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Mario Rocks, Rolls In Super Mario Galaxy 2

Hands-on impressions with some wild new levels in Nintendo's platformin' Wii sequel.


When Nintendo pitched its here's-all-the-ideas-we-couldn't-fit-in-the-first-time concept for Super Mario Galaxy 2 at E3 last year, they weren't joking around. This isn't just a collection of B-side levels made with the same art assets and mechanics of the stellar (sorry) original platformer, still one of the best Wii games available in my humble estimation. Galaxy 2 definitely looks and plays like the first game on its surface, but there does seem to be a whole sequel's worth of new power-ups and things to do in here that I hope will make this thing worth the full-fledged-sequel price tag.

There's the rock suit, one of the game's new power-ups. It's a mushroom with a blocky granite-looking cap that girds Mario in a stone suit that somehow doesn't seem to weigh him down. But it does roll him up into a boulder when you shake the Wii remote that spins for a second--giving you just enough time to point it in the direction you want to roll--before it takes off and smashes through just about anything in its way. You have to be pretty careful with the rock suit spin, as the thing hurtles off like a bullet as soon as it launches. It sort of has a mind of its own, giving you only limited steering control once you're barreling around a level. But there are, of course, a ton of things to smash through and a number of sizable ramps to jump over in levels where you find the rock suit.

And hey, you probably already knew about Yoshi's triumphant return, right? But how about light Yoshi? I got to play a level in the Haunty Hills Galaxy patterned after the old ghost houses from Super Mario World, where the floor was nonexistent unless Yoshi grabbed little light bulb power-ups that made him luminous for a short period of time, revealing the floor around him. But the area of floor you can walk on shrinks slowly as the light fades, so if you don't get to the next bulb in short order, you're tumbling into the abyss. Of course there are extra coin blocks and 1ups spread here and there between bulbs that only the fastest players will be able to detour and pick up before the floor runs out beneath them.

Galaxy's wanton misuse of celestial terminology must have Carl Sagan spinning in his grave. Like in the first game, here a small group of tiny round planetoids make up a level, in the game's parlance called a galaxy, and multiple galaxies then go on and constitute a world. Yeah, I don't get it either, but the net effect is that in Mario Galaxy 2, "worlds" work just like they did in games like Mario 3, Super Mario World, and (come to think of it) New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which is to say you get an overhead-perspective map with a bunch of levels connected together by paths that you move an iconic Mario around.
 


Actually, in this case it's Starship Mario, a giant green Mario head that flies from one world to the next. You can also zoom down to a close-up view of Starship Mario and run around on it, sort of like Mario 64's castle. Starship Mario is sort of like a gameplay sandbox in Galaxy 2, since you can play around with any of the already unlocked power-ups and abilities at will. You can even hop on Yoshi and run around, though Yoshi plays pretty much just like Mario, except that you need to use the cursor to tongue-lash predefined grapple points in each level.

I can't help mentioning the new (edit: not new) underwater turtle shell power-up. Ever since the hallowed Mario 64, I've thought the swimming controls in Mario games were a bit weird, but this thing basically provides you an outboard motor that lets you zoom around underwater without having to hammer on the A button. It's got headlights on the front of it that you can use against some aquatic enemies, and, hilariously, it has red taillights that light up when you hit the break to stop swimming around. Later on in the water level I was able to freeze the pond I was swimming around in, and skate around on top of it.

Some of the levels come up with some snazzy new mechanics solely through inventive level design, without relying on new power-up gimmicks. One of these had me running around the top of a sliding tile puzzle, making me butt-stomp the sides of the tiles to slide them around and form a complete picture on the top, revealing the star that would rocket me to the next area. And later on, I was running along a particularly brutal series of wooden platforms that had automated saw blades carving big chunks out of them as I went along. In the interest of preserving what tatters remain of my reputation, I'm not going to mention how the rest of this level went for me, but let it suffice that it wasn't too easy.

Don't let Mario's affable Italian exterior fool you; the portly little sadist is not messing around in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Some of these levels are pretty darn difficult, especially that last level with all the saw blades. The game looks like it'll provide a healthy challenge and a bunch of new toys to play with when it ships in May. Now watch this new trailer and look at screens!

