Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo released the first Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii two and a half years ago, and it was as perfect a platformer as one can make. Bringing Mario into space may have seemed odd at first, but all the elements came together beautifully. The controls were tight and some of the levels were hair-pullingly frustrating in a good way.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 continues on the tradition of the first one, with some tweaks and additions. There are new power-ups, like the Rock and Cloud mushrooms and Yoshi is an integral part to some of the levels. You can also switch between Mario and Luigi at certain points, and once you beat the game, you can switch between Mario and Luigi freely.
One could argue that, new items and friends aside, Galaxy 2 is more of the same. While this is true, in this case more of the same isn’t a bad thing. Some of the levels can be just as challenging, and if you want to get all 120 stars, then you’ll need to track down all of the Comet Medals and feed all of the Hungry Lumas, both of which can be feats in and of themselves.
One of the ways Galaxy 2 differs from its predecessor is the hub world, or in this case, a lack of a hub world. In the original, you wandered around Princess Rosalina’s spaceship, and the different rooms had different galaxies and worlds to explore.
The set-up for Galaxy 2 is more traditional, in that there is a map you progress through, with optional routes opening up if you have enough Star Bits. Mario is still traveling on a spaceship, but he takes the spaceship to each world, rather than all of the worlds and galaxies being encased in the spaceship.
The level design is, for the most part, just as inspired as the first go-around. What was a tad upsetting was that, at one point, Mario goes to the Throwback Galaxy, which was, as one might guess, a level from a previous Mario game redone and polished with the Galaxy engine. The layout was almost exactly the same, with a few small differences. While it was fun to go back and visit, the inclusion of the Throwback Galaxy made it seem as if the people at Nintendo were running out of fresh ideas. There was also a boss gauntlet type of galaxy, filled with many of the bosses from the first Super Mario Galaxy.
That small gripe aside, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is an extremely fun game to play. If you enjoyed the first one, you owe it to yourself to pick up the sequel. There are a few things, secret things, that this review doesn’t mention and that you’ll have to discover for yourself. That’s part of the fun, right?
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is available for rental or purchase all throughout Milwaukee.