Review | Super Mario Galaxy 2
Format: Wii | Genre: Platformer | Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Nintendo | Release date: 11/06/10 | Price: £40
Thomas Worthington plays amongst the stars in SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2.
SPACE: THE final frontier. Or, at least, it seems that way for Nintendo’s moustached hero. After soaring through the cosmos in his last adventure, Mario has opted for an extended vacation among the stars.
Using the same engine, setting and arguably the same visuals as his last astral journey, it would be easy to pass this off as a 1.5 semi-sequel – although those who enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy will tell you that more of the same is by no means a bad thing.
They’re not wrong. Among the 242 star missions smattered across a range of new galaxies, Super Mario Galaxy 2 proves itself to be not only a worthy sequel, but one that pushes the limits of its own platforming genius.
It all begins with a lingering sense of familiarity. You may have been able to anticipate the damsel would once again be in a state of distress, and it’s up to Mario to scour the universe in pursuit of his now gigantic arch nemesis Bowser in order to save his princess. Some minor side stories spruce up this over-subscribed narrative pattern, but if you’re judging Super Mario Galaxy 2 based on the originality of its storytelling then you’re obviously missing the by some lightyears.
Taking the helm of a new spaceship modelled on Mario’s own noggin, you can access a number of galaxies in return for completing star missions, which propel you towards encounters with Bowser and his returning sidekick Boswer Jr.
Shaking free from the explorative nature of Super Mario 64’s mission structure, the Galaxy series employs preset paths that showcase the visual splendour and set-pieces that each new galaxy feeds to the player in a linear conveyor belt fashion. And it’s this kind of delivery that transforms each mission into delectable slice of platforming glory so flavoursome and indulgent that you’ll find yourself saying “just one more” as you hop into yet another star mission.
It should be overwhelming, but it’s not. Few instances will leave you stumped for more than a fleeting second before figuring out the correct course of action. It’s a magical fluency that resonates between almost every star mission and each galaxy.
Among many of the crucial components of Super Mario Galaxy 2, the galaxies have always been the centrepieces, each one brimming with character and a testament to Nintendo’s creative brilliance. They vary from the sorts of grassy pastures and lava punch bowls you’d expect from the genre, to unholy platform-heavy creations such as the Flip-Out and Beat-Block galaxies, which could only be conjured up in the nightmares of a developer eager to test the limits of a Mario veteran.
There are also a small handful of new power-ups – such as the Drill Bit, which allows Mario to boar through the ground and makes for some of Galaxy 2’s ingenious puzzle work. Cloud Mario, too, serves to help Mario reach new heights – something bound to impress those who have honed their Mario wall-jumping skills. They make an appearance alongside returning power-ups, including the adorable Bee Mario and a thankfully brief encounter with the frustrating Spring Mario.
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