Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Review
Tags: , , ,

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

With the first Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo evolved the idea of platform gaming to its highest possible state, turning the humble block into a 3D sphere rammed with possibilities. Now the inevitable sequel is here and it has to demonstrate even more creative ideas than the first game. The pressure’s really on for Nintendo’s twenty five year old mascot. Luckily, Mario has never been one to buckle under pressure and the result is an enjoyable experience.

From the off, the focus of Galaxy 2 is, like its predecessor, firmly on ‘play’. You learn by doing, see by exploring and experiment by acting. Once the game proper begins, there are very few sections that slow you down. Cinematics, a coherent narrative, dialogue scenes and other useless antiquities are discarded almost as soon as the game begins. After all, you have a controller in your hand and you want to have fun – what’s the point in stopping to have character motivation? You knew all this twenty five years ago: plumber stomps big dinosaur to save princess.

You’re immediately presented with a wealth of possibilities. Nintendo have wisely opted to change the format for opening levels, so this time, instead of crawling around the ship looking for the entrance to a new set of galaxies, you simply pilot a spaceship that looks like Mario’s head around a Super Mario World-style selection screen. It’s a much better idea and one that keeps you constantly in the game and always having fun.

And ‘Fun’ is the key word with Galaxy 2. Everything you do, see and experience is built around the simple prospect of putting a smile on your face. The wealth of new power-ups, level designs and even new uses for old items are staggering – somehow Nintendo, in one game, have become more imaginative than entire nations. Mario can now use a huge drill, roll around like a boulder and turn himself into a ghostly Boo. The best part is that, once again, every major action is controlled by a simple flick of the Wii Remote.

Visually, this is possibly the best looking Wii title ever released. Huge, incredibly intricate, landscapes are offered up to you, none of which have a hint of slowdown or pop-up. If there is a secret to how this is done, then perhaps Nintendo should teach it to other developers? On a similar note, the game’s soundtrack is equally stunning, featuring a variety of tunes both old and new, played with zest and love by a full orchestra. It’s like having pure love poured into your ears.

As with all of Nintendo’s latest games, the object of Galaxy 2 is to get families to gather around and play together. Like last time, a second person can grab a Wii Remote for themselves and join in the action, firing Star Bits at the various enemies and generally helping player one to complete the level free of distractions. It’s a nice device, though most over the age of roughly fifteen will be able to manage the tasks required of them without any help.

As if to help players of any age to get through the game, the disc comes with a free instructional DVD that teaches you how to play it. Couple this with a severely lowered difficulty level and optional instruction videos that crop up at any point in the game that may pose a challenge and you have a game that literally anyone of any age can play. In trying to create the fairest game of all time, Nintendo have succeeded with flying colours.

While Galaxy 2 is an undoubted triumph of spirited fun over obnoxious storytelling, it does lack that certain bit of magic that saw the first game succeed. The first two entire worlds feel too familiar, without anything really distinct in them. For the first couple of hours’ play time, you’ll have a gnawing sense of deja-vu. Luckily, this vanishes soon after and is replaced by some wonderful levels that manage to provoke a sense of joy and wonder. The other slight flaw is that, throughout the game, you’ll never really have that same sense of endless wonder as you did the first time you realised that you could run across every square inch of a planet’s surface. This time there’s more joy to be found in some more traditional levels – Flip Switch Galaxy and Throwback Galaxy being two particular favourites.

So it might not be quite as glorious an achievement as the first Galaxy title, but this sequel still manages to hit all the right buttons. Always fair, always fun and always astounding, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is as ludicrously entertaining as could be expected of a mascot who has survived for twenty five years.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s