Super Mario Galaxy 2 for Wii | Game review

Game review; £39.99; cert 3+; Nintendo

Consoles usually take a while to get into their stride, but the Wii, as befits its disruptive nature, seemed to have reversed that trend. The compelling games with which it was furnished when new dried up in recent months to a trickle of dross, and one suspects many Wiis began to gather dust in the back of toy-cupboards. The arrival, then, of Super Mario Galaxy 2 could not be more timely.

The problem isn’t likely to resolve itself until medical technology allows us to clone several copies of Nintendo’s in-house development genius, Shigeru Miyamoto. At least Miyamoto-san saves his best efforts for games featuring Mario, as Super Mario Galaxy 2 amply demonstrates.

Structurally, it is near-indistinguishable from its predecessor, with several worlds to navigate, each split into seven or so galaxies (the last of which presents you with a boss to be defeated before you’re awarded a Grand Star). This time around, you can opt to play as Luigi as you enter each galaxy. As in the first Super Mario Galaxy, you have to reach stars to open new galaxies, by executing deft platform moves and solving all manner of puzzles, often involving delicious mischief with the laws of gravity. Those puzzles are invariably so good that they will make you chuckle and nod in appreciation of their sheer cleverness.

The key to reaching what often appear to be unreachable stars is Mario’s array of power-ups and special abilities, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 has two new ones. The first is a drill attachment, which Mario carries above his head; shake the Wiimote, and he will burrow straight through the centre of whatever planet he is on. This clever mechanic can be used for puzzle-solving by, for instance, burrowing to the top of pillars too high for Mario’s jumping abilities, or for boss-battles, in which you have to time and position your burrowing to hit creatures’ vulnerable parts.

But the undoubted star of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is Mario’s old mate, Yoshi. He appears in many galaxies, bringing a range of abilities when Mario jumps on his back. With his lizard-like tongue (the direction of which you can control with the Wiimote), he can gobble up and spit out enemies, and swing from designated points. Feed him Blimp Fruit and he will float for a while. And when he swallows a chilli pepper, he gains the ability to run like Forrest Gump (complete with boggle-eyed expression and siren sound effect), enabling him to temporarily escape the normal restrictions of gravity (although he becomes tricky to steer).

All of Mario’s existing power-ups appear, too, including Bee Mario and Fire Mario (one clever ice world can be reshaped by Mario’s fireballs and by rolling snowballs into melted areas). There are underwater worlds and a flying sequence in which Mario is suspended from a Fluzzard, and at one point, he can power-up into a rolling boulder. His ground-pound move also features heavily.

As the above suggests, the surreal nature that characterises Mario’s games is to the fore. Mated with the game’s irresistible sweetness, the outcome is a game-world which is truly universal in its appeal – the youngest children and grizzliest hardcore gamers alike will be held equally rapt by its charms. A long-overdue reminder of what the Wii is all about.

Rating: 5/5




Steve Boxer © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds is updated several times per day with all very latest Slim PS3 news and reviews.

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