Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Hands On) (Wii) Preview

By James Temperton 04.03.2010 13

Review for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Hands On) on Wii

Nintendo and the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto have been under constant scrutiny since the release of Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. After having successfully transferred the Italian plumber into the realm of 3D for a platform adventure that has left a lasting impression on millions of gamers worldwide, the heat was on to create ’Super Mario 64-2’, which was what many believed Super Mario Sunshine on the GameCube would be. However, a large sector of the videogaming community was left considerably disappointed. Super Mario Galaxy on Wii, though, rectified that situation and now Nintendo is hoping to further improve on the formula with its sequel.

Despite being a massive fan of Super Mario 64, I was still in fact more enamoured by the 2D Mario games of yore. Therefore, upon the release of Super Mario Sunshine, it was difficult to fall in line with the majority and slate the title for merely lacking some of the glean found in the Nintendo 64 adventure. After all, most of the buzz had come from the fact that Super Mario 64 was the first foray into 3D for Nintendo’s heroic mascot, a transformation that Sunshine clearly lacked. It did have many sprinklings of side-scrolling goodness and challenges mixed in, though, making it more of a pure platform experience that definitely appealed to my tastes. Galaxy, on the other hand, whilst undoubtedly a polished end product, never quite caught my attention in the same way. Thankfully, Super Mario Galaxy 2 retains the polish and kept me highly entertained from the short bouts of playtime given at the Nintendo Media Summit.

The highlight definitely had to be the Flip-Swap Galaxy challenge stage, where 100 Purple Coins had to be retrieved within four minutes. After trying out the sedate introductory stage of Sky Station Galaxy, where the basic running, jumping, spinning and star-bit-collecting mechanics were shown off, along with a non-taxing battle against Petey Piranha, Flip-Swap was next on the cards, recommended by Cubed3’s James Temperton, with a wry smile on his face. Lay before Mario are red and blue platforms, as well as a whole host of deathtraps, such as large cannon balls and electrified enemies. Shaking the Wii Remote to spin Mario resulted in the red platforms disappearing and the blue ones re-appearing, whilst waggling the controller again saw the opposite occur. Timing, precision jumping and spinning, as well as a massive amount of patience were of the essence here, although haste also had to be the order of the day so as to reach the target of 100 coins in the time allotted. Thoroughly frustrating, but mightily rewarding in the end!

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Hands On) on Wii

Other stages quickly touched upon in my time with the game were Hightail Falls Galaxy, Bowser Jr.’s Fearsome Fleet and Spin-Dig Galaxy. Hightail Falls had Mario spinning into green and white eggs to release Yoshi, then having the trusty green dinosaur lock his tongue onto a fiery-red plant with the Wii Remote pointer and swallow it to inflict a temporary speed boost that allowed steep slopes to be traversed, with the aim being to collect everything in sight or reach a flat surface before the effects subsided and gravity dragged you back down. Bowser Jr.’s Fearsome Fleet featured Yoshi once more, this time targeting incoming Bullet Bills with his tongue and launching them back out at previously impenetrable glass, Hammer Bros. trying to throw their self-named tools at you, or even Bowser Jr. as he attempts to thwart to Italian plumber. Finally, Spin-Dig saw gives Mario a new toy to play around with - a drill, which is activated by grabbing a-hold and shaking the Wii Remote to make Mario dive into the ground and appear on the other side of the globe he is currently on, thus leading to plenty of cleverly crafted puzzles being implemented.

Adam Riley, Senior Editor.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is more of the same, but not many people would say that that is a bad thing. The platforming still feels perfect, and despite initial mutterings being that the game was a bunch of leftover ideas from the first game’s development, there seems to be no indication that this sequel could be regarded as a quick cash-in job. It seems just as imaginative as the original, if not more so, and is all the better for the inclusion of more 2D sections and Yoshi.

One thing that stood out to me is that Super Mario Galaxy 2 seems to be more challenging than the first from the demo levels that were on offer - perhaps a direct response to criticism some had of the difficulty level in its predecessor. To compensate for this, checkpoints such as the ones found in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, have been added. This does not cheapen the experience in any way in my opinion, though, and fear not those who really want to gnaw their fingers to the bone trying to best the galaxies; the abstract, pure platforming challenge galaxies such as those used for the 100 Purple Coin levels are entirely checkpoint-free.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Hands On) on Wii

Boss encounters were another highlight. Two of the three faced were re-imaginings of those found in the first. Petey Piranha now crawls on all fours wearing his egg nappy and must be spanked into submission with Mario’s spin attack. The second was the giant two-legged mechanoid you previously ran over, who must now be combated by grabbing the new drill power-up, getting on the opposite side of the planet and timing your dig properly so that you can smash right into his giant glass robo-crotch. The final boss was the giant dragon seen in the latest trailer, and he proved a bigger challenge than the other two - he appears to be a ‘main’ boss, as he’s introduced by Bowser Jr., and can only be bested by smashing into his multiple stomachs as he burrows through the planet teeth first in a bid to munch you right up.

Mike Mason, Reviews Editor.

