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Family Guide Gamer (Wii)
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Returning Gamer (Wii)
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Games about the same difficulty:
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Mario Galaxy 2 is the sequel to easily the best Wii platform game to date. Mario Galaxy took the basic platforming 3D premise from Mario 64 and created hundreds of spherical worlds to explore. The same premise returns in Mario Galaxy 2 but with the triumphal return of Yoshi - Mario's friend-steed. This looks to be a Nintendo Wii game for both the hardcore and casual players.
Mario Galaxy 2 on the Wii continues the focus on providing the player with hundred of different nuggets of fun. Each level is different from the last and offers a new way to play with Mario's abilities. Whether you are simply but-stomping your way through a more traditional platform based world, or flying from star to star the feeling of exhilaration and fun is the game.
The controls that worked so well in the original Mario Galaxy haven't been tampered with. A combination of Nun-chuck and Wii-mote is enough here to provide all the options required without overcomplicating things. The game steers away from incorporating the new MotionPlus enhancements, but this restraint is no bad thing as Mario Galaxy 2 has all the nuance it needs from the standard Wii controls.
Although more of the same when it comes to Mario Galaxy is no bad thing, there are not a few new additions to the party this time. Firstly and most importantly is Mario's favourite side kick - not Luigi, he was already in the first game - Yoshi get's to explore the stars too. A co-operative two player mode enables works well at combining different abilities in the same space. Although not quite the split-screen campaign mode some would hope for, there is enough collaboration here to suite friends and family.
Bowser returns as well, although in his new Doppelganger form - Shadow Bowser. Apart from a meaner, harder exterior this doesn't make a huge difference to game play. That said, it's a good excuse to roll out some great end level battles that made the first Mario Galaxy so popular.
To combat all this badness (fully explained in an inconsequential but un-skippable story), Mario has a hatful of new powers too. Along with the usual Fire-Flowerand Size-Mushroom and Invulnerability-Star powers, the diminutive Italian plumber adds a new Clone suite to his repertoire. This enables him to duplicate himself over and over to tackle harder sections of the games. It's an ability that sounds simple but adds considerable complexity to the problem solving side of the platforming button pressing game play. This is also true for his Aged power that enables him to freeze and slow down time. This all adds up to one thing - more puzzling action this time around for Mario.
Although there is simply so much to talk about here, a classic Mario Galaxy 2 moment for me was trying to herd a flock of hapless Goomba's into frustratingly small pens in a certain time. As the clock ticks down I become increasingly frustrated and my kids fall about laughing as the sheep-like mushrooms refuse to be directed. What we need here I realised was a sheepdog-trained version of Yoshi.
This is a game that perhaps reflects the success of the Wii console as much as it does the popularity of the plumber himself. Never before have two original Mario platform games been released solely on one Nintendo system. This is just one of the records that Mario Galaxy 2 breaks for Nintendo, and the more you play this release the more you will discover why this is such a big deal in the world of platform games. An essential 2010 buy for both hardcore and casual gamers alike.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: