|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo EAD Tokyo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 23, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
A game of this caliber, and with Shigeru Miyamoto behind it, simply couldn't go wrong, so when we heard about a new Super Mario Galaxy back at last year's E3, we got very excited. The second Super Mario Galaxy brings to the table the same bag of tricks we saw in the first one, but not without many interesting additions that spice things up, sometimes literally.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 tells the story of a kidnapped princess, a devastated mushroom kingdom, and stolen Luma stars. No doubt, this sounds familiar, but the worlds Mario explores this time around and the way he does it are still different. The remaining Luma stars want to help Mario save the princess while he helps them recover the lost stars, so they build a ship for him to allow him to travel back and forth between galaxies. This charming, Mario head-shaped home base makes it a breeze to navigate between worlds and obtain new power-ups while at it.
When you take the helm, you'll be sent to a map screen where you can pick the next level you'd like to play. Much like a classic Mario game, the chart often splits up into a couple different paths, letting you choose your preferred route to the castles and Bowser's ship. In order to open up new levels, you'll have to pass at least one of the stages within the current level. That's usually an easy feat, as the stages are wonderfully engineered to get players through it at a fast pace. However, if you are a completionist, you may want to make sure you've explored every corner and examined every suspicious object, as there are tons of hidden goodies throughout the levels.
This 3D platformer has a lot of what we saw in the first SMG, starting with flashy and delightful environments, full of amusing and unique characters ranging from the typical goomba to squeezy beetles, bouncy spiders, and the likes. The entire Super Mario line-up is there in one way or another, making us giggle while enjoying every moment of it. Every level has a new thing to add, whether it's gravity changes that make you walk upside-down, a drill that lets you perforate the planet just so you can come out in the other side, a new travel companion that helps you through the toughest obstacles, or varied power-ups.
Mario can do a lot on his own, from swimming and diving to double and triple-jumping, wall-jumping, spinning descent for a smooth landing, ice skating, somersaults, etc. He can also stomp on most enemies and get coins or star bits as a reward, but some of them require a different approach, such as spin attack, a grab and a throw, or even a ground-pound.
Each galaxy you step on is a world full of surprises, keeping the gameplay fresh and innovative throughout. Although there are a few of them, my favorite new power-up is the cloud. With this costume, Mario gets to summon up to three clouds by simply jumping and swinging the Wii Remote. These temporary platforms give you access to new heights, as well as helping you get through chasms when things are spread apart. They disappear in no time, but they last long enough to get you to the next platform, where oftentimes a new cloud power-up awaits.
Other new special powers include the rock, which turns Mario into a boulder that can break through objects that a spin simply couldn't do, not to mention the devastating effects it has over enemies! Also, in some levels, you'll find a Yoshi egg that will hatch when you hit it. If you hop on over him, he'll take you to areas you couldn't reach by yourself, in part thanks to his fluttering abilities. Also, he can reach out for items with his tongue, being able to swallow enemies and even throw some of them in the desired direction. In addition, you'll see flower grapple points he can grab onto with his tongue, swinging across gaps and landing in hard-to-reach areas.
Most of the Yoshi levels require his help to get through them, making for a nice change of pace. Some people might be hesitant about using Yoshi to get through platforming environments, but the fact is it's been done beautifully; you won't really want to get rid of him, as the advantages overcome the couple of mishaps you may encounter.