Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) Review

By Adam Riley 22.06.2010

Review for Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii

Ever since Nintendo took Mario into the world of 3D with Super Mario 64, fans have been clamouring for a true sequel to the truly magnificent experience, and looked to be getting what they asked for with talk of a Super Mario 64-2 being in development. Nothing ever emerged during the Nintendo 64’s lifetime, and when Super Mario Sunshine finally arrived on the GameCube, the general consensus was that it lacked many of the elements that made Super Mario 64 so special. The ‘Home of Mario’ attempted to rectify matters with Super Mario Galaxy in 2007, yet again, even though it became revered amongst gamers and critics the world over, it somehow came up short in terms of overall charm and missed a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. Starting off as Project Super Mario Galaxy More, has Nintendo finally cracked the code and delivered the perfect 3D Mario that everyone has been longing for with Super Mario Galaxy 2?

Each and every mainline Mario adventure seems to focus on Princess Peach being swiped by the nefarious Bowser, King of the Koopa clan, and whilst this is indeed the case again here for Super Mario Galaxy 2, it proves to be a somewhat of a minor note running throughout the game, with the actual main focus being on the Luma who have had all their stars stolen by same fiendish entity. Therefore, they offer to team up with Mario in order to traverse the galaxy and attempt to get each and every last one of them back. In return, they build a special spaceship for Mario to go from planet to planet in search of the Grand Stars that will allow them to travel further into the depths of space in search of King Koopa. This craft just so happens to look like a large Mario head, which is oddly disturbing, but serves its purpose and acts as a central store for the various friends you meet along the perilous journey. Thankfully it does not act as the game hub, though.

One of the main frustrations in the first Super Mario Galaxy, especially for those that wanted to jump into near-instant action, as with the classic Super Mario Bros. formula, was that in order to get to a particular level, you needed to wander around looking for the correct area first. Now, however, matters have been simplified, with Mario merely jumping on the navigation controls and the player moving the ship across a horizontal level map, going from stage-to-stage, with the odd branch in direction to allow for slight alterations in progression to avoid too much linearity from creeping in.

Nintendo has aimed to provide gamers with as fresh an experience as is possible, whilst retaining the overall charm of the first Super Mario Galaxy. Clearly the design team, who also worked meticulously on Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat and its New Play Control! Wii update, decided upon throwing as many special features at players as possible in an attempt to ‘wow’ them from the off. Therefore, the re-introduction of the Bumble Bee suit comes early on in the adventure, where Mario can fly higher using the handy little wings that he picked up for the first time in the first Galaxy outing. They also took the opportunity to mix in some brand new abilities, like letting Mario don a Rock Suit to roll around areas (for smashing through large boulders and knocking down bridges/platforms that previously could never have been scaled), or making the hero of the story become all fluffy and light with the Cloud Flower, giving him the power to create up to three cloud platforms in a row so that he can climb higher up, or work his way across gaps that would otherwise prove too large to leap over. There is even the chance to grab a-hold of a large bird and fly your way through a gloriously colourful, obstacle-filled stage.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii

There are three other key components that help to give Super Mario Galaxy 2 the edge on its predecessor: Luigi, Yoshi and an abundance of 2D platform levels and sections. Therefore, in addition to the standard formula of the first outing, classic elements from older entries in the platform series have been included. In Super Mario Galaxy, Mario traversed a mixture of spherical worlds that varied in size: from smaller planetoids that you could literally run around and upside down on, following the laws of gravity as closely as possible, to vast levels that sprawled so far as to give an impression of flatness, bringing along with them a Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine vibe to proceedings. For the sequel, Nintendo has not only retained these aspects, but also expertly woven in some of the best portions of the classic 2D titles for that wonderful sense of nostalgia and to draw back long-term fans that may have started to lose interest in the 3D-focused series.

