Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

I've been writing a lot of mini reviews lately because I've been playing a ton of games but have found most of them wanting.  I can shoot off a quick paragraph and give you an acurate assessment of the sub-par game and then move on to more interesting topics.  While digging through all of the flash games and gamefly rentals I found a surprising diamond in the rough, Super Mario Galaxy 2.

I wasn't expecting much when I put Super Mario Galaxy 2 into the disc drive.  I've played almost every Mario game that's been released since I was 5 years old.  That's 20ish years of Mario experience.  Since Mario games are traditionally geared towards a younger audience their level of difficulty is fairly low.  This helps inexperienced gamers get into video games, which is a great thing, but it bores people like me who need a tougher challenge to stay interested.

I went into this game with my normal expectations for a Mario platformer but I was surprised - and thrilled - to find that the difficulty was ramped up.  In terms of challenge, it felt like this game picked up where the first Super Mario Galaxy left off.  That's the part of the game that I liked above all else, the challenge.

It's no surprise that all the Mario hallmarks are present too.  Jumping, coins, mushrooms, goombas, Yoshi, and a princess in distress.  All of your favorites are there but this game doesn't break new ground in most respects.

The story is the same thing it always is, princess Peach went and got herself captured again (maybe it's time for some mace on her keychain) and Mario has to save her.  The cutscenes seem out of place in a story that's so weak.  Overall they were slow and boring.  Story has never been Nintendo's strong suit and it's still apparent in this game.

 Princess, invest in one of these, seriously.

While the story may not be interesting the level design is what truly shines.  Bright colorful locations with unique twists on gravity are abundant.  New items that interact with the level designs have been added too.  The drill that allows Mario to drill all the way through a planet was particularly fun to play around with.  Nintendo also re-purposes levels later in the game by adding a comet that changes the goal of the level.  It made for some really fun variations on levels that I had already beaten.

Not only were locations and items varied but - with the exception of Bowser - the boss battles have a ton of different gameplay mechanics involved too.  I had fun fighting every boss except for Bowser.  All of the bosses use creative mechanics, but the Bowser battles are all the same.  That seems like lazy game-making to me, especially when so much effort has been put into creating the other unique boss fights.

My one other gripe is the lack of persistent lives.  When the game is exited all 1-Ups collected are lost.  This was really frustrating for me because I had a couple long gaming sessions where I had 30 or more lives saved up but as soon as I took a break from the game they were lost to me.  It seems unfair and I personally hated it as a design choice.

That's one minor issue in a game full of fun.  If Mario is close to your heart and you like challenging platformers then Super Mario Galaxy 2 was made for your enjoyment.  Based on the challenge alone I would recommend it to any seasoned platforming fans.  If you're a Mario fan too, that's just icing on the cake.



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