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We count down our 10 best games of 2020, a year for the sagas...
The Official AusGamers Top 10 Best Games of 2020!
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2

Nintendo Wii
Genre: Platform
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review
Review By @ 04:30pm 01/07/10
Mario has become an institution for Nintendo. They can whack his name or likeness on almost any product and it will sell (I even seem to remember a copy of "Mario Teaches Typing" on PC - don't ask). That however, doesn't mean it's always going to be worth forking out for. Thankfully, as I'm sure you all guessed, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is.

As the old adage states, if the pipe 'aint broke, don't fix it! Super Mario Galaxy 2 takes the tried-and-true 3D platforming nature of the first title, throws in a new tweak or two creating a sequel that doesn't stray too far off the previously set path, but also avoids approaching any truly new ground.

Super Mario Galaxy was a big game on AusGamers. Scoring a whopping 9.7, it took the 3D platforming genre that Super Mario 64 revolutionised (and arguably created), reinvigorating and reinventing it - presenting us with a truly next-gen version of Mario. But this creates problems for SMG2. With so much to live up to, has Shigeru delivered? Well, yes. And no.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 does little to reinvigorate the series, or the genre. With the exception of adding Yoshi, the ability to play as Luigi from the get go on selected levels and some new power-up mushrooms, it's essentially the same game with different level design. Far from producing a shitty game though, it only means SMG2 doesn't have the 'wow' factor its predecessor did.

Bowser is again up to no good. Following the familiar kidnapped princess routine, Mario teams up with another Luma, and heads out into space... again. He needs to collect power stars to reach Bowser and rescue his 'special friend' Princess Peach. Again.

While the premise is familiar, there are a few stand-out differences. Mario no longer presides on an interstellar, star-creating, spaceship as his gaming hub. This time around it's a much smaller spaceship (thus a smaller hub) created from gardens and trees and all other kinds of Mario-inspired cuteness shaped liked our hero's head, which gradually becomes occupied with the power-ups and characters you encounter. Before long you're moving around a sickly-sweet kind of tutorial world where you can constantly learn how to do things you already know how to do. It's also an easy place to earn more lives if you're short. Strangely, SMG2 removes the solar system selection screen with several galaxies, instead implementing a linear progression screen having more in common with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. This occasionally branches out in one or two directions, but never allows for much variation from the set path.

This seems like a step back for a game which really needs some encompassing worlds to play around in. I mean not every planet has to be 200m in diameter, but how about some large planets scattered throughout, with the ability to collect more stars later once you've completed their missions, a la Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine? C'mon Nintendo, you've set the bar with SMG... now instead of simply being nostalgic, and adding small nuances from previous titles (music, characters, a location or two) - which by the way I'm not complaining about - draw on them further by incorporating a large gaming hub and levels of Sunshine or Mario 64 with the smaller puzzle-based planet missions already in Galaxy. Larger worlds please, more of them. Classic power-ups and a bonus of unlocking levels from older Mario games would also be great.

As I glossed over earlier, this time 'round, you can crack open an egg and free Yoshi to ride around the selected galaxies Nintendo wishes you to use him on. Yoshi retains all his signature moves like eating stuff and his extended running jump; however, he no longer takes a hit for you. Get hit whilst on Yoshi and you fall off, ensuring Yoshi runs away screaming, but you lose the life. There are some levels where Yoshi appears to be there simply because he can be, often not providing any real addition to gameplay, other than the odd secret. Overall Yoshi appears too little in the game. He's an exciting addition to the gameplay, but definitely not a fully realised one.

Responsiveness of controls is essential in Mario games and thankfully SMG2 is a winner in this respect. Everything is just as reactive and smooth as before. The 'wii-waggle' that plagues and frustrates in many other Wii titles works extremely well in SMG2, and while it is becoming a tacked-on control method just for motion's sake in many other games, it feels as natural as ever here - playing this game any other way would be inconceivable.

In the 'what else is new' department, Mario encounters some fresh power-ups to compliment some old faves. Returning, we have the Fire Flower, Bee Mushroom and Ghost Mushroom. While new to the culinary universe are the Spring Mushroom (encompassing Mario in a giant spring - allowing him to jump to great heights with correctly timed press of the jump button), a Rock Mushroom (which turns Mario into a giant, rolling boulder that smashes all in his path), a Drill power-up (that enables Mario to drill right through surfaces to the other side), and finally, one of the most useful, a Cloud Flower - granting the ability to create clouds directly underneath you thus allowing you to reach otherwise unreachable areas. This also creates plenty of opportunities for the skilled player to completely skip areas of the level with accurate timing and long-jumps. The new power-ups are all well realised, however, I would've loved to see some power-ups from older titles making an appearance. The Raccoon suit, Frog suit and Cape would all be awesome to play around with in a 3D gaming arena.

Following a similar fare to the original, great orchestrated audio remixes of classic Mario tunes, that stay true to their MIDI counterparts, are partnered with succinctly presented, new, yet true-to-the-Mario-universe, tracks. The soundtrack to this sequel far surpasses the original with many tracks overall, providing much less repetition.

There's a distinct lack of Prankster Comet variety this time round, with only one prankster comet per world which are randomly assigned a challenge type. Speed-runs provide an adequate, yet frustrating-at-times challenge, but Daredevil Runs provide plenty of those "I'm going to deliberately let that wiimote fly into the screen because I'm not wearing my wrist strap" moments. For some reason these comet challenges are quite inconsistent in their difficulty, but thankfully 1-Up are quite easy to come by, with mini-games on offer on your ship, offering bonus lives or star-bits with the roll of a dice. The game feels relatively easier than its predecessor, but this may simply be down to the fact that we aren't new to this gameplay style - it just feels very comfortable donning the overalls of Mario and Luigi again.

