Reviews// Super Mario Galaxy 2

Posted 3 Jun 2010 16:21 by
If I was a crabby, jaded, wrinkled games reviewer with unsightly hard bits on my saggy skin folds, I would probably say, "Do we really need ANOTHER game in which Mario hops from planetoid to planetoid in a formula that's largely unchanged from the first Super Mario Galaxy?"

But I'm not. I am a young and enthusiastic game reviwer and, having played SMG2, I happen to know that the answer to the above-mentioned question is, "Yes, we do need one". At least we do if you like games that are... you know, fun. So, once more with caps and added exclamation points: 'YES!!!'

If you played the first game, the set-up of this sequel is unlikely to surprise you. As Mario, you hop from 'galaxy' to 'galaxy' leaping and bounding through a range of different themed levels with, for the most part, only the combination of your impressively-high leap and the force of your gut pulling you back to earth to help you. The galaxies are largely clusters of tiny free-floating planets and land masses, making platforming the order of the day.

Barring the addition of Yoshi (he mostly eats stuff) and some new powers (Cloud Mario, Rock Mario), there's little that's radically different about the way the levels play. The over-arching structure has changed a bit in SMG2 you progress on a starship that's been transformed by a Luma to look like the plumber's head.

You navigate this giant head through a world map that's more traditional than the first game, moving along tracks between levels. It makes progression a bit more straightforward. You'll have to complete nearly every level in order to gather up enough of the power stars you need to progress albeit with a little choice over the order.

There's just enough slack built in that if you're really banging your head against something sharp and hard trying to get a particular star then you can afford to leave it and move on.

Alternatively, you could make use of the Cosmic Guide. She turns up when you seem to be struggling and (in a manner not dissimilar to the Super Guide in New Super Mario Bros. Wii) will guide you to the star you're after, although you'll only get a less-shiny bronze offering for your efforts.

Yes, it might feel a bit like the game's just punched you in the face, called you a loser and told you Peach never wanted you anyway, but it's a handy feature. Maybe not for the hardcore, but given that Nintendo also clearly wants to reach a mainstream audience with SMG2 and that the game will have most players throwing their Wii Remotes in frustration from time to time, it's a helpful inclusion for newcomers.

Multiplayer takes the form of a buddy controlling a little Star Bloke (Luma) to snatch up Star Bits with you and do spin attacks against enemies. It's not amazing, but it gives other people in the room something to do while you giggle at the screen.

So, yeah, there's a handful of new features. But they're really not what keeps SMG2 from feeling stale. The strength of both the Galaxy titles (and most Mario games, for that matter) is that they're happy to be videogames. They make only a passing attempt at having a story and offer no attempt to explain the physics-defying level layouts and numerous features that can exist only in games.

Because any pretence of being anything other than a game is abandoned, the level designers are free to go nuts with wildly inventive (and occasionally mind-boggling) levels.
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