Super Mario Galaxy 2 ReviewAaron Caldwell
For the first time since NES (unless you count Yoshi's Island which had the subtitle Super Mario World 2), There is a sequel to a Mario game on the same generation console. With a predecessor like Super Mario Galaxy, which was a smash hit, is it possible for Nintendo to make a better game?
To be completely honest, Its a yes and no affair. I loved Super Mario Galaxy and I love Super Mario Galaxy 2. The game is at the same time harder and easier than its predecessor. Galaxy 2 introduces several new concepts and puzzles that change the difficulty of the game by a good amount. One level in particular reminded me of the board game "Mousetrap" or more appropriately the marble game "labyrinth". However, the addition of the "kind code", or whatever Nintendo is calling it nowadays, renders these difficulty increases irrelevant and makes the game somewhat simpler than the original. The good thing about this system is you have to fail quite spectacularly to gain access to it.
The graphics are as amazing as you will see in video games even though it is on a system that doesn't allow for HD. The music is orchestral again and this adds some pomp and circumstance that Mario so justly deserves. There really isn't much else to say in those departments, so lets look at some of the introductions made in this game.
A major complaint for this game was that they were ditching the HUB world for a world map. This is both true and false. While they do institute a world map as a way of getting from place to place, you have a spaceship that people live on that you can visit with and get items and such from. Its much like the HUB from the first world except you have to use the wheel to get to the levels instead of different ship sections. It honestly makes the game a little more streamlined.
For years we have waited for a 3D Mario game to introduce Yoshi as a playable character and have himself a gameplay style all his own. Yes, He was in Super Mario 64 DS and Super Mario Sunshine. However, I ask you how different was he from the other characters. He couldn't even claim to be different by being green as Luigi already had that covered. Galaxy 2 finally did Yoshi some justice. The pointer system becomes a targeting reticule for Yoshi's tongue and it is deadly accurate you can actually paint multiple targets if they are close together. The times you have your trusty mount truly differentiate themselves from the rest of the game.
The next additions come to the game in the form of three power ups: Stone shroom, Drill bit, and Cloud flower. The Stone shroom looks exactly as it sounds. However, This power up is more offensive than the other suits as it is made to destroy obstacles in the way. You shake the wiimote to go into a spin and then aim quickly with the control stick. In a perfect world, You waited to shake the wiimote until you were lined up, but how often does that happen? This power up proves to be extremely useful and will stay with you until you get hit or use a star to move to another place.
The Drill bit is a drill top that Mario holds instead of being a transformation like the bee suit. The Drill is used to go through the ground as any other drill would allow. However, This power up shows up only when necessary to the planet you are on. There are very few instances that you get to use it, but when you do its a blast. To use it, like most wii games demand, you must shake the wiimote thereby causing Mario to jump up and spin on his head drilling through to the other side of the planet. However, sometimes you will find voids in the planets full of coins, enemies, or star bits.
The final new power up is the Cloud Flower. It turns the clothes Mario is wearing into the cloud suit with three clouds following him. The clouds, when the wiimote is shaken, will become platforms for Mario to use. The problem with this suit is that after you use the three clouds you stay in the cloud suit, but you never get to use the three clouds again unless you get another cloud flower. The other perk of the suit is that you can walk on clouds, but this is rendered irrelevant by the fact that bee Mario can do the same. So what is the point?
The games storyline also raises some questions for me. The game is dumbed down from the first one in that Rosalina is not in it and there is no deep storyline only Bowser kidnapping the Princess as per usual. The problem with this is they don't acknowledge the previous game at all. The Lumas know Mario, but not the other way around. The Toad Patrol from the first game returns, but as if they are being introduced for the first time. Also, The beginning of the game mentions that "the star festival is once a century and its that time again" which begs the question how old is Mario? For this to be a legit sequel and not a Zelda-type sequel (new game new hero, but same name) Mario would have to be around 120 to 140 years old! It makes one wonder, but no answers were given.
With those very small complaints out of the way, It brings me to my ultimate judgment of the game. I believe that this game is in fact better than the first, but only by a slight margin because the first was about as close to perfect as they come. That being said I award Super Mario Galaxy 2 my very first 10/10. It is everything we could hope for in a game and we can hope that there are many more to come.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.