REVIEW: Super Mario Galaxy 2

  • 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.

2018-03-14 11.19.33 1.jpg

B-Sides
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.

2018-03-16 09.47.41 1.jpg

Story?
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.

2018-03-24 06.48.55 1.jpg

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.

2018-03-24 06.48.20 1.jpg

Conclusion
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.

Review4

Advertisements

Reflections on 2017 – What an amazing year for gaming!

What an amazing year for gaming 2017 has been! There have been so many fantastic games released, across multiple platforms and genres. Early this year, when I began writing about the games The Boy and I were playing, I had no idea what a good time it was to start this blog! We’ve also been lucky with the retro games we’ve played, whether they were just catch up from 2016 or older games we’d never previously got around to. I have added more games to my All-Time Top Games List this year than any year before – 10 games have been good enough to get 5 stars here.lozbotw1

So here’s a roundup of the year, in reviews and awards. Please note that if your favourite game isn’t mentioned, just remember that I have probably just not caught up with it yet (Super Mario Odyssey, I’m looking at you). I’ll do a backlog catchup post later in the week to round up those.

2017 Reviews (by score and then chronologically)
5*
Forza Horizon 3
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Old Man’s Journey
Minecraft
Horizon Zero Dawn
Super Mario Galaxy
Madden NFL 18
Gears of War 4
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

4*
New Super Mario Bros 2
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Dirt 4
Fast RMX
Sonic Mania
FIFA 18 (Switch)

3*
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Super Bomberman R
NBA Playgrounds
Gone Home
Gran Turismo Sport
Hue

2*
Magikarp Jump

2017 Awards:
Best Game: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildlozbotw2
It was my desire to write about how good Breath of the Wild was that originally sparked the idea to start some kind of blog. This game is just endlessly entertaining, I genuinely never wanted it to stop.
Runner Up: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
There have been many great Mario Kart games over the years but with 8 Deluxe, Nintendo have perfected the formula. And for local multiplayer, there’s no better thing.

Best Platform: Nintendo Switch
switchIt’s not hard to see why the Switch wins out here given the best game awards above! But in its first year it’s fair to give the console some bonus points for the genius of its design and the ability to play anywhere anyhow, as well.
Runner Up: Xbox One.
This was a close run thing as both Xbox One and PS4 had 2 great exclusives in 2017. The PS4 loses out because it also had the biggest disappointment of the year (see below).

Best Multiplayer Game: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe2017050713184900-16851BE00BC6068871FE49D98876D6C5
As mentioned above, there is nothing even close to this for local multiplayer – in years, in fact, not just this year. It is absolute fun and the great combination of punch-the-air wins and heartbreaking losses only gets better with friends.
Runner Up: NBA Playgrounds
With Mario Kart dominating local multiplayer this year I turn to online multiplayer for the runner up. When I found a likeminded opponent who also wanted to play spectacularly – rather than just win – these games were exciting and ridiculous.

Most Unexpectedly Great Game: Madden NFL 1807-10-2017_22-39-27
I fully expected this to be just another annual edition of Madden until I played the new Longshot story mode. It was absolutely brilliant and elevated a good game to great.
Runner Up: Minecraft
I’d been avoiding Minecraft for ages – wasn’t sure if would be ‘my kind of game’. I was wrong. It’s fantastic and I spent untold amounts of hours being creative in it.

Wooden Spoon – Worst Disappointment: Gran Turismo SportGran Turismo™SPORT_20171020214155
Never before has a game given me something so good – in this case, the car handling model – and then given me no reason at all to enjoy it. Very disappointing.
Runner Up: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
After I really loved the first Mirror’s Edge I was looking forward to this. Sadly, whilst it maintained the enjoyable free running, it lost its heart and its storytelling.

REVIEW: Super Mario Galaxy

  • Released: 2007
  • Played on: Nintendo Wii
  • Also available on: –
  • Time to get into: 1 Hour
  • Time to complete: 30 Hours
  • Multiplayer: no

All I can say, after finally playing this game just the ten years late, is thank goodness for The Boy and his enthusiasm for all things Mario. It was he who insisted we pick this up. This is a wonderful game and my favourite Mario game ever – in fact, just one of my favourite games ever, full stop. I won’t be too thorough in reviewing this game as it’s been out for so long but if, like me, you somehow managed to miss this the first time around then let me have a few moments of your time to explain why you need to go and fix that as soon as possible!

