Review by shadowmathfreak

"Does the 2010 sequel outdo the 2007 original?"

In 2007 Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy, a game that was extremely well received by many people. At E3 2009, Nintendo announced the sequel Super Mario Galaxy 2. Has much changed since two and a half years ago?

The game play hasn't changed much. It's pretty much the same as the original Super Mario Galaxy. The most notable change players will see is that Yoshi has been added to the game. His addition makes more creative ways of getting power stars, and is used much than in New Super Mario Bros Wii, where he virtually gets no time in the spotlight. In addition, comet coins appear in every galaxy, which will unlock prankster comets. These prankster comets allow you to get the same star in a galaxy, but with different restrictions.

The story hasn't changed much. Peach has been kidnapped yet again by Bowser, and it's up to Mario to save her again. The game doesn't even acknowledge the events in Super Mario Galaxy. He is once again traveling to many galaxies, recovering power stars, all building up to the final confrontation with Bowser. You only need 70 Power Stars in order to just beat the game, but you will be playing it a lot longer if you want to find everything the game has to offer.

In Super Mario Galaxy, the Comet Observatory was the main hub of the game. In the sequel, however, the observatory is replaced with Starship Mario, a ship shaped like Mario's head. It is a much simpler hub, yet still fun to explore around. The Starship Mario is the main method of travel. It travels to different destinations, allowing you to explore different galaxies. The more stars you collect, the more galaxies you unlock. However, these galaxies aren't accessed from a hub like the original Galaxy. Instead, you travel between different worlds in order to access different galaxies, which gives it a New Super Mario Bros. Wii feel. This makes it much easier to access the galaxies. There are a total of six worlds, with the final one unlocked once you beat the game.

Let's move on to the galaxies. They are all creative and well thought out. Some galaxies will have Mario on flat land, others in spherical planets. Other galaxies will be in a 2D perspective instead of the usual 3D perspective. And even veterans get a treat. One level will give a feeling of Super Mario Sunshine, while another level will please Super Mario 64 fans. Checkpoint flags are included in most levels, so that you don't have to start at the very beginning each time you die. Super Mario Galaxy did actually have checkpoints, they were just simply invisible. These flags once again give a New Super Mario Bros. Wii feel. Their inclusion can actually add a challenge. If a player wants a challenge, he or she can attempt to complete the entire level without ever hitting the checkpoint flags.

The galaxies are further enhanced by the power ups in the game. After all, it wouldn't be a Mario game if no power ups were present. The bee suit, Boo mushroom, the spring, and the fire flower all make a return. In addition, Cloud Mario, Rock Mario, and Drill Mario are introduced in this game. The cloud suit turns Mario into a lightweight, enabling him to create up to three clouds out of thin air. The rock mushroom turns Mario into a rock that smashes anything that gets in his way, similar to Goron Link in Majora's Mask. The drill allow Mario to drill through soft areas of the planet in order to appear on the opposite side. Even Yoshi gets power ups for this game. The Dash Pepper provides him with a burst of speed for a while, allowing him to climb steep walls. The blimp fruit turns Yoshi into a balloon that allows him to climb great heights. The bulb berry turns Yoshi into a lantern that illuminates the path in front of him, allowing him to cross paths that are otherwise invisible. All of these power ups are used cleverly in order to solve tricky puzzles, which adds to the overall difficulty of the game.

Bosses also make appearances in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Some bosses are quite easy to defeat, while others may take some strategizing in order to defeat. Sometimes Mario will have to defeat them alone, while at other times he has his power ups to aid him, and sometimes even Yoshi. You will face Bowser and Bowser Jr. a couple times during the quest to collect all the stars, and all of the battles are epic, especially the Bowser battles.

The original Super Mario Galaxy was praised for the inclusion of orchestral music, and the same holds true here. The music in the game will wow you. Each level has music that fits in each galaxy. The Fluffy Bluff Galaxy music is simply just masterful, rivaling Gusty Garden's music. Melty Monster Galaxy's music will make your hair stand, giving it a sort of military feeling. The Bowser battle music is simply epic, and the actual battle fits it perfectly. There will be times where you will want to enter the level just to hear how awesome the soundtrack really is. Overall the music is simply superb.

One notable addition to Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the Cosmic Guide. In New Super Mario Bros Wii, the Super Guide was implemented in order to help users get through the level when they die too many times. The Cosmic Guide serves essentially the same purpose. After a certain number of lives are lost, a cosmic witch in the shape of Rosalina will appear, in which you can talk to her. If you accept her offer, she will possess Mario, and the game will play for you in order to reach the star. You can stop the game at any time if you feel you can take over. However, by asking for help, your reward is a bronze star instead of the usual gold star, so it doesn't look as good. It will however allow you to progress on with the game if a star is giving you trouble. If you want a gold star, you will have to complete the star without the help of the cosmic witch.

Overall Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an excellent sequel to an already awesome game. Obviously a lot of players won't expect any major gameplay changes from the first game. However, the difficulty is definitely a step up from the original. Some stars will be easy to achieve, while others may consume some lives before you are finally successful. None of the stars are so difficult that it will make you want to quit. If you're stuck on a star, the Cosmic Guide can help you out. Completionists will want to collect all of the comet coins in order to collect the main 120 stars. But the fun doesn't stop there. Even after you collect all 120 stars in the seven worlds, you will unlock a further feature that may challenge even true Mario veterans. This game has a lot of replay value.

If you are just simply looking to beat the game (only beating final Bowser level), then I suggest renting this, as just beating it will probably take at most 3 days. However, if you're looking to complete this one hundred percent, then this game is a must buy. You will not be able to find everything the game has to offer in 2-3 short days, unless of course, you spend more than half your day playing the game. This is a game that will keep you busy for several days, and one of the best 3D platformers to date.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/01/10

Game Release: Super Mario Galaxy 2 (US, 05/23/10)

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