Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

A treasure trove of galactic proportions. Mario gets himself lost in space a second, glorious time.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, May 22, 2010

In mimicry of the constellated world maps, these consist of free-floating planetoids with their own, highly specific gravities held together by the beams of rapid-transit light emitted by Launch Stars, triggered with a brisk waggle. Each planetoid is a carefully crafted set of gameplay criteria and challenges: one might flip gravity every few seconds in time to a beat emitted by the Wii remote speaker; another might be a homely reflex-testing chute slide. The mechanical tools at your disposal are, once again, simple – standard, long and high jumps, a spin attack that doubles as a jump extender – but more than adequate to the range of scenarios you’ll encounter.

Luigi is now playable more or less from the get-go.

Luigi is now playable more or less from the get-go.

Some galaxies are built (loosely) around classic Mario conceits like sandy pyramids or lava caves, while others are pleasantly unrecognisable. One thing they all share is a short (initial) completion time, somewhere between 10-20 minutes – just long enough to put a novel concept to compelling use, but not long enough to make the experience a slog. Other common components are, of course, one or more Power Stars, which unlock new pathways in the overworld.

Returning to galaxies to unearth further Stars is vital to discovering their hidden depths. Even ostensibly ‘one dimensional’ specimens like the plainly Pilot-Wings-esque race courses, the glass beads among the game’s rubies, become an entirely different proposition on the second, third or fourth playthrough. Besides the Power Stars, there are clusters of Star Bits to hoover up with the Wiimote pointer and health-replenishing coins to recover on foot. The bifurcation between resources you can collect from afar and those you can’t is as brilliant an extrapolation from an old series paradigm as ever.

Good old Bowser. Without his repeated acts of princess theft, the gaming industry would be a great deal poorer.

Good old Bowser. Without his repeated acts of princess theft, the gaming industry would be a great deal poorer.

Speaking of old paradigms, some of the levels I remember with most fondness are those which settle back comfortably on Mario’s heritage, doing no more than sprinkling star dust over mechanics and devices that have served the ‘Stache faithfully since birth. Around 12 hours in, on the cusp of the sixth world, you’re treated to a revamp of Super Mario 64′s opening Bob-omb Battlefield. I like this level as much for what it implies – a willingness to read from both sides of the page, to play on nostalgia whilst advancing the formula – as for what it is, a chance to unwind before undertaking that grueling final run to Bowser’s lair.

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9 Responses to “Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review”

  1. Matt says:

    That “whiff of expansion-packness”? That’s you having read the comments from the devs and taking them into consideration. Without them if you just picked up this game and if they had considered it a true sequel from the beginning, I bet good money you wouldn’t even include such a dumb quote in this review.

  2. Smith says:

    well deserved, best platformer ever, period.

    and don’t hate the reviewer, if u play the game without deliberately trying to hate it, you’d be just as amazed as him.

    and don’t forget, SMG was already one of the best games ever made, and this one’s better than that. even if it ain’t that innovative, but still it’s what the first one should have been.

  3. LocoPuyo says:

    Omg you didn’t give it an 11/10? Get ready for an onslaught of hate comments from kids that are going to buy the site and fire you.

  4. TJ says:

    Pretty awesome review. This has to be the most excited I’ve been about something for a very long time, maybe ever. Ninty have made a near perfect game even better. This has to be the best game on Wii, and until a SMG3 comes around (which I can’t see happening to be honest, unless they have even MORE ideas) I can’t see anything threatening it.

    I feel like completing the original all over again.

    • Edwin Evans-Thirlwell says:

      Thanks TJ. Yeah, I’m not sure Nintendo could put together a third Galaxy game on Wii, but I certainly wouldn’t complain if they did ;)

      I have a slight caveat about my review – the game *does* get pretty difficult once you’re a hundred stars in. But it’s still the ‘right kind’ of difficulty i.e. it never feels actually unfair.

  5. LowEnergyCycle says:

    “I bet good money you wouldn’t even include such a dumb quote in this review.”

    What a totally pointless comment.

    Another excellent review Edwin. The opening and closing paragraphs say it perfectly. I can’t wait for the 11th June.

  6. camile says:

    quando voce pençou en fazer esse jogo voce pensou bastante ou alguem criol para voce eu amei seus jogos?


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