leisure. Mario also gets some new powers that all incorporate the remote-flick that is also used to make Mario spin. Cloud, Boulder and Drill Mario all make triumphant entrances into the Mario franchise, and all are fully taken advantage of. We also have the return of Fire, Bee, Spring, and Boo Mario, though the latter two are each featured in just one level (for better or worse?). And don't be too sad, but the red star is sadly not in this game (that's a joke right there, folks). The rolling ball levels also return, and the stingray levels from SMG1 are replaced by the equally fun (and equally challenging) Fluzzard levels.
Rosalina's ship from the original is also replaced by the Mario Starship, which you can still walk around (though you will do so less than in the first). The new ship is so much better just because it makes visiting the galaxies so much easier. I never really minded having to walk into the separate houses to visit galaxies, but this really does make the game flow a lot better.
But I think I'm missing an important addition to the sequel What was it again? Something green, with a long tongue... Oh yeah! Yoshi makes his Galaxy debut here, and his levels are some of the most enjoyable. His flutter jump helps reach difficult places and aiming where his tongue goes with the remote never gets old. He also can eat certain things to give him unique powers, including running crazy-fast, floating high into the air, and lighting up hidden pathways. To sum it up, Yoshi is probably the best addition among many other amazing additions.
If I had to think of any flaws, it would be tough to talk about any that really bring the game down. It's kind of annoying how the Z button controls two types of jumps because you'll often find yourself doing the wrong one. I also think Mario's 1-2-3 jumps are pretty pointless until you get to the green star challenges. And once again, the bossfights are always a blast to play, but they are still kind of easyespecially compared to the rest of the levels. And two-player mode is pretty lame. I thought it would be similar to having helpers in Kirby Superstar, but it's just a more glorified version of the original's two-player mode. But I'll be honestI really don't care that much. The game is just. Plain. Fun.
I am utterly blown away by how much Nintendo brought to the table in SMG2. All the additions enhance the gameplay so much more than before, but the gameplay was excellent to begin with. I couldn't ask for more. This is how platforming is meant to be.
There are 120 stars to gather in your first playthrough. Okay, now double that for the hidden green stars throughout each level, which are an even greater challenge. Then add two. So that essentially means that there are 242 insanely fun, insanely challenging, insanely INSANE levels. And you can play as Luigi, so you can even stretch that and say there are 484 levels to play through. Okay, that's a little silly, but do you get what I'm saying? This one will last you a lifetimejust like you'd expect from a Mario game.
LASTING APPEAL: 10/10
It's more of the best, only it's a LOT more than you'd expect. I don't know what else to say. This game is far from a disappointment. In fact it's the opposite. Two of the best games on the Wii are of the Super Mario Galaxy franchise. So bring on Galaxy 3? Please?
Thanks for reading =)
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/07/10
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (US, 05/23/10)
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