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RELEASE DATE (NA): May 23, 2010 GENRE: Platformer
// review by Meow

Super Mario Galaxy, Too.

Super Mario hardly needs any introduction. Chances are that if you're reading this site, you've at least heard of it. The series in whole may be overrated as heck, but some games are genuinely great, while others... not so much. Super Mario Galaxy 2, and by extension the original Super Mario Galaxy (SMG), are among the games that I consider to really be not very enjoyable.

This game opens up in a weird storybook format; pretty much ignoring that Mario Galaxy 1 ever happened, kicking off a sort of "Complete Loss of Continuity" that has permeated the series since. We're introduced to some Lumas, of which a silver one grants Mario the ability to spin to attack and gain some slight air time. Suddenly a giant Bowser is attacking Peach's castle, kidnaps her, and then the Lumas help you take to outer space, where Bowser leapt off to. And we're quickly dumped into Level 1. And already, we're met with some rising problems that stem from the game's development.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was apparently being made as a sort of "DLC" for the first game, but since the Wii couldn't really do DLC, it was just developed as "More Mario Galaxy" and it really shows. In the first level alone, we already have some level segments from Mario Galaxy recycled. There's even an entire level late into the game that is literally just a level from the first game. And the worst part is, it's one of the WORST levels from the first game. Oh wait, scratch that, there are multiple instances of this. Plus, there are levels from other Mario games thrown in the mix, but that further illustrates the serious flaws in the way the game plays rather than laziness. Plus, these "retro" levels in addition to the inclusion of Yoshi and other throwback things in this game is basically the moment Nintendo stopped trying to make completely original works and, instead, decided to market based on nostalgia. Seriously, the earlier levels in the game really push these nostalgic soundtracks. This isn't so much a bad thing in itself if it wasn't for the fact that every Mario game following kept doing the same dang thing.

Back to the game at-hand, the game's hub is a lot smaller than it was in the original SMG, being a small planetoid, and all levels are now selectable from one spot in the hub, which makes it a more convenient way of going to levels. However, the "Galaxy" feel is lost since you're literally just choosing levels from a level map instead of seeing planets in a small galaxy like the first game. But I guess it's a sacrifice that had to be made for the sake of convenience. Another change: shortly into the game you'll encounter Luigi who, after showing up, will start randomly being at the start of levels in the game, allowing you to swap to playing as him. This is a little more welcome than having to beat the entire game to unlock Luigi mode like the first game, but it's confusing why Luigi has to randomly spawn. Completing a stage with Luigi will make a ghost Luigi spawn, and I don't think Luigi will spawn there ever again. Ghost Luigi has practically no use, though. At first I thought it was something like a staff ghost that you could race, but no. They often just... run around and then stop. Sometimes they show secret 1-Ups or shortcuts, sometimes they'll just walk up a ramp, jump into some water, swim to shore, and then lay down for a nap. No point. Back to playing as Luigi, once you beat the main story for the game, you'll be able to freely play as Luigi. And Luigi plays the same as he does in SMG, being that he's essentially "hard mode" in the sense that he slips about a bit and takes a moment to stop, will lose air if you spin attack in water, and will jump a little higher than Mario. I personally just like being the green machine, and the amount of challenge added being the weej is negligible.

Is it a sequel if it's the same?

Now, the game, much like SMG, has 120 stars for you to nab throughout the whole game. In the original SMG, you have to collect all 120 stars as both Mario and Luigi to unlock a new level to play, but in this game, since you play as both Mario and Luigi regardless, collecting 120 stars will unlock a more fun thing in the game that I've really only seen in ROM hacks of Mario 64: scavenger hunts. Throughout the game, 120 more stars will appear, and they will be green. The game provides no hint for where these green stars will be, but thankfully selecting the green star from the level select menu will place you in the version of the stage you need to be in for that particular star to appear. And you can often nab them out of order. Some stars are easier to find than others, but one of the most confusing ones was one where you're trapped on a 2D plane for a section, but the green star is just barely off of the 2D plane, basically causing you to have to break the game's physics in order to nab. Collecting all 120 green stars unlocks one final level with 2 final stars to collect. After completing it, Rosalina, one of the main characters from SMG, will join you on your planetoid hub as a sort of trophy waifu or something. She doesn't do anything, and she doesn't change the ending. But hey, it's content.

Now, complaints about recycling aside, my real beef with this game is the way it plays itself. The Mario Bros. feel so dang stiff and heavy, and weird crap happens all the time with the gravity mechanics of both this game and the original. You can hold up on the joystick and you can run in a circle. There's also weird crap such as not being to always wall jump, sometimes when you get to a grabbable ledge, you will just "bonk" and fall to your doom outside of your control. Sometimes your spin just won't activate. The game just doesn't...feel right. It's something you'd have to try for yourself to see, but it could very well be a problem with hardware, which is something that permeates a lot of Wii games where some people have excellent experiences and others have terrible ones.

To sum this up, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is just Super Mario Galaxy 1, but some of it is new and the rest is not. SMG1 left me incredibly bitter, which is why it took me about a two-year break between that and playing this one to begin with, and this game, too, left me irate and bitter as well. I kept fighting the game's controls too much, and the levels aren't really anything special anyways. There's a reason why I refer to these games as "THINGS! IN! SPAAAAACE!" because that's all it is. It's just video game levels in a void, and sometimes it's just literally 3D objects in these voids you walk all over. The game takes too long to get to any genuine original content, and that new content is actually not too shabby. I'll link some of my favorite tracks, but they don't really sound like they belong in a Mario game. The most enjoyable part was digging around levels for the green stars, but this game really doesn't feel worth my time to play again. I'm serious, it's rare that I feel like "I'll never touch this game again in my life", but this is definitely one of those games. I apologize if my disdain wasn't clear enough throughout the review.

Boss Blitz:

Cosmic Cove:

Slimy Spring Galaxy:

And finally, Fleet Glide Galaxy, of which I more commonly associate with SMBX:

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