Review by Oy1919
"Fly me to the Moon and let me find the Power Stars..."
Super Mario Galaxy 2
After Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64, and Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube, tradition seemed to be continuing itself with Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii. Just one Mario game per console. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, Nintendo go and announce Super Mario Galaxy 2, taking most of the Nintendo fanbase completely by surprise. So, the question then remained as to whether the sequel could upstage the original...
Swinging On A Star
So, I've played the game for a short while and have acquired my first Power Star. Having played the first game, I was able to get through it with very little problem, all of the controls being the same, offering a good sense of familiarity to the proceedings. The intro section actually plays on a 2D field in the style of the original Mario game, with ? blocks and such, and it's also framed with a book-like top/bottom to give it a proper story feel. And it slowly opens up as you move forward, going to flat 2D, to having a little bit of room to move back and forth, to going fully 3D and allowing you to run around the area. The dive into the first level progressed well too. There's actually very little explanation. No having to cater to some mysterious woman or whatnot. Peach is kidnapped and you just race off after her. It has a much better feel and flow to it, and somehow feels grander compared to the first game. This is partly because there are next to no tutorials. You can stop and talk to signs and Luma's if you wish, but if you're familiar with Galaxy's way of doing things, then you can dive right into the game and get to it. One boss defeated and one Power Star collected later, and you're given control of your ship and allowed to start exploring the world map, where in the next level, you meet an old friend.
Setting A Pace
Right from the beginning of the game you're given this almost relentless feeling of speed, of everything flowing much quicker than it did in the first game. Gone is the central world hub, with its constant back-and-forth gameplay. Now, all you do it stand on a button and you zoom out to the overhead map that you can easily zip around and choose your level. In many ways, it has a very old-school feel to it, and that doesn't just count for the map screen. Many parts of the game are played on a 2D plane, and it really feels as though Nintendo have reached back to their glory days and stuck it back up in front of you for you to enjoy again. And despite the fact it's a sequel, everything actually ends up feeling fresher than it did the first time. Looking back on the first game after playing this, you can't help but feel that the original games was just going through the motions, whereas this game is actually doing something of it's own.
One Small Nag
A lot of this feeling comes from the Power-Ups and other things you find in the game. While ones such as Boo Mario and Spring Mario do make a return, they're actually played down quite a bit, as are some of the new ones, such as Cloud Mario and Roller Mario. And also, the level design is a lot better than it was in the first game, and so moving through the world feel more fun and less arduous. As I've already said, many of the games sections are played on a 2D plane, and this is really where my only really gripe with this game comes from. While it's very fun to play the game in an old-school fashion, I did occasionally find the controls in this section rather irksome. As you'd expect, left/right is still in place when you're standing on the bottom floor, but when you circle around something to the side, you have to press up/down to move Mario. While this does make sense, and doesn't really impact the gameplay too much, I did cause a few deaths as I got used to it. Of course, that's really the only gripe I had with the game, and considering how much is in the game, that's pretty good going.
There And Back Again
All in all, this game just feels like it's doing everything right, even more so than the first one did. Of course, even with all the newness that the game brings up, there's a lot that remains the same. The basic controls as the same, with Mario's triple jump, back-flip, long jump, all in place, and the pointer collecting up the Star Bits. The graphics are the same, bright and colourful, and the music is just as nice to listen to, with a few classic Mario pieces having been given a nice remix. And, as you'd expect with a Mario game, there's a whole set of secrets and minigames, but I won't go into that too much, as it's more fun to experience them firsthand. Just trust me when I say that this game'll have you back on a near constant basis.
Gameplay: 10/10 The familiar gameplay of the original is brought back with a few small tweaks and a big overhaul in the level design department, making every level brim with creativity and fun.
Sound: 10/10 Beautiful classical scores and remixes of old classic tunes makes for some great piece of music that compliment the levels well.
Graphics: 10/10 Just as colourful and vibrant as the last game, nothing else needs to be said.
Lifespan 10/10 While you can see the ending fairly quickly, trust me when I say that this game's gonna take you hell of a long time to finish 100%.
Final Score: 10/10
And so, there you have it. The unexpected sequel has completely trumped its predecessor, and showed us that Nintendo can be original even when sticking to the tried and tested formula set down in Super Mario 64. If you liked the original then this is a must buy, and if you didn't like the original then you should pick this up anyway. This is definitely the kind of game that everyone should own.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/18/10
Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (EU, 06/11/10)
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