 
  
 

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad

When Nintendo pitched its here's-all-the-ideas-we-couldn't-fit-in-the-first-time concept for Super Mario Galaxy 2 at E3 last year, they weren't joking around. This isn't just a collection of B-side levels made with the same art assets and mechanics of the stellar (sorry) original platformer, still one of the best Wii games available in my humble estimation. Galaxy 2 definitely looks and plays like the first game on its surface, but there does seem to be a whole sequel's worth of new power-ups and things to do in here that I hope will make this thing worth the full-fledged-sequel price tag.

There's the rock suit, one of the game's new power-ups. It's a mushroom with a blocky granite-looking cap that girds Mario in a stone suit that somehow doesn't seem to weigh him down. But it does roll him up into a boulder when you shake the Wii remote that spins for a second--giving you just enough time to point it in the direction you want to roll--before it takes off and smashes through just about anything in its way. You have to be pretty careful with the rock suit spin, as the thing hurtles off like a bullet as soon as it launches. It sort of has a mind of its own, giving you only limited steering control once you're barreling around a level. But there are, of course, a ton of things to smash through and a number of sizable ramps to jump over in levels where you find the rock suit.

And hey, you probably already knew about Yoshi's triumphant return, right? But how about light Yoshi? I got to play a level in the Haunty Hills Galaxy patterned after the old ghost houses from Super Mario World, where the floor was nonexistent unless Yoshi grabbed little light bulb power-ups that made him luminous for a short period of time, revealing the floor around him. But the area of floor you can walk on shrinks slowly as the light fades, so if you don't get to the next bulb in short order, you're tumbling into the abyss. Of course there are extra coin blocks and 1ups spread here and there between bulbs that only the fastest players will be able to detour and pick up before the floor runs out beneath them.

Galaxy's wanton misuse of celestial terminology must have Carl Sagan spinning in his grave. Like in the first game, here a small group of tiny round planetoids make up a level, in the game's parlance called a galaxy, and multiple galaxies then go on and constitute a world. Yeah, I don't get it either, but the net effect is that in Mario Galaxy 2, "worlds" work just like they did in games like Mario 3, Super Mario World, and (come to think of it) New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which is to say you get an overhead-perspective map with a bunch of levels connected together by paths that you move an iconic Mario around.
 


Actually, in this case it's Starship Mario, a giant green Mario head that flies from one world to the next. You can also zoom down to a close-up view of Starship Mario and run around on it, sort of like Mario 64's castle. Starship Mario is sort of like a gameplay sandbox in Galaxy 2, since you can play around with any of the already unlocked power-ups and abilities at will. You can even hop on Yoshi and run around, though Yoshi plays pretty much just like Mario, except that you need to use the cursor to tongue-lash predefined grapple points in each level.

I can't help mentioning the new (edit: not new) underwater turtle shell power-up. Ever since the hallowed Mario 64, I've thought the swimming controls in Mario games were a bit weird, but this thing basically provides you an outboard motor that lets you zoom around underwater without having to hammer on the A button. It's got headlights on the front of it that you can use against some aquatic enemies, and, hilariously, it has red taillights that light up when you hit the break to stop swimming around. Later on in the water level I was able to freeze the pond I was swimming around in, and skate around on top of it.

Some of the levels come up with some snazzy new mechanics solely through inventive level design, without relying on new power-up gimmicks. One of these had me running around the top of a sliding tile puzzle, making me butt-stomp the sides of the tiles to slide them around and form a complete picture on the top, revealing the star that would rocket me to the next area. And later on, I was running along a particularly brutal series of wooden platforms that had automated saw blades carving big chunks out of them as I went along. In the interest of preserving what tatters remain of my reputation, I'm not going to mention how the rest of this level went for me, but let it suffice that it wasn't too easy.

Don't let Mario's affable Italian exterior fool you; the portly little sadist is not messing around in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Some of these levels are pretty darn difficult, especially that last level with all the saw blades. The game looks like it'll provide a healthy challenge and a bunch of new toys to play with when it ships in May. Now watch this new trailer and look at screens!

 
  
 

Staff
Posted by Atomasist

Mario.

