Super Mario Galaxy 2: Masterpiece of a Space Platformer Thing

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Trippy.

Right, we covered the landmark Super Mario Galaxy (2007) a while ago. Now it’s time to look at the 2010 sequel. Despite the uninspired title, it’s still seen as one of the greatest ever Super Mario games – a masterpiece and one of the best games ever. Well, is it!?

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Discussing Super Mario game quality (here are our 10 favourites) is like contemplating the best type of popcorn flavour. They’re all bloody amazing (except for sweet and salty), so how do you distinguish?!

Now, despite the mass of critical acclaim – including the gaming press hailing it as superior to the original – for a long time we didn’t think it was a significant step over the original.

Our mortal enemy Extra Life has an excellent Super Mario Galaxy 2 review hailing its total brilliance. And that prompted us to have another go.

Since returning to it, we’re staggered by Nintendo’s creative breadth. It absolutely pushes 3D platforming to incredible heights.

It’s just a joy to play – life affirming to the max. Seriously, watch two minutes of the below and try not to swoon at how special it is.

Behold the flow. That’s decades of understanding the nature of platforming right there, Nintendo whacking out freeflowing imagination to deliver something captivating.

We want to mention the orchestral score right away. For the 2007 predecessor, series creator Shigeru Miyamoto asked for a change to Super Mario’s more traditional boops and bleeps.

Although Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine had pushed the series’ soundtrack forward, Super Mario Galaxy went orchestral. It was a masterstroke of a decision.

And it rumbles through to the sequel, although composers Mahito Yokota, Ryo Nagamatsu, and legendary Koji Kondo did have a bit more fun with it.

For this review we used the Wii U‘s backward compatibility to play the Wii game. We haven’t played the Wii for a bit, but we found returning to the dual motion controls great fun.

The levels in Super Mario Galaxy 2 do have a fantastic flow to them. It’s the sort of level design that constantly engages. You can’t go more than a few seconds before something fun happening

As for the “plot”, it’s the usual rescuing Princess Peach deal. Unlike the first game, however, the sequel returns to a more traditional progression structure.

You move from level to level (galaxy to galaxy) encountering strange new worlds and collecting stars to fuel Mario-shaped ship and move on.

What happens immediately is just the sheer creativity going on. Spin-Dig Galaxy is early on in the game and is a fine example – the level has an incredible structure that unfolds lovingly.

You have your little digging implement that lets your surge through the center of the level, plus it’s all wrapped up with a clever boss battle. Fulfilling and reward? Yep. Captivating.

And it doesn’t let up. You arrive at each level and wait for Nintendo’s limitless imagination to unfold.

We had a similiar experience with our favourite title from the series, Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U, where the range of levels and enormity of the title is really quite jaw-dropping.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 builds on its original quite magnificently. Every element is ramped up to ensure you’re challenged head on (and the game is difficult), but there’s something for everyone here.

And we feel it’s important to stress just how joyous the game is. It revels in happiness. Simply playing it for a few minutes will brighten your day.

You can, unfortunately, only get it on the Nintendo Wii – there’s no port to any other console yet. But if you can get one second hand off eBay then it’s worth it for this game alone.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 should be handed out as a prescription drug the world over. It works wonders.

2 comments

  1. Yeah, see? Don’t knock it until you try it. For me, this is the definitive Mario experience. A lot of independent critics dismissed it as a token sequel, but I kind of think it was a situation similar to Oasis’s second album in that nobody was expecting this game to outdo something that was instantly hailed as a classic in such a short time. Even Bob “Moviebob” Chipman, an notoriously unapologetic Mario fanboy, ended up passing over it in favor of its predecessor. Fortunately, it got its dues in the long run, and is rightly considered one of the greatest games of the 2010s. Getting all 242 stars is still one of my favorite gaming accomplishments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t played it in about five years, but returning to it has been pretty mighty. Immensely enjoyable. I’m playing Skyrim for the first time, alongside revisiting Galaxy 2. So that’s a fun combo!

      Liked by 1 person

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