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The best game on the Wii. That is what Super Mario Galaxy could easily be regarded as when it was released back in 2007. The responsiveness of the controls, the music, the graphics, the gameplay. It has it all in abundance. Truly a benchmark for the Wii. Flash forward 3 years and we are greeted with the follow-up to that title, the straightforwardly named Super Mario Galaxy 2. So, what can the newest Mario Galaxy offer players that the first one could not? Read on and you’ll find out.

As previously mentioned, Super Mario Galaxy was a great game. Fans and gamers alike will be happy to know that SMG2 carries along the same trend. This time Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser and it’s down to Mario to save her. As you play the game you’ll collect stars in the different galaxies (the stages) that Mario visits and complete different tasks to obtain them and progress forward. This does not mean by any means that the journey through the game’s worlds isn’t any less interesting than the boss battles the game throws at you. The controls in the game are intuitive with the A button being used to jump, the Z button for crouching and the analogue stick on the Wii-chuck for movement. Although Mario can do several other manoeuvres with a combination of different buttons pressed down (such as backflips, high and far jumps, etc.) having a command of the previously mentioned controls is all you need to go ahead and play. It does however make playing more fun if you can incorporate some of the other techniques in Mario’s arsenal!

The stages in SMG2 will get you to utilise these controls in many interesting ways and will really capture the imagination with some of the ideas in the game. This also goes for the power-ups Mario will find throughout the game, all of them interesting and fun to use in equal measure. From fire-flowers to power-ups that either turn Mario into a boulder, allow him to generate clouds to use as platforms or turn into a bumblebee and buzz around the stages, the game not only introduces the players to these but puts them in situations that make the player think how best to use them to progress forward, often with interesting results. You do get a feeling when playing this game that this is something only Nintendo could realise and make possible.

If we have to talk about graphics then I can say hands-down that SMG2 is tied as the best looking game on the Wii together with the first SMG. Super Mario Galaxy 2 could be the Wii’s most colourful game ever with primary colours being prominent and vivid; stages and environments being vastly diverse and beautiful in equal measure and most of all highly believable. It induces images of Disney at their best and somehow I think Nintendo and Disney have something in common when it comes to creating beautiful and vivid worlds. They should really team up one day and collaborate on something together.

The music is not to be outclassed here either with a beautiful score produced by the ever trustworthy Koji Kondou in collaboration with Mahito Yokota and Ryo Nagamatsu. Just as the game is graphically beautiful, so is the music that goes with it. Utilising a sweeping orchestral score that sounds like it came from the latest Ghibli film, it does a great job of capturing the mood of each stage as you play through the various galaxies, capturing the optimistic mood on Mario’s hub ship to the eeriness of the ghost house, the uplifting feel of the cloud stages to the evilness of Bowser’s castle. It’s a score that demands you expect nothing less sound wise in a great game such as this.

Although SMG2 has many positive and endearing elements to it there are a couple of issues that bring it somewhat back down to earth. Firstly, SMG2 is more of the first game and although it does include several new ideas it also incorporates many that were used in the first game so players may feel that they are playing Super Mario Galaxy: The extra levels if they were expecting an entirely revamped game. There are also occasions (though rare) where the controls as responsive as they are can work against your intentions but this usually comes down to the player’s lack of skill rather than the control method.

So, does SMG2 revisit old ground? Yes. Does it bring new ideas to the table? Yes. Does it still have responsive controls, beautiful sound and graphics, great gameplay and most of all, is it enjoyable to play? I would say a resounding yes to all of these and if you own a Wii you owe it to yourself to play this game. Even if it is more of the same it’s more of one of the best games to date on the Wii. All I can say is roll on Super Mario Galaxy 3 (and please, please release it before 2013!)

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