Monday, 6 October 2014
The Great Playthrough: Game 71 - Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Released on: Nintendo Wii
Played on: Nintendo Wii
Release date: 2010
Unlike films, games sequels can often be much better than the originals. When I reviewed Super Mario Galaxy I concluded that the opening of the game was not the best way to experience what is a great game - as the first hour is quite pedestrian and filled with opening cut-scenes and tutorial levels that are very averagely designed.
The good news? Super Mario Galaxy 2 has learnt from the mistakes of the original game.
The opening is tight, a lot of the cut-scenes are at least partially playable - and more importantly, within five minutes of starting the game, you are on a playable level, which is pretty well designed.
In fact, all of the levels I got to in the opening hour just served to throw up new design ideas and new mechanics, completely justifying this sequel's existence. Let us not forget that no other 3D Mario game had (at the time anyway) generated a direct sequel. Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine are both good games (although one is better than the other) - but Nintendo didn't feel that either of them required a direct sequel, always preferring to push onto something new.
But Mario Galaxy totally deserves the sequel, as there are so many new concepts, techniques and ideas based around the Galaxy motifs - including the appearance of Yoshi, who adds a whole new aspect to the gameplay!
Also, Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a great two player mode - well, we certainly enjoy it in our house. Player one is Mario, who does all of the usual Mario things - running around, jumping, collecting coins, collecting stars etc. Player 2 takes control of a Luma (the weird floating chubby starfish-type things that are prevalent in the Galaxy games) by using the wii-mote as a pointer, so that player can delay/defeat enemies, pick up coins/lives etc and generally be of help to the first player. It's a really nice and innovative two player mechanism. And it means that Neety and I can play together - which is important in our house! Two player co-op should be more prevalent than it is... but I digress.
Now don't get me wrong - it's not a perfect game. I know that when I reviewed Galaxy (the original), I moaned about how long it's plot took to get going, as it is just a case of Bowser kidnaps the Princess, this time in space. However, the plot of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is slightly weird in the sense that it does not acknowledge any of the events that occurred in Super Mario Galaxy 1. Lumas are new to Mario, he is astonished at giant-size Bowser, and everything seems new to him all over again.
Now this may be explained when you complete the game (as I must confess I haven't ever totally finished this game) - and I know that at the end of Super Mario Galaxy 1...
*NO REALLY, I KNOW YOU MAY JUST BE HAPPILY SKIPPING PAST THIS, BUT I AM GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE ORIGINAL IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL*
*YOU'RE STILL HERE? OK, WELL DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU*
... the galaxy / universe is destroyed and re-booted, so the implication could be that Mario doesn't remember it all. But even so, that means that the average player who didn't get to the end of the original would be confused as to why Mario is being such a forgetful idiot.
Well, it's either that, or he's just hit his head against too many blocks over the years, and it's had an impact on his memory.
*END OF SPOILERS - IF YOU ARE TRYING TO STEER CLEAR OF IT, YOU MAY CONTINUE READING NOW*
But regardless of strange plot issues - Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a fabulous game. The graphics are gorgeous, the music is outstanding (indeed, I think it's one of the best scores to a video game EVER) and it has such replay-value that even as I'm writing this blog, I'm looking forward to going back and playing it some more - especially since I haven't completed it yet....
So yes, I know that this review is predictable, but I loved this game. And so will all of you - it's a video game that transcends boundaries and is just so infinitely playable! And given the increase in quality between the original and this one, I am a little sad that there is no indication of a Super Mario Galaxy 3 any time soon...
Time Played: An hour and a ten minutes
Would I play it again? Are you kidding? I'm probably going to play it when I get home!