Super Mario Galaxy 2
|Reviewer: Comrade Alejandro||Date: Apr 8, 2023|
|Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the sequel to what is considered to be one of the best Mario games to ever have been released. But, does the sequel hold up to the masterpiece that the first game was?
The graphics in this game are, for it's time, okay. Since this game released on the Wii one cannot have such high expectations for how this game should look, but nevertheless, I think the graphics are pretty good and as an addition made better by the scenery. Personally, I'd give this game a point or two less in the graphics department if the graphics were used as they are in previous Mario games. It's only due to the space setting and the amazing planets you get to see, why this scores a 7/10.
The Super Mario Galaxy series has always been known for its absolutely stunning music. Sadly, this doesn't apply as much to the second game, as, first off, a lot of the soundtrack was taken from the first game and secondly, the original soundtrack is not on par with that of Super Mario Galaxy 1. This doesn't mean that it isn't good of course, but there is definitely a noticeable downgrade in music design. The comparison where I find this shines through best is in the lobby music of the two games. In the original, we had Rosalina's observatory, and the legendary music that came with it. It came in three stages, and more instruments would be added to the music the more you bring the observatory back to its initial state. The tune is also very recognizable and just straight up iconic. On the other hand, Super Mario Galaxy 2 falls a little short. Of course the music makes you feel nice and at home, but it doesn't come close to the magical feeling that the music in the previous game had.
But all that said, the music in this game is still mind blowing. It contributes so much to this empty, space-like atmosphere, that it can change the entire mood of the galaxy depending on it. The melodies all get stuck in your head and give you an unplaceable feeling of nostalgia. My favorite part of the sound design is, that in some of the soundtracks (for example, the hub theme of World S) you will at some point faintly hear a part of the melody from the good egg galaxy and/or the gusty garden galaxy play, which is another memorable theme.
I've mentioned this before, but the music in Super Mario Galaxy 2 significantly contributes to the magical space theme the game is given. You already know what kind of experience you're about to get when you hear the music upon first entering the galaxy, it heavily plays a role in setting the mood, even more than it does in other Mario games. You can feel whether a level is going to be dark and serious or light and happy just by listening for a few seconds. Lastly, the absolute highlight of this just has to be the music used in the last level of World 6, your last fight against Bowser (Galaxy Generator Galaxy's theme). The music feels tense, serious, yet hopeful.
And with all that said, I think it's fair to rate the sound a 8/10.
Now here is where, in my opinion, the second game shines just a little bit more than its predecessor. This is for a number of reasons.
The first reason is the creativity in prankster comets. What I really appreciated about this game is that every galaxy gets a prankster comet, which is already one thing that the first game didn't do. But I also liked the way you would unlock the prankster comets. Instead of them just randomly spawning on a galaxy, you'd have to collect the prankster coin in that galaxy first. I found this to be much more fun than just waiting for the next prankster comet to show up. Another thing that I prefer here is that the prankster levels feel more like what I imagined they'd feel like: difficult. I will talk more on this later, but I appreciate how much harder the prankster comets are in comparison to the first game.
My second point is that, as I mentioned before, this game is definitely not as easy as the first one. To be honest I finished the prequel with no issues. I personally played the first game after the second, and as such I think it is fair to say that the first game feels like Super Mario Galaxy 2 on easy mode. This is partially because of the more challenging level design, but also because of the aforementioned prankster comets, which are way harder in this game. Some might argue that the simplicity and easiness of the galaxies in the first game contributed to the calm and magical atmosphere of the game, and I agree with that to some extend, but personally I think that the gameplay shouldn't lessen in quality to support an atmosphere.
For the third point, I'll talk about the green stars. The green stars were such a nice post game idea. After you've finished the game and collected all the stars, you'll be sent back to every galaxy and get to search for green stars. They all pose at least a little bit of challenge to get to, and sometimes they'll be in extremely ridiculous places, forcing the player to think a bit more. In my opinion, this was a great idea and was executed almost perfectly. I love the idea of getting to go back on a little nostalgia trip to all of your favorite galaxies and searching all over the place, and discovering neat little secret areas while doing so.
I do have two more points, but since they're both just minor arguments, I'll merge them into one section. An amazing addition to the sequel was of course, Yoshi. You can find him in an egg in some galaxies. Using Yoshi can make the Gameplay much more interesting and give it way more variety. The other point is that I find the level selection much more practical in this game, less beautiful, but so much more practical.
So, all in all, I'm giving the Gameplay a 10/10, simply because how fun the game is. Every new galaxy you play (with the exception of most galaxies in world S), you'll find yourself amazed at the creativity the developers had with this game. I think the amazing level design shines through in the shiverburn galaxy, Bowser Jr. Boombunker, Tall trunk galaxy and of course the cosmic cove galaxy.
In conclusion, I'm giving this game a solid 9/10. The game does many things better than its predecessor, but still falls short in some categories. The most noticeable difference in my opinion is the change of mood. The first game feels much more melancholic and mysterious, while the second one tends to feel more upbeat. This is why I think it just really depends on what kind of person you are whether you'll like this game or the prequel more. The first one is more focused on atmosphere, while the second is more about fun and interesting gameplay. Which game you play first also is a huge factor in which one you'll like better, especially since you don't necessarily have to have played the first game to fully understand what's going on in the sequel. I think the games are equal, but due to my strong nostalgia for this game, I tend to hold it on a bit of a higher pedestal than the other game.
That's it for my review! I hope you enjoyed reading it, and are motivated to pick up this game and it's prequel!