Okay, you know what I’m about to say. I’m about to have a joygasm for at least two full single-spaced Word document pages and none of it is going to be a surprise to anyone. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a good game, end of story. I’m not even the only person saying this. But I also don’t know when to shut up, so here we go with the most obviously unneeded review yet! Let’s! Ah! Go!
And Then Chris States the Obvious
At the time of this review, I’m roughly 50-odd stars into the game and more or less completely done with the first three worlds (world 1 is completely finished). I’ve got a chance to play with the new power-ups, Yoshi, and Luigi, plus I’ve done my fair share of Trickster Comets and all sorts of other random what-not, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on what the game has to offer me for the next half. And on the half that I’ve played I can fully recommend the game to any and everyone, as long as you like Mario games/platforming games at least.
In the larger scope of things, Mario Galaxy 2 has been getting universally high marks. You’d be really hard pressed to find someone that really hates the game unless you wait for Zero Punctuation to do the usual “Whine whine, this game is a GAME, whine whine, poop joke” thing that Yahtzee is known for. Granted, I’m curious what he’ll find to gripe about, but otherwise my point is that everyone seems to think this is a good game.
To prepare myself for the new game, I replayed the first Super Mario Galaxy just last week to full completion once more. It helped a lot to allow me to segue into the sequel without any trouble since I knew the controls inside and out. I was just worried that Yoshi would be a pain to handle, but thankfully, the controls when riding Yoshi are just as responsive as if you’re just Mario. The game plays a bit different with no long jumps or spin recoveries or wall jumps, but Yoshi missions aren’t a hindrance.
Really, no missions have been a hindrance yet. I haven’t felt the difficulty become unfair at any point, nor have I really considered a death the game’s fault. I know when I’ve messed up, and I never freak out thinking, “Crap! How am I ever going to beat this mission?!” Which isn’t to say the game is simple. Extremely forgiving, but not “simple.” While you’ll definitely encounter some levels where you’ll lose way more lives than you’d expect, those same levels also pack in 1-ups like they’re candy. You may die seven times attempting a single star but finish with three more lives than when you began just because you’re picking up two 1-ups for every death. As I said though, this doesn’t make the game “easy,” it just alleviates frustration.
Anyone that assumed this game was just Mario Galaxy 1.5 is entirely wrong. While the controls and graphics are identical, and the story isn’t breaking new grounds in the Mario world, the game is entirely its own beast to tackle. The biggest change from the previous game is the improved hub world, or lack thereof. Roselina’s spaceship is no longer the staring point for all your actions, replaced by a smaller spaceship and a world map similar to more conventional Mario games. For me, this is a huge plus. It keeps things flowing a lot faster and gives a much better sense of progress.
That sense of progress is furthered by new things constantly getting added to your space ship, mostly in the form of new guests from the various worlds. It might just be me, but I love having that drive behind collecting random things, just because. Also, every level has a Comet Medal that needs be found, and while I haven’t yet encountered a level where the medal is incredibly well hidden or out of the way, it does create a good little bit of anxiety to think, “Oh man, I still need to find that Comet Medal before I finish this star!”
So more new things: Power-ups. Yoshi is one major power-up and functions perfectly. Flipping around by aiming his tongue at flower grab-points is surprisingly fun for such a simple action, and the various fruits he eats give him new powers for a short time, such as the dash pepper that makes him run extremely fast for a short period of time. The three new power-ups for Mario I’ve encountered thus far are the drill, which has been shown extensively in trailers and works great, the Cloud Flower, which allows Mario to create three more cloud platforms by performing a spin move, and the Rock Mushroom, a great addiction since it lets Mario roll up into a rock and smash into things. They aren’t groundbreaking power-ups, but they’re in my top list already. I definitely like the Cloud Suit better than the Bee Suit.
Oh, and the new music is excellent. There are a handful of old Mario tracks recomposed here in epic style that just add to the full package, as well as fantastic new tracks. The Puzzle Blocks Galaxy in particular may be my new favorite track/galaxy both for the music and the awesome gameplay of the level.
My one little gripe is pretty small but it still bugs me: There is no way to save 1-up progression. The game keeps track of Star Bits and coins, but if you have over 50 1-ups like I had after the first play session, they’ll be gone when you turn your console back on. It makes me a bit frustrated to feel like I’m really accumulating a significant amount of lives but to know that it’ll all mean nothing if I save and quit. I just would have liked a system of saving 1-ups when the game is turned off, that’s all.
There, that’s my one and only problem with this game. I haven’t felt this happy with a game purchase in a long time and I can already say that while I doubt it’ll win Game of the Year, this is my choice for 2010 by a longshot. Go buy this from Amazon right now. In fact, Amazon might even take too long. Go down to any store you can find and pick it up this very day. The $50 price tag is such a good deal, so if you find any place that has a discount, oh man, that’s like asking the bank to change a $10 and having them give you back $16 because they had a special that day. Go play Super Mario Galaxy 2 as soon as possible.
Good, I’m done with the article, I can get back to playing.