With a thoroughly disappointing and easy final altercation, Bowser is defeated using the same techniques as used on the Bowser Boss Battles ending each universe. Whereas New Super Mario Bros. Wii changed things up a bit, with a rather exciting end for a platformer, I was thoroughly disappointed with SMG2's finale. You do gain access to a secret world though, with more difficult puzzle-orientated gameplay, so it's not all bad.

If it feels like I've been incredibly critical of this game, you're right. The first game was just brilliant, and likewise so is SMG2. It just seems that instead of toughening things up and broadening the SMG universe, we have been presented with a slightly more linear version of something we already know, with Yoshi and Luigi at the helm.

At 17 hours, game finished and only 12 more stars left to absolute completion, I can say it's at least decent in length. And yes, there're plenty of new puzzles, new levels, and more variation in enemies, music and gameplay, but not enough to raise the bar. It's still the king of 3D platformers, it's just more of what we know and love.
What we liked
  • New power-ups
  • Yoshi and Luigi
  • More variation in level design, enemies and gameplay
  • Still the best 3D platformer around
What we didn't like
  • No 'real' gaming hub
  • Similar to first game
  • Disappointing ending
  • Progression of difficulty poorly executed
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 05:52pm 01/7/10
This game is The S***. Oh yes, mario is still king of platforms.
Posted 05:58pm 01/7/10
It's pretty good, liked the first one more so far though.
Posted 05:59pm 01/7/10

s*** yer, i cant wait to make this game my b****
Posted 06:43pm 01/7/10
The spring mushroom was in SMG btw.
Posted 06:52pm 01/7/10
Bah, didn't even play past 120 stars. There's 120 Green Stars this time around, they're not just the same stars with Luigi.
Posted 04:40pm 05/7/10
I'm enjoying this more than SMG1. Granted I say this after not playing SMG1 since its release, but SMG2 feels more "pure" without the stupid hub level and has more variety.
Posted 10:56am 06/7/10
where is the cheapest place to get this game?
Posted 11:17am 06/7/10
spook, can you explain to me what is special about that picture you've posted twice now atleast ?
Posted 11:18am 06/7/10
120 stars?
Posted 11:30am 06/7/10
As you can see Spook takes pride in complete game domination and making games his b****** - a true gamer.

Much like how i completely dominate teq's mum on the bathroom floor. Owwwwwwwwwwww.
Posted 11:37am 06/7/10
Spook's picture fails, because the portrait at the bottom is Mario.

Do it with Luigi, and then get the two extra stars. Then take another photo with 242 stars in your tally. :)

About 50ish stars into Mario Galaxy 2. Some of the bonus stars (pranksters, etc) have been rather a prick. I dread the oft-mentioned big-brother-of-luigis-purple-coins level. :(
Posted 11:45am 06/7/10
I'm only up to around 30 stars atm, but loving it.
Posted 02:06pm 06/7/10
If my memory serves, Spook's photo is of SMG1 (right?)
Posted 02:23pm 06/7/10
Yes, he was bragging a while ago about getting 120 stars. He needs to go for 242 though.
Posted 02:46pm 06/7/10
f*** i'd love to know how much money they have made off mario from the very first game made up until now, it would have to be some kind of record
Posted 03:35pm 06/7/10
f*** 242 stars, im no masochist!
Posted 04:09pm 06/7/10
Considering the difficulty curve ramps up when playing as Luigi, an element of masochism is indeed required.

Thankfully, I have that element, and was able to collect all 242 stars. I received nothing for the feat, bar a lousy couple of 'e-mails' in my Wii inbox. :(
Posted 05:49pm 06/7/10
i still reckon the luigi purple coin stage is one of the hardest levels of any game ive ever completed! (you know the one where you jump on the tiles and they either disappear or start rotating)

it took me like 4 solid days of gaming to get through
Posted 11:54pm 06/7/10
Ah, as did I. Then I did the purple coins on Battlerock with Luigi and had my arse handed to me. I am pretty sure my stats sheet shows most deaths on this level. (getting 242 stars unlocks your death statistics)
Posted 09:43am 03/8/10
About a month later, and I've finished SMG2 completely, with all 242 stars. Unlike the first one, I don't think I will EVER play this game again. Ever. To get those last few stars requires an insane amount of patience...to resist the urge to throw your wiimote at the tv.

Back to StarCraft...
Posted 09:55am 03/8/10
did you use any glitches like flying yoshi?
Posted 10:30am 03/8/10
About a month later, and I've finished SMG2 completely, with all 242 stars. Unlike the first one, I don't think I will EVER play this game again. Ever. To get those last few stars requires an insane amount of patience...to resist the urge to throw your wiimote at the tv.

man, thats some serious gaming!
Posted 01:32pm 03/8/10
I got my 120 and quit. No green stars for me kthx.
Posted 01:38pm 03/8/10
imo needs a new donkey kong country revamp
Posted 01:54pm 03/8/10
imo needs a new donkey kong country revamp
Like the one being released before the end of this year?
Posted 01:59pm 03/8/10

Posted 02:29pm 03/8/10
haha f*** yeah! (never heard of this)
Posted 03:32pm 03/8/10
s*** yeah - bring on DK
Posted 04:16pm 03/8/10
I got to 241 and shut it off without even attempting the perfect run. Surprisingly I found the luigi purple coins level pretty easy, I think I died 4 times - died way more on some of the other levels.

Once you figure out a path to take that avoids much backtracking, there's only a couple of tricky jumps.
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