- Released: 2010
- Played on: Wii
- Also available on: –
- Time to get into: 5 Hours
- Time to complete: 15 Hours
- Multiplayer: Yes, local co-op only
I need a machine that can take my reviews of Super Mario Galaxy and Rise of the Tomb Raider and somehow fuse them together. If I had that, I wouldn’t need to write this review at all. In exactly the same way I experienced with the Tomb Raider sequel, this game is unable to get out of the shadow of it’s predecessor – it’s both too similar in a lot of ways and not similar enough in others. But on the other hand, that predecessor was so good that living in it’s shadow isn’t totally a bad thing.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 feels like a collection of the levels that didn’t quite make the cut for the original planet-hoping platformer. Everything we came to know in the first one is still here – you run around with the stick on the nunchuck and jump and spin with the Wiimote. The levels have a huge amount of variety in both their platforming and the enemies you face. Once again it is the levels where gravity changes as you go along that I enjoyed the most. None of this is really new though. There was one sort of Temple Run-style level that I don’t remember from Super Mario Galaxy, although perhaps I just missed them or forgot about them. That level was great – which just goes to show how good the game is when it doesn’t feel stale.
Likewise the story is basically the same but slightly worse. Once again we find that Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach blah blah blah. When will Mario get a new story?! But where Super Mario Galaxy framed that cliche with Rosalina and the need to get stars to power up your spacecraft, there is no significant attempt to have any kind of goal outside of the gameplay. I know we don’t expect a great story from Mario but this is stretching that to the max.
Yoshi & Luigi
The two places where there are undeniable differences are the introduction of Yoshi and the more frequent appearances of Luigi. Yoshi is supposed to be the big new addition for this sequel – he adorns the cover after all. The truth is however, that although he does add some new abilities, in a game with such amazing variety in it’s mechanics, the fact that you can do certain things because you have Yoshi gets somewhat lost. You can also do certain things when you’re Bee Mario, for example, that you can’t do otherwise. Yoshi is just another one of these additions, rather than a game changer. On the other hand, I’ve always loved Luigi so I enjoyed it when he turned up to take over for a level. In Super Mario Galaxy you only got the chance to play as Luigi once you’d completed the game so this is somewhere that SMG2 steps out on it’s own. But it’s the exception that proves I rule I guess.
If these levels had been part of Super Mario Galaxy they wouldn’t have harmed that game at all. However, they just don’t quite stand up to the same level as a game on their own. Never has a bare-bones collection of cast-off levels been anywhere near this good – but that is pretty much what Super Mario Galaxy 2 remains.