Seeing as my colleagues have stolen my thunder and talked about all the best bits of Galaxy 2, I’ll look to put things into some sort of perspective. First up, some facts. This is the first time Nintendo have released two flagship 3D Mario games on a single platform, let alone on the same theme. This is a strategy that you can look at in two ways: lazy, or brilliantly exciting. Obviously reusing the engine and general feel/concept of the original is somewhat lazy, but as the saying goes, if it aint broke don’t fix it. But that isn’t all that this game does, it really tries to push and refine the problems that to some extent spoilt the original game.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Hands On) on Wii

In my opinion, Galaxy suffered from having far too many average levels. Irritatingly, the game was sprinkled with moments of pure genius (very often the bonus levels that involved clever use of the Wii remote in some way) but all too regularly you were just jumping and flipping your way around fairly standard levels. The sequel has (from what I can tell) really tries to inject some jazz into the somewhat template-a-thon nature of the original’s ‘filler’ levels. So, step up Yoshi, a big spinning drill, lots of random gadgets and quirks and well...more of everything.

Indeed, it would seem that less is actually not more in the world of Mario. There is a lot going on, a lot of stuff chucked in and it all makes for a more hectic and seemingly exciting experience. What was nice about the demo we all played through was the number of levels on offer. By playing through a nice hour long portion of the game it really showed off what it has to offer. Whilst I’ll still retain reservations over this being more of the same, on first impressions it certainly seems to be trying to offer more.

What was also somewhat refreshing was the difficulty. When one of the Nintendo helpers at the Media Summit said the latter levels are designed for people with lots of Galaxy experience, I immediately jumped in. Whilst in places the original was a bit easy (rarely do I beat the big boss in a game at the first time of asking), Galaxy 2 is well...quite hard. It makes genuine ‘platformey’ demands of the player. Difficult jumping, puzzle elements and challenges of timing, precision and technique. Put simply, it manages to capture that rage-inducing difficulty that the Mario of yore was so famed for.

James Temperton, Features Editor.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Hands On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

So...where does that leave us? What Nintendo have created is not a sequel, it is a development, an improvement. It chucks in tonnes of new stuff, is great fun to play and it looks fricking lovely to boot. The puzzles on offer are intelligent and well thought out and the from what we played the game has certainly upped the ante. Without a doubt, it’ll prove to be one of the biggest releases of the year regardless of what anyone says. However, from early impressions, it might just justify such inevitable success.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1048 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I have to be very suspicious of anyone who wasnt blown away by mario 64 but liked sunshine LOL.

I guess the risk as was said is the Sunshine factor, simply the lack of the "wow, new stuff" factor as it's a sequel with nothing new to trade on. Let's be honest though, we're Wii owners and cannot be picky when a great game is on the horizon.

I liked Sunshine, it was very shiny. It took a lil while to warm to Galaxy though although now im a big fan so numero deux should be very fine indeed!

I loved sunshine. It had a lot of very good elements to it, but have to agree that galaxy is the best proper mario platformer to date.

Anyhow, galaxy 2 more of the same thing? I liked the planetoid levels best, with their gravity and all - better than the flat worlds out there. I hope they do another gusty garden galaxy thing. That one was soooooooo sweet Smilie

Good to see some positive comments towards Sunshine Smilie I hope Galaxy 2 does better than Galaxy.

SMG struggled to reach a million in Japan, but given how well NSMB Wii is doing over there, hopefully SMG2 will be able to ride on its coat-tails...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

What I loved about 64 and what was missing from galaxy was how big and complete the individual worlds felt. Some of the missions in galaxy were too quick. It felt longer to get to the world from the hub then it did to complete it.

I have said it before but the hub in 64 was magical. The ripple effects and seeing mario go through the pictures was breath taking. The hub in galaxy didnt quite do it for me. But im very excited about 2 and galaxy is a fantastic game.

Sunshine was rubbish. The residents of the world were generic blobs. The FLUDD system was so unpure and boring. Horrible game.

Guest 07.03.2010#7

jesusraz said:

SMG struggled to reach a million in Japan, but given how well NSMB Wii is doing over there, hopefully SMG2 will be able to ride on its coat-tails...

Why do you care about this? Seriously.

Bastardman said:
jesusraz said:

SMG struggled to reach a million in Japan, but given how well NSMB Wii is doing over there, hopefully SMG2 will be able to ride on its coat-tails...

Why do you care about this? Seriously.

Well, it doesnt sell near as well, there may not be as many 3D Marios as there are 2D ones...

And Galaxy is such a fantastic game, it deserves to sell more.

I really hope this sequel lives up to the original. Oh, btw, I didn't think Sunshine was a bad game... it just wasn't a very good Mario game.

"Do a Barrel Roll!"
Guest 07.03.2010#9

That makes no sense. Galaxy did sell well, millions of copies in fact. There is absolutely no evidence based on the current sales figures to suggest there will be less 3D adventures.

On a side note, how much does it deserve to sell exactly? "more" isn't very precise, are you talking about 6 million copies, 8 million?

( Edited 07.03.2010 18:05 by Bastardman )

SMG2-rox (guest) 09.03.2010#10

This game is shaping up to be THE most awesome game (imo)! To me, Super Mario Galaxy was perfect except for one flaw... It was just too easy. If Super Mario Galaxy 2 really does fix that then this will be pure awesomeness Smilie

Bastardman said:Why do you care about this? Seriously.

Some of us like to follow Sales-Age data and seeing SMG barely scrape past Super Mario Sunshine, despite the vast difference in userbase between the GameCube and Wii, was extremely disappointing. Therefore, with SMG2 looking to be far improved over SMG, on a personal note it would be good to see the game easily surpass sales of SMG (i.e. over a million).

That okay with you? Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Guest 12.03.2010#12

Sure, if it makes you happy.Smilie

Super Mario Galaxy 2 isn't a system seller, but as with the posters before me, I hope the game sells a good amount of copies. With enough sales, we might see Super Mario Galaxy HD Smilie

In development for the Nintendo Wii Super Mario Galaxy 2, coming May 23, 2010.

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