Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Nintendo Wii was easily one of the most anticipated games of 2010 for the little white box. Of course as with the majority of video games sequels, one does not have had to play the original to fully enjoy the second chapter. However, whether you are picking up Super Mario Galaxy 2 first, or a long time fan of the original Super Mario Galaxy, this is a game that is truly worth every penny.
The story in just about every Mario centered game I can remember is pretty simple; Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach, and our hero (that would be Mario) must save her. In the realm of today’s complex games, “Save the Princess” offers a nice simple theme. During the kidnapping Bowser disrupts the Star Festival, and takes the Power Stars and the Princess to his hideout. Mario quickly acquires a starship (oddly shaped) and sets out to retrieve the Power Stars and bring Princess Peach home.
As far as graphics go, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a well-built and designed universe, which is pretty much as good as it gets on the Nintendo Wii. Fortunately for Nintendo, this is a franchise that is not exactly built around photorealistic visuals. Mario and the rest of the crew look fantastic. The galaxies also come to life in a variety of different ways, each looking distinct and vibrant. What is impressive about a game like Galaxy 2 is the developers had the chance to repeat elements from galaxy to galaxy, and while sometimes they do (there are two slide levels), those repeated elements have different challenges.
Gameplay consists of the same old winning Mario platforming formula using the nunchuk and Wii controller; jump on enemies heads, shake the Wii controller to spin, the “B” button still shoots starbits to temporarily disable most enemies, and of course the long jump, wall jump, and stomp are still valuable parts of Mario’s arsenal. Luigi pops up from time to time as a playable character offering to give Mario a break, and while both brothers play similar Luigi tends to be a bit more shifty than Mario. However, the real treat here in Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the return of Yoshi. The green dinosaur really adds to the play in a variety of ways. When riding Yoshi, players use the Wii controller to point at enemies or objects and use the “B” button to either swallow or latch onto the target. Granted this dynamic takes a little practice, but it comes together nicely. The power ups are extremely fun to play around with as well. The Bee Suit, Fire Flower, and Rainbow Star Invincibility are back, plus the Cloud Suit allows players to actually create landing platforms and Rock Mario is a lot of fun but difficult to control.
Just as in the first Super Mario Galaxy, a second player can join the mix by picking up a Wii controller. That second player has limited interaction. Player two can shoot starbits, pickup coins, and temporarily freeze enemies. While getting someone’s help certainly simplifies some of the levels, it is hard to imagine anyone sitting beside you for the entire game.
Fortunately, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has the right amount of challenge and appeal that will get you to keep popping the disc into the Wii. Of course, there is a nice bonus after Bowser’s defeat, but going back through and snagging comet coins and the stars you missed are just as much fun as the original save the princess quest. On the downside, some of the boss battles are a little on the easy side the first time through. The Prankster Comets add some variety to the game, and be very difficult stars to earn.
All things considered, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is likely the front-runner for Game Of The Year Honors from a number of different places. This one was really worth the wait, and can provide hours of entertainment for the entire family.