By: David Kaplan, The Campus Gamer
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If you have been following us here at The Campus Socialite, you know Super Mario Galaxy 2 has been a highly anticipated title with the campus gamers. I’ve been hacking away at this game every day since it came out about 2 weeks ago. Although I have not completed the game 100%, I’m pretty damn close and feel I can deliver and honest to goodness review of what may very well be the best game on the system (For my current game progress, see very bottom of the page).
Super Mario Galaxy 2 brings me back to the days of Super Mario 64; the purest of 3D platforming by the company who perfected the genre. In terms of a follow up, this game is everything the first Super Mario Galaxy should have been. That’s not to say the first game isn’t good. It’s amazing and was an eye opener for what a re-invented 3D Mario platformer could be, but this game took the first one and tweaked everything to near perfection.
The story is as simple as a Mario story line needs to be. The Princess is kidnapped by Bowser and is dragged off to the deepest regions of outer space. You traverse many interesting levels within 6 worlds and build your arsenal of power ups to face the evil tyrant in the end and save the girl.
The game is laid out for you just like Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World with combined elements of the original Super Mario Galaxy. Mario travels around on Starship Mario, a space ship shaped just like his head, from world to world. There are 6 worlds and within each, there are about 6 levels. In each level there are different missions you choose to follow and completing them will give you power stars. There are multiple stars to collect in each level. The power stars serves as fuel for your ship and as you collect more, you can advance further into the depths of space to finally reach Bowser.
Game-Play and Level Design
Super Mario Galaxy 2 has tight and fairly simple controls, which makes the more challenging levels later in the game quite accessible and the earlier ones a walk in the park. The joystick controls Mario’s movements. A light push will make him walk while holding it over as far as you can will make him run in the given direction. Press A to jump and a shake of the Wii remote lets you do a spin attack. If you point at the screen with the remote you can collect star bits and then shoot them at an enemy by pressing the B button. The Z button makes Mario squat. Hold down Z and press A to make Mario do a super high back flip. While running if you press Z and then A you will do a long jump. The Directional pad on the top of the Wii remote adjusts the camera.
While riding Yoshi, the controls are switched up a bit. You can still collect star bits by pointing at them but can no longer fire. Pointing the Wii remote controls where Yoshi will stick out his tongue once you press the B button. Certain enemies can be spat out as a projectile weapon after eating them by aiming and again pressing the B button. Yoshi can also stay up in the air for an extended period of time with his signature flutter jump. Hold down the A button at the top of a jump and you will get that extra boost of elevation for items and platforms just out of reach. Holding Z and then pressing A to jump will let you dismount Yoshi.
Levels with out power ups cater to the core mechanics of the game play, making you run around enemies, wall jump your way to higher elevations and star launch from planetoid to planetoid.
Additional power ups and add-ons that have unique level designs fit for them include: Bee Suit, Cloud Suit, Fire Flower, Rock Suit, Boo Suit and Spring Suit Mario, the drill power up, a bird you glide on, a rolling ball you balance on, and Yoshi with his Fire Pepper, Luminate Berry and Balloon Berry.
Within each level there is a coin that can often be a challenge to get called a Comet Coin. Collecting these and completing the level opens up new star challenges within levels called a Prankster Comets. These like the general level designs get increasingly difficult toward the latter levels as you are required to beat levels under a certain time limit, re-play a boss fight with only one meter of health and a few other tricky situations.
The pacing of the levels are great. The rate at which the level difficulty increases is very balanced. Tricks you learn from earlier levels are incorporated in very challenging ways as you progress.
The graphics are awesome. Given the nature of a Super Mario game, everything is where it needs to be. Colors pop off the screen, textures look touchable and foot prints stay where they are on the snow levels!
I give this game a 9.5 out of 10. Any gamer with a Wii or an old school fan of the Super Mario franchise owes it to themselves to pick up this one.
For those gamers keeping tabs, I have beaten the main story line of the game and am on the epic quest to collect all 120 gold stars (I’m currently at 118). Once all 120 stars are collected, a total of 120 green stars are scattered through out all the levels within the game. Collecting all of these will open a final level, which grants you 2 more stars. Total star count in Super Mario Galaxy 2? 242!