Yoshi joins Mario as they both explore new and bigger galaxies.

User Rating: 8 | Super Mario Galaxy 2 WII
Pros:
New planets to explore
Yoshi joins the cast

Cons:
At its core, just an expansion of the first Galaxy game
Still plagued by camera difficulties

"Super Mario Galaxy 2" is a sequel to "Super Mario Galaxy" for the Nintendo Wii. Much like its predecessor, the game revolves around Mario taking his rivalry with Bowser to the far reaches of the universe in order to save his beloved princess. In many respects Super Mario Galaxy 2 plays and feels exactly like the first game, but there are enough differences that make Super Mario Galaxy 2 shine on its own.

Just as in most of the Super Mario games, Bowser shows up to the Mushroom Kingdom, raises sin, and kidnaps Princess Peach; now it's up to Mario to save the princess and the day. The staring events of this game unfold nearly the same as in the first Galaxy game. Though the player will find come to find out that the game varies a bit when it comes to the supporting cast.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 boasts new galaxies for Mario to explore, and even some twists on familiar galaxies from the first game. This time around Yoshi joins Mario on his quest to the various galaxies. Yoshi brings his usual charms such as being able to eat enemies, his flutter jump, and running away frantically after being hit. Luigi is even a playable character on certain galaxies, taking advantage of his height and reach, albeit he can be harder to control at times (bad traction).

A change from the first game is that the central hub isn't the Comet Observatory this time around, but actually a starship in the shape of Mario's face. Instead of Rosalina, Lubba, an oversized purple Luma, will be the main go to person for Mario when it comes to tips and tricks about the story or gameplay. Along the adventure some of the creatures that Mario meets will take a liking to him and decide to hop aboard the Starship Mario (Lubba will be comically agitated at all the stowaways). Even the lovable Toad Brigade will make another appearance to aid Mario in his quest.

Another new addition is the World Map and the Grand World Map (galaxies, planets, worlds, maps, just bear with me here). Once the player takes control of Starship Mario, they can view the Grand World Map and see which Worlds they've visited. Once a world is selected they can view the different galaxies ready to be explored. Waiting for Mario at the end of every world will be a boss galaxy, inhabited by either Bowser or his demon spawn Bowser Jr.

The overall difficulty of game has been taken up a few levels, nothing too overwhelming for casual fans but the seekers of every Power Star will be pulling out a few more hairs this time around. (Speaking of, at the time of this review I yet to obtain all 120 stars, treading water at 108, but I can attest to the fact that attempting to grab ever star will be as challenging as ever, and at times down right impossible). So be prepared for the long haul if one is going to attempt this.

There are two new items at Mario's disposal, Cloud and Rock. Cloud Mario is able to use clouds to get to a platform that would normally be out of reach otherwise, and Rock Mario is able to curl into a ball and blast through barriers impeding his path. Yoshi also has his own items he can use to power himself up. Dash Yoshi is able to run at blazing fast speeds and Blimp Yoshi is able to rise up in the air for a short amount of time.

The same game "modes" (air, sea racing) are in this game as well. The second player also makes a return, and this time not in a disembodied form, but as an orange Luma. The role is still the same, however, to collect star bits for the first player. Coins are now more prominent in Super Mario Galaxy 2; some hungry Lumas will only eat coins instead of star bits.

The game is still plagued by camera woes, causing problems with the controls and visual elements. Just as its predecessor the player given the option to "rotate" the camera with the D-pad, but most of the times the game doesn't allow the player to rotate the game when it's truly needed.

To enjoy Super Mario Galaxy 2 one wouldn't need to have played the first game; Super Mario Galaxy 2 expands on its predecessor and at the same time able to shine under its own merits.
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