First up is the inclusion of the Italian plumber protagonist’s gangly green brother, Luigi, who is introduced earlier than many may have expected, given his relegation to nothing more than bit or bonus parts in Mario’s previous 3D escapades, and the constant mockery he receives in the Paper Mario / Mario & Luigi RPG series. Instead, here is used as an alternate main character on certain stages, giving the player the opportunity to make use of the slight extra height he offers when leaping upwards. The variety is most certainly a welcomed change of pace and whilst it may not be the two-player co-operative mode some may have hoped for, it is good to see Nintendo’s mascot’s brother no longer merely being the butt of jokes or resigned to a bit-part role. Nintendo has, however, tried to appeal to anyone that wants to be more than a mere spectator throughout by bringing back the second-player pointer system where another person can collect star bits by waving their Wii Remote around. It proves to be an extremely simple inclusion, yet one that will allow parents to join in the fun with their children.

Mario’s brother may end up being filed under ‘nice inclusion, yet not entirely essential,’ but bringing the ever-faithful Yoshi back into the mix as a partner for Princess Peach’s saviour for the first time since Super Mario World is a complete stroke of genius. This marries up perfectly with the introduction of platform stages with plenty of 2D segments interweaved into the action, since the little green dinosaur friend plays a significant role in several of the side-scrolling levels. In the 3D sections, gobble up enemies and pop them out of Yoshi’s behind as coins or star shards (the former refilling on piece of Mario’s health and the latter proving useful as ammunition, shot out to stun enemies with the Wii Remote pointer, or as currency for various Luma dotted around the universe offering health boosts, extra lives or even passageways to numerous secrets). You can also use the swallowed-up creatures, before they are digested, as protection or even a means of progression at particular points in a level (for instance grabbing a Bullet Bill and launching it back towards a glass dome to smash it).

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii

In the realm of side-scrolling platformer, Yoshi’s tongue becomes even more useful as he can latch onto little flower blocks and pull himself up, with the correct timing of tongue lashes helping him and the plumber to gradually scale great heights. Whilst Mario is able to collect Fire Flowers that let him shoot off fireballs for a limited amount of time, Yoshi uses his long, extendable pink muscle to suck up hot peppers that send him into a super-speedy trot, allowing steep walls to be traversed. However, come into contact with any obstacle, or mess around long enough for the effects of the burning heat to wear off, and down a-tumbling ye shall go, thus adding a thorough amount of challenge to appease anyone thinking Super Mario Galaxy 2 is considerably easier than its predecessor.

There are plenty of solo side-scrolling platform levels for Mario to trundle through on his lonesome, though, and these are easily on par with, if not better in some cases, than the stages found within the recent smash hit, New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nintendo has clearly spotted the correlation between sales of the 3D Mario series and its 2D set of releases, deciding to attempt to meld the two together in some respect, in the hope of attracting some of the potential millions ‘casual’ gamers that were drawn to the 2D adventure mainly due to its core retro feel. Leap from wall-to-wall, swim through patches of water suspended high in the sky, and make best use of the various suits Mario can wear in an effort to reach the Star at the end of the stage.

For those that like even more of an added challenge as well, there are Prankster Comets that will appear on levels after a Comet Coin has been found whilst playing through normally. After initially encouraging gamers to explore the full extent of a level they have been playing through in order to find the sometimes extremely elusive special coins, the final result is even more pleasing for those eager for a more ‘hardcore’ trial. These coins will lead to Prankster Comets appearing on particular levels, and will usually open up objectives such as making a speed run to obtain the Star before the timer runs out, or times when 100 purple coins must be collected throughout a world within a set time limit. There are also levels where Shadow Mario returns, with the pesky doppelganger nemesis from Super Mario Sunshine and numerous other clones of him, all chase after the fun-loving, portly plumber, Whilst a few may end up proving to be cheap and easy ways to increase your Star total, there are plenty that require the utmost in skill, with perfectly timed jumps required, as well as nerves of steel.

