WARNING: Do not play this game if you hate having a good time
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am sick and tired of game journalism consistently missing a very key demographic in their reviews. It's as if they're purposefully ignoring us and what we want out of a game, despite the fact there are literally <i>dozens</i> of us out there. I'm of course talking about people who don't like having fun.
"10/10 because it's so much fun!!!", "omg best game I've ever played!", "a non-stop bash set into overdrive!" bah! What about me, the consumer who hates a good time? Would I enjoy a game that is, and I quote, "so much fun!!!"? Doesn't seem likely to me. So I've decided to take the law into my own hands and lay down some good old fashioned justice on Super Mario Galaxy 2, one of the worst offenders to my goal of non-fun I've seen in years.
Where to even start? How about the hub world, which has been entirely redone to be more streamlined and accessible without losing any of the charm of previous hubs. Why couldn't they have had a bland, vaguely open world hub level or even a bare-bones level selection screen? Unfortunately, this extra level of polish makes an otherwise minor part of the game really stand out as something really special, and it's one of the very first things you do in the game.
Of course the "charm" and "magic" (ugh!) don't just stop at the level select screen. No, of course it has to extend to literally every world, every level, every star, every god damned platforming sequence. Each level acts as if it was designed by some sort of super genius hellbent on engineering the most densely enjoyable platformer imaginable. Worst of all, this feeling extends to every last level from start to end. Make no mistake, this is no Super Mario Galaxy 1, as it's filled to the brim with dedication and polish.
Galaxies are split by theme like usual, only "theme" doesn't just mean "Snow Level" or "Underwater Level" this time around. Instead, all the stars in a galaxy are based on a specific platforming or gameplay feat that is special to that level. The ideas are incredibly unique and refreshing, and nothing is ever dragged out or even repeated. At over 120 stars and almost 50 levels, one has to assume Nintendo sold their soul to some demon in exchange for these hundreds of innovative ideas. Honestly, a concept used in a SINGLE galaxy would be enough of an idea to warrant an entire game. Since when did I, as a consumer, demand this sort of value? It honestly disgusts me how much bang for my buck I am getting. We can only hope Activision publishes the next Mario game
Alright, so we already know that the levels fail, but what about the power ups? I mean, Yoshi is back, so is he hopefully as awful to use as he was in Sunshine? No! He isn't! If anything, this is the best Yoshi there's ever been in a Mario to date, which includes his original debut. He feels just powerful enough to make you seek him out whenever you can, but his specialized powers (gained from fruits) are balanced and all serve a purpose.
The remaining powers are all, unfortunately, powerful yet balanced. They never feel like they're overtaking the core aspects of the platforming, and most powerups come with some pretty hefty restrictions - touch water in most suits and you'll lose it, for instance. This helps keep the focus on the platforming, and as you may have gotten from this review already, Galaxy 2 is a game that really zooms in on its most excellent aspects. It's absolutely awful.
Finally, how's the challenge? It's the worst, as it's incredibly balanced and fair. The main game worlds all have their mix of easy and hard stars, but the real challenges take place in the entirely optional comet runs and various "secret" levels that you have to unlock via a hungry luma. Mario is absolutely famous for how it teaches you to adjust to new concepts as you do them, and this game is no exception. I'm not sure why they decided not to overwhelm the player (I'd also take "underwhelm to boredom, followed by a nap"), but this game is so tightly balanced you could probably teach just about anyone to play.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 quite literally makes me sick. My floor, couch, and several of my cats are covered head to toe in vomit from all the fun I'm having. I've been to the doctors, the psychologist, and even a week into a mental institution - voluntarily checked myself in, I might add! As a person who hates fun, Galaxy 2 may as well be my kryptonite. It's the most fun I've had in a videogame since I was a kid, and I can honestly say I played most of the game with a huge, goofy smile on my face, constantly calling to my girlfriend and family to look at the newest crazy level I was working on.
On a scale from 1-5 on the "How Awful Is This Game In Terms Of Fun?" ranking, I'm forced to give Super Mario Galaxy 2 a 5. Better luck next time, Nintendo