The little plumber that could
The original Super Mario Galaxy went a long way towards proving that even in this era of high definition graphics and big budget explosions, the core ingredient that makes a great game is how well it plays. And at that, Mario remains one of the best in the business. The original Galaxy was freakishly fun for that very reason, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 continues this tradition, resulting in a game that's easy to recommend to absolutely everyone.
Mario has been around for seemingly forever, yet I was blown away by the way Super Mario Galaxy made Mario feel new. And even though Super Mario Galaxy 2 feels and plays very much like its predecessor, I got that same vibe all over again, which is just crazy. By playing fast and loose with various physical laws (not the least of which is gravity), Galaxy 2 is able to create some mind bending platforming levels that are super exciting. Seeing as every level has its own unique setting, it's clear that the developers had a lot of creative freedom to provide a completely different experience in each and every one. Whether you're launching yourself into orbit around a small planet, floating through the air on an inflated Yoshi, or swimming through a chunk of water suspended in outer space, there's always a brand new mechanic waiting for you around every corner. Galaxy 2's incredible variety, snappy pacing, and brilliant level design are quite easily its best attributes, making it a game that continues to feel completely fresh and equally amazing from start to finish.
Variety, pacing, and level design are the higher concepts that Super Mario Galaxy 2 nails on the head, and its core is plenty solid enough to hold it all together. Mario himself controls as well as ever, and even with all of his new suits and steeds there's still a ton of precision to the way the little guy moves. It's been the benchmark of his success over the years, and Galaxy 2 certainly holds the standard high. The game also looks and sounds absolutely amazing. The visuals are both technically and artistically the best you're going to find on the Wii- everything's super polished, runs with the smoothest of frame-rates, and has a great sense of style. Even better is how the game sounds. Like its predecessor, Galaxy 2 sports a majestic musical score that does a fantastic job at mixing together both old and new Mario themes. Each track is as good as the last, which is due in no small part to their excellent, orchestrated sound quality. Take my word for it- this will end up being one of the best soundtracks of the year.
I know it's cool and all to hate on Nintendo and their long running franchises. But when it comes down to it, even though Super Mario Galaxy 2 is part of a series that's over two decades old, it feels just as fresh and just as new as any other platformer out there. Its relentless pacing, unparalleled variety, brilliant level designs, perfect controls, beautiful visuals, and inspired soundtrack vault it to the top of its genre. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the very definition of "best of breed" gaming, making it easily one of the best 3D platformers made to date. Any fan of the genre would be crazy to miss this one.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.