As my list of games yet to buy has reached zero for this year, I’ve been trying to focus on playing only one or two games at a time, to complete them and start clearing a backlog that exceeds at this point 200 games across several systems. One of these games is Super Mario Galaxy 2, which has been making me smile (at least on the inside) for the past few days.
The Wii is perhaps the most under-appreciated games console of all time. Famed mostly for a ton of shovelware and otherwise weak third party support, what you must remember is that the system played host to some truly fantastic gaming experiences all the same. The absolute pinnacle of these is this week’s Game of the Week – Super Mario Galaxy 2, which, along with the precious title, brought Mario’s 3D adventures to new heights.
It is controlled with the Nunchuck and remote – movement controls with the analogue stick, jumping handled by A and ducking/sliding by Z. C does its usual trick of centring the camera behind Mario (the camera is especially good in this game). The “forced” motion controls come from the movement of the remote, a flick of which causes Mario to spin – a move that can serve as an attack on certain enemies, and can also make Mario’s jumps go a little further. Pointing the remote and pressing B allows you (or your Player 2) to shoot star bits into the screen, attacking enemies or uncovering health-giving coins and the like.
Star bits are the secondary currency (after coins) of this particular universe. Every now and then you’ll come across a character who needs feeding with a certain number of star bits in order to open up new paths to special levels.
Providing more of the same as its predecessor, ultimately behaving like a (massive) expansion pack, there is so much inventiveness in the short levels to hold your interest. Controls are tight, and each Galaxy (level) is made up of multiple planetoids, with various gravities affecting your progress. Power-ups and their use against the excellent bosses are well-designed and fun. There is also plenty of challenge right from the off, making liars of those who continue to insist that Nintendo makes games for kids. It is this game that led ultimately to my disappointment with Super Mario Odyssey a few weeks ago, which lacks quite the same level of inventiveness and deep understanding of the series’s past.
It doesn’t break much new ground from the first Galaxy game, but it refines everything that made that game fun, and provides a more focussed, more difficult, more enjoyable experience as a result, and I recommend those of you with a Wii or Wii U who have not already played it to seek it out before the cool kids make Wii games too expensive.