Posted by ajamafalous
@Atomasist said:
" HEY GUYS I POSTED BEFORE ANYONE ELSE AM I COOL YET "
Edited by Linkyshinks

Thanks for the write up on Masterpiece 2
 

Trailer Summary

  • Use Starship Mario to travel to galaxies, can explore a bit on it and talk to Lumas 
  • Can choose to visit Starship Mario at any time for power-ups, 1ups 
  • Galaxy you’re in will be reflected in themed background of the Starship Mario 
  • There is more to Starship Mario 
  • Boulder Bowl Galaxy: New suit: Rock Mario 
  • Shake Wiimote to have Mario roll into a sphere, can knock down objects 
  • Can steer Rock Mario, but it’s tough to turn with it on 
  • Rollodillo boss fight: Tries to squash Mario, can attack his backside 
  • New Yoshi ability: bulb fruit turns him into Light Yoshi 
  • Haunty Halls Galaxy 
  • Light Yoshi can illuminate platforms, if you can’t see the platforms you’ll die 
  • Puzzle Plank Galaxy: Can cut through platforms you’re on, move based on your position 
  • Cosmic Cove Galaxy: Twin Falls Hideaway challenge (swim underwater, go to a switch that turns water into ice) 
  • Swimming with the koopa shell: When you brake, taillights will show up 
  • Honeybloom Galaxy: Bee costume is back, level is in side-scrolling view 
  • Still more elements about the game that can’t be discussed yet    
Edited by Hitchenson

Sure looks like Mario Galaxy. Which isn't to say that's a bad thing.

Posted by JJWeatherman

Not a fan. Then again I couldn't say I'm against this either.

Posted by SolidEyeSystem

Pumped.

Posted by phrosnite

YEAH! My favourite pokemon is in the game ^_^ Its shell that is.

Edited by Death_Burnout

Aww i prefered the old "world view".
 
I could go for some more Super Mario Galaxy, easy.

Posted by fwylo

Yes

Posted by tallTuck94

the motor shells under water were in the last game as well i think

Posted by TurboMan

I wish Nintendo would port over the the PS3 sometimes :(

Posted by Willy105

This sounds incredible.
 
Not even it's terrible use of naming star systems can't stop from blowing my mind.

Posted by JJOR64

This game needs to hurry up and get on store shelves.

Posted by Cornman89

Dude yes.

Posted by Th3_James

I wish nintendo made this shit for pc, ps3, and 360... I just can't stand Wii, and DS 
 
I could borrow my dad's wii, and my sister gave me her DS lite...So I could play these games, but I would just really like it if I could play them on a non nintendo platform

Posted by Nintaiyo

The underwater turtle shell power-up was in the first Galaxy.

Posted by Crushed
@Th3_James said:
" I wish nintendo made this shit for pc, ps3, and 360... I just can't stand Wii, and DS  I could borrow my dad's wii, and my sister gave me her DS lite...So I could play these games, but I would just really like it if I could play them on a non nintendo platform "
looool
Posted by JackSukeru

The fact that you only have 3 hit points,down from eight in the other 3D games, is one of my favorite parts of SMG. Made the game a bit more challenging when it came to damage from enemies. Anyway stoked for this.

Posted by Emilio

Ahh that's' so cool. I wonder if there's more power ups. 
 
Boo Mario needed more action in the last game. I'm glad there's more Boo Mario.

Edited by neoepoch

Brad, I'd hate to break it to you, but swimming with the Koopa shell (and the red break light) was in the first Mario Galaxy. Kinda like how you were able to kill Dry Bones in Super Mario World with the cape. New Super Mario Bros. Wii didn't come up with the idea of killing Dry Bones or the Ice Flower (it was in Mario Galaxy).
These features aren't new.
Still I'm looking forward to the game. Super Mario Galaxy was one of my all time favorites of 2007, and this is shaping up to look awesome.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Cool, but I think it's incredibly arrogant of him to have a planet shaped like his head.

Posted by Sweep
@ahoodedfigure said:
" Cool, but I think it's incredibly arrogant of him to have a planet shaped like his head. "
ahahahahahahahahaha, love it :D
Moderator
Posted by MormonWarrior

I...this...ah...OH MY GOSH I WANT A WII AGAIN FREAKING NINTENDO I HATE YOU!!! I MEAN LOVE YOU! I'm so very confused right now...

Posted by haggis
@Th3_James: Sometimes I wish the same thing. I liked the style of Mario Galaxy, but absolutely hated the controls. I found myself wishing I could play the damned thing with the 360 controller. Then, maybe, I would have finished it.
Posted by KinjiroSSD

Nintendo knows how to pull my strings.

