Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review
By - Richard J.
Back in 2007, the geniuses at Nintendo released Super Mario Galaxy to the world. The game received high critical acclaim and praise. Many dubbed Super Mario Galaxy as the best Mario game ever released. Riding on the coat tails of such a great success, Nintendo set out to release a sort of "Super Mario Galaxy 1.5", using levels that had to be cut from the original game due to restrictions. What was originally planned as a sort of expansion to the original Super Mario Galaxy quickly became a full-fledged sequel as the developers designed more levels, galaxies, and power-ups. Being a full sequel that was originally born as an expansion had some gamers worried that we would be lured into essentially buying over-priced, disc based DLC. Luckily, I am here to tell you that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is not only a great stand alone title, it is also one of, if not the best game on the Wii to date.
Like any good Mario game, the focus of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the gameplay. Super Mario Galaxy 2 features some of the greatest platforming of any game I've ever played. As basic Mario, you will walk, run, jump, and spin your way through levels. Super Mario Galaxy 2 also features a plethora of power ups which can be used by Mario. Classic power ups like fire flowers and invincibility stars make their return, while brand new power ups like Cloud Mario and Rock Mario make their debut. There are also a few "vehicles" which Mario can take control of. There a birds to fly on, shells to swim with, and balls with stars in the middle to roll on; just to name a few. While most of these seem like basic parts of a good platforming game, it's surprising how Mario games seem to be the only ones featuring all of these great things, while also pulling them off so well.
All of these great gameplay features are nothing without fantastic level design; which Super Mario Galaxy 2 features. The first time you have to spin off of a flower onto a moving platform which rides up a wall will blow you away. Most of the time you'll have to speed through the levels, but you'll always feel the need to just stop and look around.
While you're looking around, you will discover that Super Mario Galaxy 2 has some of the best graphics currently on the Wii. The game still uses the same engine as the original Super Mario Galaxy, but even back in 2007, the engine still compares to the latest Wii games graphically. Some of the environments in Super Mario Galaxy 2 are a little more detailed than the original, but for the most part they look the same.
Aside from the amazing graphics of Super Mario Galaxy 2, the soundtrack is as good, or even better. All Mario games have been known for their breath-taking soundtracks, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 is no exception. The beautiful orchestra's you'll hear while jumping from planet-to-planet will amaze. The best part of the soundtrack for Super Mario Galaxy 2 is how well it can contrast between bright and fun levels, and dark and dreary levels. When you're flying as a bee you'll hear up-beat music, then when you're in one of Bowser's castle or fighting a boss, you'll hear booming, scary music that gets your adrenaline pumping. I am not a gamer who usually collects game soundtracks, but I feel that Super Mario Galaxy 2's soundtrack is crucial to mine - and any other gamer's - collection.
Despite the great gameplay, amazing graphics, and breath-taking music, Super Mario Galaxy does have a misstep. That misstep is of course the story. For a game so reliant on gameplay, it should not have a story that branches past saving a Princess. Unfortunately, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a story, and it tries to force it down your throat. To start things off, Super Mario Galaxy 2 starts the exact same way the original Super Mario Galaxy game does. You are invited by Peach to the star festival, then she is abducted by Bowser. The only difference is that Super Mario Galaxy 2 features a story book presentation.
Once Peach has been abducted, the story in Super Mario Galaxy 2 splits from the original and blazes' it's own trail. At first, the story is cute and adds a bit to the over-all experience, but once you start having to start constantly talking to Lubba, among others, it just gets annoying. Worst of all, you have to read it all in text. If we're going to sit through a bland and uninteresting story, could you at least do voice-overs.
However, the story in Super Mario Galaxy 2 is only a slight misstep. Luckily, the replay value of the game is right there to prop it up. In the main "story" part of the game, you must collect 70 power stars to progress to the final boss and complete the game. However, if you want to get 100% in the game, you'll need to collect 120 stars and more (I'll leave it at that, so not to spoil anything.) Collecting everything will likely take you weeks to complete. For my review playthrough, I collected 74 stars and it took me about 15 and a half hours. Best of all, every galaxy, planet and power star is yours to playthrough and collect as many times as you like. All of this makes Super Mario Galaxy 2 a Wii game with immense replay value, which is quite impressive considering it has no online aspect.
One final positive point about Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the lovable characters. There are returning classics like Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, and Toad, but there are also a handful of new characters like Lubba. Returning from the original Super Mario Galaxy are the Luma's which guide help to guide you through levels. The enemies in Super Mario Galaxy 2 are what you could consider the "oldest". Most of them are the same Goombas and Piranha Plants that you know and love. Their are only a couple of new enemies in the game. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though as the enemies have been great in all of the previous Mario games.
Despite me not liking the story in Super Mario Galaxy 2, I can proudly say that Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the best 3D Mario game, and it's even the best 3D platforming game of all time. Every single Wii owner should have a copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2 in their collection. I would even go as far as saying that if you don't own a Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is enough to go pick one up. So why are you reading this? Go and play Super Mario Galaxy 2!
- Addictive gameplay
- Outstanding level design
- Lovable characters; old and new.
- Amazing graphics
- Breath-taking soundtrack
- Immense replay value
- Mario platformers should not have stories. Especially boring ones that are force-fed to you