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii

Any casual gaming folk out there may have a lump firmly lodged in their throats after reading the above. Fear not, however, since Nintendo has brought the Super Guide back from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, under the guise of the ‘Cosmic Guide’ where should a player take too long on a stage, or lose a large amount of lives on the same level, the galaxy’s Cosmic Witch will appear at the beginning and ask if you wish to be automatically guided through the level, joining back in whenever any pesky obstacle has been overcome by the computer, or merely letting the system fully complete the task at hand (upon which only a bronze star is given to the player to denote ‘cheating’ on that particular level). For anyone not exactly wanting to be led by the hand, though, yet still wishing to have a gentle nudge to aid with progression, there are Hint TVs that show small video clips of how a particular new move is carried out. The majority of gamers will simply shoot past, completely ignoring these little monitors as they do not get in the way of the action in the slightest, but having them there, our of the way, gives people the option to check them out at least, thus immediately making Super Mario Galaxy 2 far more accessible to the masses than its predecessor.

For all its excellence on the gameplay front, Super Mario Galaxy 2’s visual and audio side cannot be overlooked. Nintendo has managed to squeeze even more graphical gorgeousness out of the Wii, despite the first game already looking like one of the best titles on the system that regularly receives videogames featuring graphics far less impressive than even the Dreamcast or PlayStation 2 from lazy Third Party developers. The vast worlds on offer are brimming with vibrant colour and heaps of variety, as well as the usual Nintendo level of intricate attention to detail that sets the company’s offerings far and above its counterparts’ efforts. As for its audio side, Nintendo’s composers have gone to town, mixing in music from the first Super Mario Galaxy, some beautifully orchestrated melodies, plenty of tunes from much older Mario entries that will have old school gamers squeaking with delight, and even adding that old faithful, the trotting drum beat for Yoshi’s stages. It is truly astounding how much care and attention has gone into what seemingly began life as Super Mario Galaxy 1+, yet has clearly been transformed into not only the best game on Wii by a country mile, but one of the most sublime adventures of this generation, full stop.

Extra Thoughts

It is simply astonishing how inventive Super Mario Galaxy 2 is. Each of its worlds contain more creativity than the majority of other games in their entirety, with the development team unafraid to adopt an idea for a level or two, have fun with it and then simply hurl it away into the abyss, replacing it with a different mechanic, setting or character. From clouds to rock costumes, Yoshi to Luigi, glistening tundra to blistering volcanoes, Super Mario Galaxy 2 features one of the most diverse gaming environments ever envisioned. Nintendo’s willingness to balance both the new with the old, such as the abundance of 2D sections, means that the gameplay never grows stale, and a refreshing situation is rarely more than a new galaxy away.

Somehow, Tokyo EAD have achieved a near-impossible goal; Super Mario Galaxy 2 is actually better than the first Mario Galaxy title, a game which in itself was close to perfection. The same sense of joy found in the first title is once again present and correct here, yet now it has been considerably polished and smoothed out, being made both far more user-friendly and, in the same breath, challenging for core gamers, as well as having new elements bolted on that do not ruin the existing framework, instead majestically building and improving upon it. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is also visually stunning, the controls are tighter and the soundtrack is as beautiful as ever. The one and only negative aspect that people could direct towards it would be in terms of the storyline, or lack of it since it is practically non-existent. However, by adopting the classic Mario ‘world’ structure, Nintendo has created a game that has become more accessible than the first title and allows players to hop in extremely quickly.

The main concern with Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the question: ‘Where does Mario go from here?’ This game encapsulates everything that makes the Mario series so wondrous, and is without a doubt the best of the plumber’s 3D adventures, and as a whole feels very close to perfection. Then again, I thought the same about the first Super Mario Galaxy, and look what happened there…
- Mike Mason, Reviews Editor

Screenshot for Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

Nintendo has pulled out all the stops to cook up far more than a mere ‘Super Mario Galaxy with bells on,’ instead serving up a steaming dish of delicious gaming goodness with a sequel that is leaps and bounds above not only every other similar adventure, but nearly all of Nintendo’s own previous platform/3D adventure creations. When such a level of perfection has been reached, you have to wonder where Mario can go next in order to once again raise the bar. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a truly magical videogame that must be experienced by one and all without delay.






3D Platformer



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   


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