Processed with VSCO with  preset

The Nintendo Way
Super Mario Galaxy is huge victory for function over form – it’s all about the gameplay. This is the Nintendo way, isn’t it?! The other aspects of the game are all adequate. The graphics are fine, although even in 2007 they weren’t groundbreaking due to the Wii not being built to compete on specs. The story is the same as every Mario game – you know; Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach, Mario fights through various obstacles to rescue her etc etc. Standard, but that is fine. On the other hand, everything about the actual gameplay is spectacular – the level design, the platforming action, and the controls to combine them.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Levels and Galaxies
The sheer variety of environments you will find yourself in is remarkable. As Mario jumps from planet to planet – sometimes even within levels – you’ll not only find yourself on solid platforms but in water, in the air, on platforms that are sinking into lava and many more. If anything, what’s most remarkable about this is that it never feels overwhelming – the game does a great job of guiding you to what you need to do. Only once or twice did I get stuck and even then when I figured it out it was simply that I had somehow missed something obvious!
On top of all this my personal favourite thing about the levels was how the game messes with gravity. There are a number of levels where different platforms have different directions of gravity. Some even let you influence that gravity yourself. Mario can then move around levels walking on the walls and ceilings as well as the floor. Gravity is clearly an important part of a game called ‘Galaxy’ but the developers have gone so much further in harnessing that to open up new areas for Mario to move around in.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Actions and Power-ups
Every action that Mario can take feels totally smooth and natural. Running, jumping and spinning quickly all work nicely and the placement and timing of Mario’s moves can give different results, opening up even more options for getting through levels and defeating enemies. Power ups are also brilliant at adding more aspects to the gameplay. Bee Mario can fly, Spring Mario can leap high, Fire Mario can light torches on fire to open up new sections etc.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Controls and Remotes
Traversing these wonderful and varied levels with these spectacular and varied moves is made fantastic by the control scheme. Super Mario Galaxy combines normal button-and-stick inputs with motion controls on the Wii Remote. It does this almost perfectly! Moving Mario about is usually the domain of the stick on the Nunchuck. The buttons take care of actions like jumping. Finally moving the Remote around is used to gather the collectibles, pointing when required and shaking to get Mario to spin. This combination quickly becomes second nature – if only more Wii games back in the day could have combined Wii Remote motion controls with more standard controls to such great effect.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Verdict
What a fun game this is! I always looked forward to what the next level would have in store for me. Run, jump, spin, fly, buzz, bounce, skate – every action was a joy from beginning to end. The ultimate platformer.

Review5

First Impressions: Super Mario Galaxy

We are supremely late to this party! Super Mario Galaxy was released nearly ten years ago in November 2007. I never got around to playing it at the time and so I had kind of given up and moved on to newer games until The Boy spotted it in a store recently. He’d obviously seen a video of it on the internet as he knew more about it than me so we picked it up.
Better late than never!

20170604_135459(0)

Well my first impressions are that I’m glad for his persuasion. I like the planet-hoping dynamic and the story so far is classic Mario. However, it’s the control scheme that has interested me the most so far. The combination of walking around with an analog stick (as in every other game) with the pointing at the screen with the Wii Remote is fantastic. If more games had employed the Remote this well on the Wii it might have been a better place for ‘serious’ games rather than being overtaken by party games with gimmicky swinging about of the controllers.

20170604_135426

The only flaw we’ve discovered so far isn’t really a flaw at all: this game is hard! We haven’t got far yet and it’s already getting a bit tricky for me and too difficult for The Boy. We try and take it in turns but on each of the last few stars we’ve collected he has ended up just letting me do it.
Hopefully as we continue it will still have enough levels that he can do to be be fun for him.

A full review will follow when we eventually finish it and then we will move on to Super Mario Galaxy 2! With any luck we will get both of these done before Super Mario Odyssey towards the end of the year.

Return of the Wii

Today we dug out our old Nintendo Wii. We had absolutely no idea if it would even work but as it turns out – success! 

All if this stemmed from The Boy and I wandering around our local shopping centre and ending up in a game shop looking at Nintendo games. I managed to steer him away from 3DS games by looking at the Wii games and he wound up looking at Super Mario Galaxy

I’ve never played it or it’s sequel and I feel like I missed out on them as basically everyone said they were amazing. 

We will let you know our thoughts later on. Just gotta find the 2nd Wiimote so we can play co-op!

What about you? Have you played Super Mario Galaxy? And what were your favourite Wii games back in the day? Let us know in the comments below.