In both SMG
, very few levels feel more than very vaguely similar to any other. You hopscotch from floaty cloud-based levels to haunted space-y levels to weird Monkey Ball
-esque tracks in which Yoshi jolts to superspeed thanks to ill-advised chilli consumption. As the backdrops change, so do the play mechanics. You'll be using Cloud Mario to generate platforms for more technical jumpy stuff one minute and guiding an overly-gassy Yoshi through a vertical level the next.
So, my point is that it's difficult for a series to feel stale when what makes it special is the sheer variety on offer in the first place. SMG2
might not offer anything wildly original, but the series' very format keeps it from feeling tired.
It looks great, too. Granted, it looked better on my modestly-sized SD telly at home than it does on the huge shiny HD thing we have in the SPOnG Underwater Castle. But, really, apart from making SMG2
look better on a big screen, I don't think more horsepower or HD would bring a lot to the table. The bright, imaginative design provides plenty of eye candy to feast on as it is and while higher resolution would be nice, it would also be fairly unnecessary.
I guess there are probably some graphics whores out there who'd argue the toss with me. But then, some people would argue that Shigeru Miyamoto has kept Nintendo and the games industry operating with an 8bit mentality. Others would argue that they should go screw themselves with their PlayStation Move wand. Each to their own.
The music, for its part, offers a very Disneyfied audio landscape, riffing occasionally on classic tunes for the nostalgia vote. It adds, in places, a slightly grand feeling to proceedings. In other places, it must be said, it adds a coating of sugar.
Nintendo has done an incredible job of making Super Mario Galaxy 2 a massively fun, engrossing title. The new features build on the first game's accomplishments without ever innovating for innovation's sake and without ever obscuring what made the original great. It doesn't push any boundaries, but it doesn't need to, either. Beyond all that, it will have you grinning like an idiot.
SPOnG Score: 96%
Now, I'm off to wash my brain out with something bitter and a bit foul – I can feel my older, snarlier self looking back through time at me with disapproval...