Natural 20: Super Mario Galaxy 2

The plumber in red is back in his latest adventure on the Nintendo Wii and once again he is roaming the stars.  Super Mario Galaxy 2, the sequel to the 2007 adventure, is an exciting game that upholds the long tradition of excellent Mario adventures.  From a simple look Super Mario Galaxy 2 look exactly like the previous gravity-altering spherical worlds game, but the despite the similarities the sequel surpasses the original become the standard by which all 3D platformers must now be judged.

The game begins as an oversized Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach and makes off with her.  Mario leaps off to rescue his fair lady and this begins his latest adventure.  You leap in right away into the game through a simple map much like that of Super Mario Bros. 3 and New Super Mario Bros.  This replaces the elaborate hub, the castle or the Isle of Delfino, that has existed in every 3D Mario games since Mario 64.  This gives you less downtime between each level letting you to quickly get back to the fun.

Galaxy 2 is a long, challenging game, requiring a minimum of 70 stars to reach the final level but filled with almost double that.  The controls are incredibly well done and it is clear that a lot of work has been put in to give precision to each of Mario’s moves, be they leaping between walls, performing deadly butt-stomps, or jumping across lava-filled pits.  Each world seems to introduce a new mechanic to the game, skating on ice, swimming with a shell, hang gliding on a bird or competing against a sunglass wearing monkey., and while each of these situation appears only a couple times each, they have been well craft and full fleshed out.

Like Mario games of the past, the red-plumber has a new arsenal of power-ups available to him.  Returning from previous games are Fire Mario, Bee Mario, and Boo Mario, but this game introduces interesting new item and power such as the Rock Mario, that rolls like a Zelda Goron, Spring Mario, that bounces like Tigger, Cloud Mario, that makes able to walk on and form clouds, and the Spin Drill, a combination top and drill.  These new abilities allow for sever fun, and difficult, missions that test both your patience and skill.

Along with the new powers the cute green dinosaur returns to perform his mount duties once again.  Yoshi make a triumphant return since his absence in the original Galaxy, and with the Wii controls he makes riding him smooth and easy.  You use the Wii-mote to point what you want to eat and simply pull the trigger.  Just like his rider Yoshi has his own set of power-ups, available in the form of fruit, which allow him to swell up like a balloon or run with incredible speed.

Yet despite the return of familiar cast, like the Toad Brigade and the starshrooms, and the inventive new levels, one of the biggest appeals of this game are the boss battles.  While similar to the bossed in the previous Wii adventure, a large monster terrorizing a small circular planet, the developers have gone to great length to make them exciting, challenging and fun.  The fights, especially the ones using the spin-drill and Cloud Mario, are exciting battle against Bowser’s biggest monsters and machines.  These battles can consist of drilling from one side of the planet to the other, battling a huge dragon, swallowing Bullet Bills with Yoshi and firing them back or battling an enemy while skating.

In short this is a amazing game that push the Wii system to its furthest, showing us that after 30 years Mario is still the king of platformers.  This game is the first of a series of, hopefully, triple-A that will be coming out this summer (Metroid: Other M, Sin and Punishment 2, Arc Rise Fantasia, and Tournament of Legends) and with the shockingly good Monster Hunter Tri already out we are lined up for a good summer for Wii owners.

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