Ultimately, we had had one of the finest times in a long time playing this game, and when compared to other Wii games – even great ones, like Muramasa or A Boy and His Blob – Super Mario Galaxy 2 is hands-down the greatest the Wii has seen since, well, Galaxy 1. But can something that even we admit is nearly a remix really garner our highest score? Yes, and here’s why.
Like we said earlier, it always either fixes the limited number of flaws the first game had, or just takes interesting new approaches to much of what worked, while still being a game that stands on its own. You may notice that until now we’ve had few complaints, and that’s simply because there are so few things to complain about. The final worlds and some stars that are all completely unnecessary to finish the game can get pretty frustrating for non-Mario savants, but those areas are just gravy anyway. In a long weekend of play, we got 90-plus stars out of 120, and while we are pretty familiar with Mario, we’re by no means perfect players; there’s just the right balance of challenge in all but the later worlds (which are made for the super-skilled, anyway). Also, very rarely, the camera can be slightly tricky, but it still sets the bar very high for all other 3D games. Sorry, haters, that’s all the negative we’ve got.
Even if you discount the relative ghetto of middling games on the Wii, Galaxy 2 is one of the year’s top games on any system, and one of the few must-have reasons to buy a Wii… outside of weight loss and bowling, that is.
Super Mario Galaxy? Yes, but barely. It feels newer and more varied, though it isn’t the revolution the first game was. If you just bought a Wii and have to pick one or the other, play SMG2 first, since it’s slightly more inviting and fast-paced than the original. Once you’ve wrapped up 2, by all means go back to first one. Following that, leave your Wii unused for the majority of your year like everyone else, making sure to dust occasionally.
New Super Mario Bros Wii? For the love of God, yes! Maybe NSMBW’s lack of creativity compared to Galaxy 2 makes the latter look even better next to it, but there’s really no contest. NSMBW is a good game, but we expected so much more from the first new 2D, console-based Mario in almost two decades that we were understandably disappointed by how few new things it tried, outside of an underwhelming multiplayer aspect. Oppositely, Galaxy 2 really pushed itself to outperform expectations, not just meet them exactly.
Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time? Yes, but it’s closer than you’d think. And if you lack Nintendo-tinted glasses, the gap gets even closer. R&C games are always fun, and Crack is a step up, graphics-wise, compared to SMG2. But the annual releases of Ratchet games makes them feel less special, and we’re getting a little franchise fatigue. Meanwhile, a second core Mario game for the Wii, delivered nearly three years after the last one, feels like a real treat.
Expanding on the original’s brilliance, this ingenious platformer only gets better by embracing the Wii’s limited capabilities and adds so many ideas, big and small, that we can’t help but love it. Even if you (mistakenly) believe it’s too similar to the first game, what’s wrong with more of an incredibly great thing?
May 21, 2010