Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

June 3, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Posted in (All Posts), Reviews, Video Game Reviews | Leave a comment
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I think it’s a fair statement to say that most Mario games (I would dare say almost all) are good games. In fact, you’d be troubled to find someone who openly dislikes Mario games. It’s not uncommon as gamers grow up they may feel a distance growing between themselves and the cheerful plumber, but most of them wouldn’t deny the nostalgia and the fond feelings they have for Mario games.

That all being said, Mario Galaxy 2 is a 3D platformer for the Nintendo Wii released on May 23rd, 2010. It’s (obviously) a sequel to the original Super Mario Galaxy that was released on November 19th, 2007. This makes the very first time since the original NES that Nintendo has put more than one Mario platformer on a console. The Super Nintendo was only accompanied with Super Mario World. The Nintendo 64 launched with Super Mario 64. The Nintendo Gamecube — while it did launch with Luigi’s Mansion — only featured one Mario platformer with that being Super Mario Sunshine.

Many were surprised when Nintendo announced that Mario Galaxy 2 was going to be a reality. Not that it doesn’t make sense — in terms of hardware sales, Nintendo is winning this generation of “console wars” by a long shot. Nintendo’s success is arguably the greatest they’ve ever achieved, so giving the fans more than one Mario game on the Wii is a very wise (and kind) move.

So what is Super Mario Galaxy 2? The first thing you should know is that this game IS NOT a direct sequel to the original Super Mario Galaxy — at least concerning the story. The game opens up by telling “yet another tale” of the stars and galaxies that exist and an adventure that took place in one particular universe.

The familiar voice of Rosalina (from the original Mario Galaxy) greets us in the opening storybook piece and then the game begins.

But in all honesty — the story isn’t the main focus of a game like that — and Shigeru Miyamoto has even gone as far as to say that he doesn’t want a Mario game with a large focus on story.

What you really need to know about Super Mario Galaxy 2 is that it’s a 3D platformer with Mario where you collect stars. If you’ve played any of the other 3D Mario games, you shouldn’t be lost in figuring out what you’re supposed to do.

With this review coming out well over a week after the game’s release, I won’t waste time by telling you the same things that you can find elsewhere. What I will tell you are some of my favorite moments and favorite aspects of the game.

While I was a huge fan of the original Super Mario Galaxy, I cannot deny that this game is just so polished it is superior in every way. The only minor complaint I can come up with is the removal of the “Observatory”. If you don’t recall what I’m talking about — the Observatory served as a HUB-world for Mario to walk around and talk to Rosalina, the Toad Brigade, and other characters when not doing missions to go after stars. The Observatory has now been replaced with “Starship Mario”. Starship Mario is literally a giant spaceship of Mario’s head. A topdown view can be accessed and you travel from galaxy to galaxy similar to travelling to various worlds in Super Mario World. You can zoom onto the surface of Starship Mario and walk around the planet, talk to “Lubba” — a giant luma — and just become familiar with the controls at your leisure.

The overall level design is the best display ever seen in a 3D-platformer. Period.

Fans of the sidescrolling elements from the original SMG and New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be pleased to know that some levels feature sidescrolling bits. The transition from 2D to 2.5D to 3D is very smooth. While it sometime disorrients you as you have to readjust to what is up and what is down, that’s part of the fun about playing a Mario game in space.

It’s no secret that Yoshi is in  Super Mario Galaxy 2. After strangely being absent from the original SMG, his presence is greatly appreciated as brings a level of fun that only riding a green dinosaur can bring. Pointing at the screen at various enemies and items and pressing “B” allows Yoshi to reach out his tongue and eat basically anything in sight. Some of these items serve as unique Power-Ups that only Yoshi can access. From a blue fruit that allows Yoshi to blimp up to a spicy pepper that makes Yoshi take off so fast he can literally run on the surface of water — riding Yoshi is just as fun as it’s ever been.

The music is fabulous. The music is amazing. The music is everything that is good. Live orchestrated songs and computerized tunes of nostalgia return to fill in as the background music for every galaxy. I can’t even begin to describe just how pleasant it is to play this game with the ever-so-fitting music that accompanies it.

One example is from my personal favorite galaxy — Molty Monster Galaxy. Do you remember the lava monsters from Super Mario World known as “Blargs” or “Lava Blargs”? If not — don’t worry. I myself had to look up what the enemies were called. But anyways — these monsters return in this galaxy. And they are HUGE. Enormous. The music is epic. The Lava Blargs are literally coming out of giant lava planets with “pull stars” in between. As you point and click at each star, trying to navigate Mario between these lava planets, the Blargs stretch their necks and try to take a massive bite — almost engulfing Mario entirely. It is such an epic site to see.

What really makes that scene so special is the music. Almost right out of a giant monster movie from Japan, the loud trumpets and thunderous drums create an atmosphere of something dangerous and exciting at the same time.

Speaking of “Power-Ups” — Mario has quite a few new ones himself. Both the “Cloud Suit” and the “Rock Suit” are welcome additions alongside returning ones such as “Bee Mario” and the infamous Fire Flower. All of them appear in a well-handled quantity. None of them are overused or particularly underused (except Spring Mario) creating an effect that leaves you wanting to use them more but never wearing them out.

Visually the game is just beautiful. I am a huge fan of colors. In a day and age when the “coffee filter” has been placed over so many gritty First-Person-Shooters and other mature titles, it’s really nice to sit back and look at all the colors that fill up this game. Rarely is there ever an instant when you don’t see the reds and greens and purples all popping out creating a site to be marveled at.

So what else is there to say?

Unless some unforeseeable act changes the events of history, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has been received by other critics as a near perfect game. Some would even argue that in the genre of 3D-platformers or Mario games in general, this the absolute best.

After putting well over 20 hours into the game and collecting 135 stars (with more to go) — I can finally come to a conclusion on this review.

Part of me wants to be different here. Part of me wants to see something that others have obviously missed. Part of me wants to go against the grain just for the sake of going against the grain. But that would all be a lie.

I haven’t had this much fun with a videogame in a very long time. Sometimes I just long for that feeling of getting lost into a game and losing all earthly concerns. That happened with Super Mario Galaxy 2. I found myself in front of my TV completely enamored in this amazing world. Everything about the game is so — dare I say — perfect. It really is. I really love this game.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 gets a 10/10. An A+. It’s that good.

The bottom line is this — a lot of people own a Wii. If you want to play a really fun video game, you should buy this. Put whatever predetermined opinions aside and just play this game. You won’t regret it.

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