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Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) artwork

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) review

"Iíll be honest: I donít like Mario. Never have. I believed the thought of a chubby super-powered plumber who jumped on the heads of his enemies was silly. And my distaste was marred even further by the fact thatóbarring a few exceptionsóthe structure never changed. Bowser was always the antagonist, Peach was always in peril and it was up to Mario to save her. "

Iíll be honest: I donít like Mario. Never have. I believed the thought of a chubby super-powered plumber who jumped on the heads of his enemies was silly. And my distaste was marred even further by the fact that--barring a few exceptions--the structure never changed. Bowser was always the antagonist, Peach was always in peril and it was up to Mario to save her.

I could not understand how this became Nintendoís flagship or why it lasted over two decades. Yet it was, and as such Nintendo produced countless sequels and spin-offs, most of which I passed on. But fate has a funny way of twisting me where she wants. On a day like any other, I was waiting for my significant other to finish shopping, and decided to kill time by playing the courtesy console the store had set up. Only one option lay before me: Super Mario Galaxy 2. Considering the system was closed off, and I was provided no option to switch games, I had two choices--wander Wal-mart or endure it. The latter seemed the better option, especially in the middle of the night. Skeptically I picked up the Wii remote, prepared to cast it off moments later out of boredom or disgust. Yet in those few seconds, be it out of panic or frustration, I flicked the controller to get it to the other side of the screen and Mario did something Iíve never seen: He spun around, sticking his fists out and smacking any goomba that came near him. Okay, now I was intrigued. Then, with the area clear, I stepped under a star and it prompted me to do the same move--what I like to call Super Marioís Super Spin. Immediately the star latched onto me and hurled me out. Mario rocketed across the screen, twisted and turned to land onto an entirely new planet. Great. Now I was hooked.

I wasted not a second thought, purchased it and brought it home. And in continuing to play it, Iíve discovered a very large, blistering flaw in my reasoning for not playing Mario games: Iíve been brainwashed to forget what defines ďfunĒ. I believed that sequels needed to get bigger and better, that they constantly had to re-invent themselves with more intricate plots, deeper characters and new ideas. And I failed to realize thereís more than one way to do that. Super Mario Galaxy 2 follows the same premise of Peach, Bowser and the unlikely hero, and perhaps itís due to me not playing as many but that formula works. Mario and friends donít change; the environment does.

And thatís where Marioís magic truly lies. Despite his countless adventures and epic battles, the loveable plumber is still the little guy. The simple man. Time and again heís thrust into adventures that become more grand than the last, yet he maintains the same qualities that made him so entertaining--the goofy mustache, the overdone Italian accent and cheesy grin. Nintendo doesnít need to nor do they try to reinvent him with ideas that donít fit or upgrades that donít work, foolishly attempting to make him something that heís not. Sometimes the simplest of things can have the most impact, and the most down-to-earth characters are the most memorable.

Instead--to breathe new life and entertainment into a long running series--theyíve built a new world for him to play in. Marioís latest adventure has him whipping through space, roaming around brilliantly ingenious worlds that get more creative the deeper you get. One level found me bounding around with my pal Yoshi, using my Wii controller to target enemies, apples or even coins, then having Yoshi snag them with his tongue, eating everything he came across (and believe me, Yoshi will eat almost anything). Later he used that same appendage to grapple floating flowers and swing me across a pit of black holes, like a bug-eyed, bright green Kratos. Another level returned me to the 2D platforming style of old, only this time the gravity shifted in random places, so what once was my ceiling became my floor. Those harmless caverns above me became impending pits of doom, the seemingly undefeatable crabs with sharp spikes on their heads turned innocuously upside down, inevitably becoming a victim for my jump attack. Perhaps the most entertaining--and intense--level was the galaxy of jigsaws, named both for the fragmented platforms that had to be stomped into place, and the whirring ground blades that cut out random pieces of a plank. I believed I simply had to dodge them, only to realize my mistake after my footing broke away and I tumbled into nothingness.

Needless to say there are far more dangers than just walking mushrooms and hammer-throwing turtles. Thankfully, Nintendo has added a few upgrades to help Mario through his daunting task. In certain levels the powerful plumber can sport a cloud suit that will turn his Super Spin into a nimbus producing technique, leaving a fluffy white platform beneath his feet. More often than not it saved me from a devastating drop. Other times he carried around a massive drill that allowed him the perfect escape straight through the ground. When running from enemies isnít an option, Mario can take on the form of a rock, crushing anything in his path then rolling harmlessly away. Although they sometimes seem few and far between, these inventive advancements were a wonderful addition to Marioís impressive repertoire.

And in many ways thatís a summation of Super Mario Galaxy 2. Itís a perfect blend of new adventures and classic style that will entice both long running fans of the series and new comers as well. Bottom line, itís fun. I get excited thinking about playing it, and energetic when I write about it. So much so that I really wanted to say ďBlast OffĒ but that seems cheesy and immatureÖ




True's avatar
Community review by True (July 07, 2010)

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zippdementia posted July 09, 2010:

I really like this review, True. You do great taking the negative stance and then turning it into a positive, showing why the game hooked you. I really agree with what you're saying about "reinventing the wheel." There's no need to discard a good formula. I think more and more, game developers are realizing this and are retreating from innovation back towards what works.

A little innovation here and there is great. We don't need everything to be so damn new... which kind've goes against something I said about a month ago in reference to a new Konami game... but what can I say? Your review made me think about it.

I did get a bit thrown off by this:

Skeptically I picked up the Wii remote, prepared to cast it off moments later out of boredom or disgust. Yet in those few seconds, be it out of panic or frustration, I flicked the controller to get it to the other side of the screen...

I just feel like you're missing some scene-setter in there. One moemnt you are just starting the game, the next you are panicked or maybe frustrated... why? What was the scene? Where did you find yourself in the middle of that caused such emotions?
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zippdementia posted July 09, 2010:

Bumped. I think it was buried before True got a chance to see it.

I think maybe we should expand our "recent forum discussions." Now that discussion has grown because of the blog posting thing, it seems a decent thing to do. I think most of us rely on that box and not browsing the forums to see what's new on the site.
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honestgamer posted July 09, 2010:

It has been expanded, Zipp--nearly doubled--and there are no current plans to expand it further. The content on the right side of the main pages is just meant to provide a sampling of each type of content listed and that's what it does. Staying on top of topics is as easy as clicking to the forums and viewing the most recent 50 posts. If the forums get busier and that no longer suffices, users will just have to check the section of the forums that interests them. It's not feasible to make every hot new topic appear in the right column.

Also... True's review is great. I've told him so over AIM.
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JANUS2 posted July 09, 2010:

Interesting read, but I think this might have worked better as a review of Super Mario Galaxy 1.

What I mean by this, is that after reading I don't really have any idea how 2 is different to 1. I've heard that it's just an expansion pack, but someone here (can't remember who) said that playing 2 first is not a good idea.
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True posted July 09, 2010:

Thanks for the comments, Zipp. If I remember correctly I was on the first or second level, surrounded by goombas with only one shard of life left. They were getting too close to me, and I knew about the shooting stars but not the spin, so I shook the controller to try and get it to show up on-screen and it just sort of happened.

I suppose I should add that into my review--more eloquently at least--but I worry about going too in-depth with scenes like that, and thought even the Wal-mart example was pushing it.

Regardless, I'm glad you liked the rest of it. It should end up being a good week for all three of us.

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