Super Mario Galaxy 2 Wii Review

Publisher – Nintendo – Developer – Nintendo – Genre – Platformer – Players – 1-2 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

Super Mario Galaxy was an astounding game with a magnificent world that gave you the sense that you were exploring a vast universe filled with variety. As is always the case with a Mario game, it was impeccably designed and just simply incredible fun to play. It was magic.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an almost unthinkable game, a direct sequel bringing back together much of the things that made its predecessor such a joy to play. So you’re still hunting for stars across the galaxies. Visually, it looks much the same too, which is no bad thing for such an appealing looking game that, in overall appeal, betters many games on the HD consoles. Whilst the story is as flimsy as ever and is the usual simple Peach gets kidnapped and Mario goes to rescue her and save the world from Bowser nonsense.

Those who played its predecessor will soon feel completely in charge of Mario’s actions once again, effortlessly pulling off triple jumps and other manoeuvres, all of which are as responsive as you would expect. For those new to it, though, there are helpful videos included, which assist you in executing all the requisite actions, but thankfully these are completely optional allowing the more experienced to get on with the star hunting with no in game intrusions to break the flow.

Motion sensing is primarily used for Mario's spin attack in the most common sections, but rarely used to a great extent elsewhere, but when it is it's finely executed.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a harder game than the original, though not as challenging as most reviews make it out to be. Checkpoints are still generous enough and additional lives often come thick and fast, but the increase in challenge will be welcome to those who aced the original game with little trouble and are seeking a bigger challenge for their skills.

The levels have much of the usual themes, such as deserts, snow, underwater and lava, though are still some of the best designed in existence, bringing new life to such liberally used areas. Like the first game, there are sections that have you traversing levels upside down. This time around Nintendo have opted to focus more on 2D sections, which should be a welcome slice of nostalgia to those who played the earlier 2D outings.

There’s a lot of variety contained within Super Mario Galaxy 2, not only in the themes of the levels, but also the tasks that you do – keeping the game fresh, even when you go in search of all the stars on offer. There are racing, coin collection and chase sections. It’s a game that just keeps on giving and whilst it’s not all that hard to find the 70 stars required for completion, to find all 240 is a huge task that will require a lot of time, effort and patience, and perhaps even Wii remotes.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 doesn’t feature a hub to travel to levels, but instead you enter said levels through a simple map menu, though between levels you can explore a spaceship (shaped like Mario’s face) to get yourself some additional lives and star bits. For some this will be a weak substitution for a larger scale hub containing secrets and such, but few will be able to argue that its loss has any real impact on the game.

There’s plenty of variety present in Mario’s abilities too. Just like the first game, on certain levels you’re able to change form, which grants Mario new actions. All of the forms featured in Mario Galaxy have returned, but this time around there’s also Cloud Mario, which allows you to magic up clouds whilst jumping, allowing you to ascend to greater heights, and Rock Mario, which transforms you into a rock, giving you the ability to roll around the levels.

Another new feature is the return of Yoshi, who hasn’t been seen since Mario Sunshine. Riding around on the little lizard gives you a host of new abilities. You can grab onto enemies or objects at a distance and swing on things with his long tongue. Just like Mario, Yoshi can also change form on particular levels. Blimp Yoshi floats and Dash Yoshi moves fast.

The inclusion of Yoshi will come as a delight to many and, in combination with the old, his new set of abilities makes him all the more enjoyable to take charge of.

The co-star mode has returned in improved form. It’s still essentially a co-op mode, where one player takes charge of Mario and the other controls the pointer function, hoovering up star bits. But this time around the secondary player has greater involvement in proceedings, picking up lives and other powerups. They can also assist in defeating enemies and can hold platforms that would usually disappear. It’s particularly good for parents and their kids to play together, and another good aid for kids and less experienced gamers is the fact that between separate save files star bits and lives can be shared, easing progress through the game.

The changes to this sequel are merely incremental, which isn’t a bad thing when it was such a remarkable thing to start with, though there’s a sense of déjà vu and a smidgen of the magic is certainly slightly diminished and with it some of the game’s impact, but it was certainly a universe worth revisiting at least once for Nintendo.

Few games are designed as well as this though, or are as fun to play. It may very well add little new to the formula, but whilst that formula has not had enough added to make it as impactful as its predecessor, Super Mario Galaxy 2 certainly has enough to make it more superior than the original game, and for Nintendo that was a tall order indeed.