Posted by danimal_furry

Word!  YOSHIS INNNNNN SPAAAAAAAAAAACE!
Posted by JonathanMoore

That, my friends, is awesome.

Posted by Skald

It's times like this I wish I had a Wii.

Posted by Legend

Spaaaaaace

Posted by Tireyo

This is going to be a fun game.

Edited by NathHaw

Feels so good to have a reason to love Nintendo once again.

Posted by Th3_James
@haggis said:
" @Th3_James: Sometimes I wish the same thing. I liked the style of Mario Galaxy, but absolutely hated the controls. I found myself wishing I could play the damned thing with the 360 controller. Then, maybe, I would have finished it. "
Agreed, and I could drive over to my dad's house and borrow his wii indefinitely, but it is really to much of a hassle. I also don't want to play in a shitty low resolution... 
Posted by Brackynews
@ahoodedfigure said:
" Cool, but I think it's incredibly arrogant of him to have a planet shaped like his head. "
In Galaxy 3 I expect he gets a Nebula.
Mariorion..?
Edited by Brackynews
@Th3_James said:

but I would just really like it if I could play them on a non nintendo platform

Psshh.. Next thing you'll want to play Sonic games on a non-Seg... WHOAoaoaoaoa...
  **FALLS INTO BLACK HOLE**
Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Brackynews: What Mario needs to do is go 4X on the universe.  Conquer planets, crush them, and occupy them with toad armies.  Only then will we see the true face of the tyrant who came down the pipes!!
 
@Sweep: thanks, man :)

Posted by Steve_C

I'm glad they streamlined the front-end for navigating levels. I found running around the starship a little tedious after a while in the first game.

Posted by Brockly46

yep thats mario

Posted by Sykosis

ROCK SUIT?! OOOHHHHHH DAYYUUUUMMMMM!!!!

Posted by JauntyHat
@Th3_James said:
"I wish nintendo made this shit for pc, ps3, and 360... I just can't stand Wii, and DS  I could borrow my dad's wii, and my sister gave me her DS lite...So I could play these games, but I would just really like it if I could play them on a non nintendo platform "

I...I can't tell if this is a troll or not... just..just wow... 
 
Anyways, Looks like a blast to play like the last one. I just wish they could get around to making a true-to-heart Mario sequel rather than another run around with an already established (although fantastic) world.
Posted by Vigorousjammer

This is reminding me a lot of Super Mario Bros. 2
same graphics as the first one, more of a challenge (Hopefully) and some extra features thrown in.
 
thankfully they're not taking the new Doki Doki Panic game and re-modeling the characters to make a different Mario game for the US, lol

Posted by Milpool

BAH I didn't even finsh the first but I want this
Posted by championfetus
@JJWeatherman said:
" Not a fan. Then again I couldn't say I'm against this either. "
I don't have blades nor do I oscillate, but I gotta say this game looks great.
Edited by MrKlorox

Mario needs to grow a Goatee.
 
Gonna pass on this most likely. Nostalgia only carries so far.

Posted by Tebbit

I brought my Wii for the first one, and i'd class it as one of the best games ever made. So this can, by all measures, only be way better.

Posted by locolukah
@Th3_James said:
" I wish nintendo made this shit for pc, ps3, and 360... I just can't stand Wii, and DS  I could borrow my dad's wii, and my sister gave me her DS lite...So I could play these games, but I would just really like it if I could play them on a non nintendo platform "
Uh, what? How would you play DS and Wii games on other systems???
Posted by gogobomb
@Th3_James: and why would they do that? ps3 and 360 are from sony and microsoft, their direct competitors, there not gonna release them on their competitors' console! that would be stupid, it would their competitors more money and they don't want that. and whats so bad about the wii and ds anyway that you can't stand them? and you'd better not say graphics cause graphics dont matter, its gameplay that matters
Posted by Kyreo

APRIL FOOOOOOLSSSS!!!!! 
 
 
CMON GUYS!!!!!!

Posted by gogobomb
@TurboMan: my god this is the second time ive replied to a stupid comment like this, nintendo would NEVER port over to other consoles because that would mean giving their competitors money
Posted by gogobomb

I CANNOT WAIT I AM GOING TO GO CRAZY WAITING FOR THIS GAME

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