Throughout Nintendo’s length gaming history the Mario franchise has been regarded as one of the company’s finest (and most profitable) creations. The release of the Wii console in 2007 only served to further this by offering a platform to a number of outstanding releases such as Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Bros., both of which have been widely hailed as some of the best in Mario’s career.
Despite the impressive standards set by previous titles it appears that Nintendo have managed to step it up a notch with the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2, which takes the 3D platform version of the series to new heights.
The gameplay in Super Mario Galaxy 2 is very similar to that found in its predecessor in the respect that it involves platform based mechanics on and around planets, known as galaxies. Each of these vary in size and make up with regards to flora, fauna, terrain and overall aesthetics.
For navigation the player is given access to Starship Mario, an enormous craft shaped like Mario’s head. This is accessible at any time and, as the game progresses, serves as a hub for unlocked items, worlds and challenges. Using this, the player can navigate the six worlds in the game with a bonus world once the primary challenges have been completed. Each world is more difficult than the last and is generally concluded with a boss fight between Mario and Bowser or Bowser Jr.
What is most enjoyable about Super Mario Galaxy 2 however is the diversity of challenges and dynamics which are available to the player throughout. Each of the title’s seventy worlds introduces a new movement to be mastered or a new item to be found which really adds to Super Mario Galaxy 2’s longterm appeal.
Mario is still able to ride Yoshi, as well as use him to eat fruit which offers certain bonuses to the player depending on type. His tongue is still used to swing between gaps and is aimed and controlled by the player. Players can also use Yoshi to swallow enemies whole and spit them out, which makes for an enjoyable and challenging addition to the title.
Most of the mechanics found in the original such as Power Ups, Launch Stars and Sling Stars for interplanetary navigation make their return in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Several new items including the Rock Mushroom, which allows the player to break through walls and barriers and the Cold Flower, which creates platforms in mid air, have however been included and make a nice addition to the overall game.
Although the game increases in difficulty as it progresses Nintendo wisely chose to include a ‘Cosmic Guide’ feature which assists the player if they are having difficulty with certain areas. Players who use this will however only receive a Bronze star upon completion; if they wish to earn a coveted Power Star they will be required to go back and play the level themselves.
Despite the Wii’s lack of HD (it is only able to deliver video in 420p format,) Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a truly beautiful game which demonstrates the creativity behind the Mario series. Each world is carefully crafted in its own way, leaving nothing to the imagination as the player makes their way through each level. This, in our opinion, is one of Super Mario Galaxy 2’s strongest features and contributes heavily to the game’s engrossing quality.
Although most of the game occurs in 3D there are selected sections which limit the player to a 2D framework. This only serves to highlight Mario’s arcade based origins and is every bit as entertaining as the less stereoscopically challenged areas.
Overall Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a fantastic game which, amazingly, manages to push motion control and open world platformer boundries even further forward than Super Mario Galaxy. In conclusion it is the perfect example of a title which is aimed at the mainstream but which has the capacity to resonate with absolutely anyone who cares to play it.