Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Cover
Platforms Wii
Genre Gravity defying adventure
Score 10  Clock score of 10
Buy from Amazon

It has been a while since we've seen two core Mario series games on one Nintendo system in a while, you need to go back to the Super Nintendo with the two Super Mario Worlds for the last example, and it is highly arguable whether Yoshi's Island can be considered a core Mario game for that matter. Surprisingly, Nintendo announced Super Mario Galaxy 2 last year and the game was released this May to much herald and acclaim. Glancing at Metacritic, the top two games for the Wii are our two Galaxies, an incredible triumph for Nintendo.

I actually beat Super Mario Galaxy 2 well over a month ago, but I decided, much like I did with the first Super Mario Galaxy, to wait until I had collected all 120 stars before writing a review. Actually, make that 240, no... 242 stars! Galaxy 2 more than doubles the collectible star count over the original while keeping the game both interesting and challenging. But is the game too much like the Super Mario Galaxy, or does it set itself apart enough to transcend the typical sequel failings we've been witness of lately?

For a look at the game's opening, check out Nate's first hour review of Super Mario Galaxy 2 published right after release.

What I loved: Well, I loved Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 is everything the first one was kicked up another notch. There's just as much insane, gravity bending action but without the few really obnoxious levels the first game featured. The game features enough new gameplay elements to make it a must-buy. Yes, go buy it. Well, finish reading first.

So the biggest addition to the game is Yoshi, everyone's favorite green dinosaur making his latest appearance in a 3D Mario game. The biggest concern on my mind was how he would play? Turns out, pretty much perfectly, better than expected at least. Yoshi's got his classic flitter jump and grabbing bad guys with his tongue by pointing the Wiimote at the screen works very well. The levels Yoshi is featured in are built for the dinosaur, so you can't just bring him into any stage, but his stages are a welcome addition and break from the normal Galaxy gameplay.

Probably my biggest complaint from the original game has been solved, and that was Galaxy's hub world. The hub world needed to be navigated to get to the right set of galaxies, and required a ton of running around. You would also be tossed back into the hub world at random times to talk with various characters, totally breaking the flow of the game. Super Mario Galaxy 2 still has a hub world, but it's very small and you never actually have to explore it. Ever. Instead, there's a level select screen similar to something out of a Super Nintendo game. This isn't a knock, but a very welcome addition. Getting back to the business of collecting stars is now super streamlined. In a game with so much to do, I would like to kiss the person who suggested this at the design meeting when it was brought up.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 map

Along with no-frills hub world, Nintendo also wisely dropped any semblance of a story. The first Galaxy was plagued with boring cutscenes and a very slow beginning, Galaxy 2 cuts right to the action and there is just a single cutscene that plays when you beat the game. Thank you!

I can't go any further without mentioning the gameplay. Super Mario Galaxy 2 controls like a dream. One of my gameplay complaints about the first game was that sometimes Mario just didn't know what direction he was running in, you'd be holding the stick one way and he'd be going another. This was mostly due to the twist and whacko-gravity stages, but I barely had a problem with it this time around. Either the levels were designed to avoid this in the first place, or they actually fixed the problem at the root. Glad to see it taken care of though.

Level design in general is excellent, there's a great variety, and probably the best new feature (and transparent to most gamers) is that there are some really good 2D based levels now that disallow Mario from running in 3D space. This might be difficult to understand, but in the first game there were a lot of stages that tried to be like a traditional Mario platformer, but you could still accidentally run off the platforms by moving too close or far from the camera. Galaxy 2 eliminates that problem altogether by just not letting Mario leave the 2D plane. Awesome addition that let's you concentrate on the real level at hand and not fighting the controls.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 YoshiWhat I liked: Graphically, the game looks just like its predecessor, which is to say: very, very good. I mentioned in my Super Mario Galaxy 1 review that it looked like a game rendered in high definition, and I would still stand by that for the sequel. On the audio side, nothing new, but I won't even complain about a lack of voice acting this time because there's no story to voice!

There are also a few new powers for Mario to collect with the new Cloud power being the most used. Mario loves jumping and it basically just let's Mario jump make successive jumps even further. Yoshi gets a few power-ups too, including one that let's him run really fast on water. Jesus Yoshi?

What I didn't like: While the additional set of green stars is welcome, I was a bit disappointed that these were obviously just tacked on as an afterthought. They aren't actually integrated into each level at all but are just placed at hard to reach places. It would have been great if you needed to solve some kind of puzzle to unlock a few instead of just strategically triple jumping, but it's hard for me to really complain. The first 120 stars are awesome, and the next 120 are a great bonus (the final two, now those are just evil!).


Gameplay: 10
Super Mario Galaxy 2 fixed the few gameplay issues the first game had and adds a ton of great features including Yoshi. Easily the best playing 3D game I've ever laid my hands on.

Fun Factor: 10
Tons of things to do including double the number of stars from any other Mario game. Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a lot of great moments that will plant a huge smile on your face.

Graphics and Sound: 10
Beautiful looking game with an awesome soundtrack. There are a lot more tracks that are taken from earlier Mario games including the Ghost House song from Super Mario World.

Story: Thankfully gone!
Mario doesn't need a story, and after Sunshine and Galaxy 1 tried to cram one in, Nintendo smartly drops it in Galaxy 2.

Overall: 10
For those keeping score, this is the second 10 I've awarded to a Super Mario Galaxy game this year. Yes, both games are that good, Galaxy 2 is better, but since this range doesn't go to 11, we'll just have to be satisfied with another 10. Play both games and enjoy them, they're the perfect pair of 3D platformers. And Nintendo, how about Super Mario Galaxy 3? Please?

Super Mario Galaxy 2 took me 31 hours, 42 minutes to collect all 242 stars.