Super Mario Galaxy 2 Impressions

Nintendo shows off a couple of new levels in its upcoming sequel to Super Mario Galaxy.

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Nintendo's media summit in San Francisco today began with a short opening speech by vice president of sales and marketing, Cammie Dunaway. She led the presentation into the first game demo of the day: Super Mario Galaxy 2. We were given a quick tour of a couple of levels of the game, which primarily highlighted the use of the drill, and we got a chance to see Yoshi basically eat everything digestible.

The first level we saw was set in outer space, with several brown mounds of smaller planets that could be accessed by warp stars. By holding the circular red drill over his head, Mario was able to dig through the planet and pop up on the other side. Using this new skill, our favorite plumber was able to reach platforms that were otherwise inaccessible by conventional jumping methods. We also watched as Mario drilled inside a hollow planet and collected a ring of coins within it. Like the last game, part of the appeal is finding out how each planet works as they all have their own unique set of rules.

We will have an opportunity to get some hands-on time later, but for now, it looks like the controls will remain the same. You control Mario with the analog stick and shake the Wii Remote to do a spin attack, as well as use the drill. In the next portion of the demo, we saw a cousin of the Megaleg boss from the first game. We watched Mario dodge drills that were thrown while trying to wait for right moment to dig through the small planet to stab its exposed belly. After making short work of Gigaleg, we jumped to another level to see what Yoshi could do.

Yoshi functions in the same way as before, except now, you can control his tongue by pointing with the Wii Remote and pressing B to inhale almost anything onscreen. On this lush green planet with goombahs and spiky plants, Yoshi could eat blimp fruits that would cause him to expand into a blimp to float. A counter indicates how much time you have left before he deflates, but by grabbing more of these delicious goodies, you and your green pal can float continuously.

We were able to check out a couple of 2D platforming areas as well. We watched Mario and Yoshi work together to try to avoid falling off a rotating log while dodging hazards and grabbing blimp fruit. After collecting all the pieces of a warp star, we jumped to another area that looked like a cutout of a log and eventually found our way to the star to end the level. What made these levels particularly cool was the fact that it still looks like they can be explored in 3D--especially with so many moving parts--but you're limited to a 2D plane.

Following the demo, we saw a trailer of Super Mario Galaxy 2 that showcased the variety of levels that will be seen in the game. Not only did we see Mario hanging out in space, but we also saw worlds with a ghost-house theme and a giant world with extra large bad guys waiting for you. One boss that caught our eye was a giant snake that looped through and around planets. We watched as our hero weaved around to stay out of its way. Yoshi's tongue will also be a truly powerful tool as we saw him help Mario tug and pull large moving platforms.

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We'll have more of an update for you when we get a chance to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 for ourselves, so check back for our write-up. In the meantime, we'll leave you with a release date of May 23.

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