Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

Super Mario Galaxy 2 [Only available on Wii]
ESRB Rating: E
Players: 1-2
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Release Date: May 23rd, 2010

Parent Talk: Mario is the perfect gaming mascot for families.  Nintendo’s mustachioed plumber is the recognized face of the industry, so most parents should already be familiar with him.  Mario’s latest adventure is rated E, acceptable for players of all ages.  No profanity, no violence; just plain fun.  Unlike most watered down “kid friendly” games however, Super Mario Galaxy 2 provides a healthy challenge for all.  Teens and adults may just as easily be swayed by its charms.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 has received glowing reviews from everyone.  After playing seeing it to the end, painstakingly gathering every star I could manage, I agree.  SMG2’s charm is infectious.  This is easily the best Wii game to date.  The visual appeal, level design, orchestrated music, and fun gameplay mechanics make it an instant classic.  2007’s Super Mario Galaxy was and still is an amazing game, but SMG2 perfectly builds on it and integrates so many new ideas into an already great template.

The Great:

Oh boy…where to begin?  This is an adventure of cosmic proportions (bad pun, sorry).  Super Mario Galaxy 2 features a satisfying amount of levels, each offering a unique world to explore.  Yoshi especially makes many of the stages memorable with his own special abilities (like eating enemies, integrated perfectly with the IR pointer).  Levels are presented on a select screen reminiscent of the classics, like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.  Each stage contains several stars supported by fresh scenarios.  Then there are “Comet” levels accessible after nabbing the unsurprisingly named Comet Coins.  The platforming is amazing; the challenges are plentiful, and there’s always something cool to see and do.  Acquiring 120 stars is just the tip of the iceberg this time.  Even Luigi is playable!

The Good:

+ Beautiful music.  The orchestrated soundtrack is back in full swing, with an array of new and familiar tunes.  The music is exceptionally well-done no matter how you slice it.

+ Visuals. Super Mario Galaxy 2 runs on the same engine laid down by its predecessor, which shows how amazing that first game was.  SMG2 manages to improve on it with highly imaginative worlds to explore and loads of cool effects.  The overworld design from SMG (and to an extent, SM64 and Sunshine) has been simplified, but it’s still a visually striking level select system.  Mario can still enter a centralized hub via his Starship, but this way it is much easier to pick up the game and find new levels.

+ Yoshi! Mario’s famous steed has finally returned, and it’s wonderful how much he adds to the game.  Instead of riding him from level to level, Yoshi is contained for specific areas.  Certain levels must be completed with his abilities, like Blimp Yoshi.  There are other cool and creative power-ups as well, like Cloud Mario and Rock Mario, in addition to Bee Mario that we enjoyed two years ago.  Using each transformation wisely can make levels far more entertaining and open up the possibility to find new stars.

+ Improved co-op. SMG offered the option of letting a second player on to nab and shoot star bits.  SMG2 gives player two more freedom.  Grabbing items, stunning enemies and some hazards, and performing a spin attack.  Having a buddy grab a controller makes many levels surprisingly easy.

+ Perfect challengeSMG2 is legitimately difficult.  The latter levels are extremely tough.  Seasoned gamers should welcome this with open arms. Newer players, however, may struggle on their own or use the HinTV/Cosmic Guide to let the game play itself.  Nintendo balanced this however, by awarding a Bronze star to the more helpless, instead of a Gold.

The Bad:

The (lack of) voice work.  This isn’t 1996 anymore.  People expect spoken dialogue, not beeps and boops.  This is a minimal complaint considering it’s a Mario game; but still, Nintendo should act in our lifetimes.

Thin story.  Our plot is basically a repeat from 2007.  I know expectations are low for a Mario platformer, but it would be nice if Nintendo made an effort to write something other than the usual “save Princess Peach” routine.  The RPGs have entered those doors; why not the platformers?

No other playable characters. Not much to say, but it would be a pleasant surprise to play as Peach, for example.

The Lowdown:

You may think by The Bad that Super Mario Galaxy 2 surely couldn’t achieve top honors.  That, my friend, is what you call nitpicking.  Even considering those points, SMG2 is a thoroughly amazing adventure that must be played, Nintendo fan or not.

One thought on “Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review”

  1. Nice review, Tim. Short, sweet, and to the point.

    Been enjoying Super Mario Galaxy 2 a lot. I’m in World 6 and on 80 stars. Still have two Worlds left and 40 stars to finish the first official 100% completion. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that there’s actually 242 stars in the game, which is simply insane. I won’t go to that extent anytime soon, but it’s nice to hear about this awesome replay value.

    The music is simply magical. Kondo and Yakota experimented a lot more, adding a lot of Mario-like tracks into the mix. While I do prefer the first SMG’s epic orchestrations, the sequel still has some good stuff.

    This is how to make a sequel. I know some people are complaining about the “been there, done that” feeling, which hasn’t been an issue until NSMB Wii, I’m still enjoying my time with it. Milking or not, this is one well-designed platformer.

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