Video Game Thoughts: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was a 2010 platformer game for the Nintendo Wii by Nintendo. This game got all kinds of awards when it came out. In fact it scored just as well as the first Super Mario Galaxy game. I was a skeptic. The sequel looked like more of the same. I couldn’t imagine it doing enough to beat out its predecessor. There may have been some jealousy there because I didn’t have a Wii. I couldn’t play the game, so I didn’t want it to be the top game. I was wrong about this game though.

I finally got to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 this year when it became available on the Wii U eShop. It took me a few hours to get into it, but once I did, it was a ton of fun. I had beaten the game within a week. Two weeks later, I finished collecting all the stars. I even continued playing to do a speedrun and see how fast I could beat it.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 had really creative levels. Every level there was some new power-up to acquire, enemy to defeat, or objective to complete. Even after finishing a level, there were a few more stars to find, again with something new to discover. Some of the new things were whole mini-games that could be replayed for high scores. I always looked forward to the next level to clear or the next star to collect.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 had few downsides. The most prominent one was the camera. Sometimes it gave a really bad angle. I died many times because I couldn’t tell where Mario was in relation to the platforms. This could have all been fixed if the camera could be manually locked to line-up with the platforms. The game didn’t have a way to do that. Sometimes there was a way to rotate the camera, but a lot of times it would move as soon as Mario started running or jumping. Luckily, I am a pretty good player. I was able to learn what to do quickly, but a newer player may have had a tough time.

Another thing I didn’t like was how random each world was. The worlds didn’t have themes like they did in Super Mario Bros. 3. All the levels were fun, but there was no rhyme or reason for a level being in a particular world. Each world was just “space” with a set of galaxies (levels) to complete. In addition, the organization of the levels into the worlds was too plain. There were seven worlds, and each world had exactly seven levels. I wish there were a variable number of levels per world. What this meant is that the developers set a goal of what they were going to create for the game rather than letting the progress of the development dictate this.

True art has no limits. A developer should never say, “We are going to make fifty levels”, for example. Instead, they should say, “We will keep making levels until we run out of good ideas.” If that’s thirty levels, then so be it. It might be a hundred levels though. There are always going to be time or money constraints, but developers should never “plan” ahead what they will do. True art can’t be planned. It’s just like how I write these thoughts. Sometimes I only write a paragraph. Other times I write five paragraphs. The length depends on how much I have to say on the topic. I would never say, each of my thoughts entries needs to be exactly three paragraphs. Overall, this is a really minor criticism of Super Mario Galaxy 2. If I were reviewing the game, it wouldn’t be a enough to reduce the score.

Since I played Super Mario 3D World before this game, I made a lot of comparisons between the two. I felt that Super Mario 3D World was a more polished game, but for some players, that could have made it more boring. Super Mario Galaxy 2 was more original and creative. Some players are okay with less polish if the game feels more fresh. Galaxy 2 was very much the spiritual successor of Super Mario 64. 3D World, on the other hand, was a remake of the traditional Super Mario Bros. games with a little 3D depth added. It was a “3D Mario” game, but not fully explorable like Galaxy 2 or Mario 64. Overall, because I grew up with the old games, I like 3D World just a tiny bit more, but Galaxy 2 is still superb. It was more than worth the $10 I spent on it.

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