I don't care who you are, if you play games at all, even just a little bit, or even for some not at all, you know who Mario is. You know his hat, and you know his voice. My 84 year old Great Grandmother knows who Mario is!
Mario's career began in Arcade Cabinets, though at the time, he was known as "jump Man", saving his girl Pauline from the clutches of Donkey Kong. he went on to star in other arcade games, up until the release of Super Mario Bros. for the NES. This is the game that saved the gaming industry, established game consoles as household items as well as "Mario" as a household name. HE didn't stop there. Throughout his 2d career on the NES and SNES, mario starred in games that are considered to this day some of the best ever created.
When nintendo released the Nintendo 64, who else was headlining the show but Mario? In the game Mario 64, Mario took his first steps into the third dimension. This was not only Mario's first step into this territory, but one of the first 3d games ever made, utilizing the now universally common joystick.
This success of course spawned many modern day sequels on the Gamecube, remakes on the GBA, and even retro throwbacks like the new Super Mario Bros. series.
All this being said, super Mario Galaxy was no surprise when it was announced for the Wii. utilizing motion controls in a subtle way, Mario Galaxy used the powers of gravity, and the laws of physics in it's challenges. It was a game well loved by many, and, though in my personal opinion not as good as some of his endeavors, was one for the record books.
Nintendo has now released Super Mario Galaxy 2, the first time since the SNES days that Nintendo has released more than 1 main Mario title on a home console. So how does it fair?
The Wii, as we all know, has it's graphical limitations, but Nintendo knows how to use what they've got. This game is beautiful. The bright colors and smooth animations really make me wish the Wii could be displayed in full high definition instead of just 480i.
When it comes to Mario, you know what to expect in terms of story. Mario receives a letter from Peach, and upon going to visit her, finds that she has been...wait for it...wait for it... kidnapped by Bowser! And even more than that, he's also taken the stars and grand stars again. Such new and original content. Bur hey, it works.So, now Mario has to go throughout the galaxy (oh, I see what you did there!) in order to collect the stars and save the princess...for the second time.
You'll find the controls entirely unchanged from the first outing. If you played Mario Galaxy, then yo will have no problem learning the controls, because you already know them. Here is the problem, though. As you most likely know, the Galaxy games take place on different planets, which are, as planets should be, spherical. You can run around these plants entirety, going beneath them, and on their sides, gravity holding you to them. The problem is that when transitioning like this, sometimes the controls get confusing, and all of sudden, one direction on the control stick sends you in another. This was particularly a problem in a certain boss fight in which I had to fight a machine from a viewpoint that only allows movement on the sides of the planet. The controls should have been simple, left to make me go one way and right to make me go another. However, I would be running, and reach a certain point on this planet, and then all of a sudden Mario would cease to move. I thought there was a problem. i paused the game several times to unplug and plug in again, my nunchuk. I even assumed that my nunchuk was damaged, and made plans to buy a new one. But then I made an accidental discovery. Upon reaching a certain point on the planet, the controls would shift so that it was no longer left snd right that moved me, but up and down, or in some cases, up or down and either left or right. This was also an occasional problem in the first Galaxy, and Nintendo Has no excuse for having not fixed it.
Game play is pretty much unchanged from the first Galaxy, and, in fact, the entire 3d Mario series. Go to levels, get the stars, beat the bosses. One thing I liked is that navigation from one planet to another has been simplified. In the first game, the Comet Observatory served as your hub world, in which you would get from one level to another. In SMG2 however, this has been replaced by a ship in the shape of Mario's head. This ship can be explored like a small planet, but by stepping up to the wheel, Mario takes the helm. You will then be taken to a Super Mario World esque map in which you will select the planet, and then which star challenge you would like to play.
Mario in the hub world
The only real new element here, is Yoshi. When you find a yoshi egg, you can beak it open, hope on it's back and then use his tongue(by pointing) to eat enemies, and other various things, like the dash pepper, which will send your yoshi flying at high speeds. This is really all that is new, though.
I thought yoshi's pooped eggs, not sunshine...
The music is, as always, absolutely fantastic. From the new tunes, from to the tunes recycled from the first Galaxy and especially the remixed and redone versions of the classic tunes, the games sound track is one to remember.
Shigeru Miyamoto compared this game to Majora's Mask in that, it is a direct sequel to his previous work that runs on the same engine, but builds upon it's foundations. the problem with this comparison is that majora's Mask set itself apart from it's predecessor while SMG2 is basically the same game. The games name while in development was even "More Super Mario Galaxy" which was later changed to "super Mario Galaxy 1.5", which is quite honestly, a more suiting name. Each Mario game brings something new to the table, be it the basic formula of the games themselves in the original, yoshi in the SNES days, going 3D, or adding an element like Fludd in sunshine. Super Mario Galaxy did this by utilizing the laws of gravity and physics. Super Mario Galaxy 2 brings nothing new to the table at all.
All this being said, this is a great and highly enjoyable game, but it feels like DLC or an expansion pack. Id you have a Wii, i can find no reason not to add this one to your library. It is an fun, excellent, and delightful adventure that shines through despite it's faults.
Thanks for reading!
+Graphics are charming
+Music is amazing
+Level design is interesting
+A few of the levels are surprisingly challenging, a nice treat after the breeze that was SMG
-pretty much the same thing as the first game
-Feels like and expansion pack or down loadable content
-Story is recycled