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Family Guide Gamer (Wii)
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Super Mario Galaxy 2 manages to squeeze out another helping of joyous game play from Mario land. Building on what went before, and iterating where necessary, this is quite possibly the perfect platform game.
Super Mario Galaxy, in case you missed it, created a thousand tiny spherical puzzles each with their own theme, gravity and puzzles. It felt like every new level would be the bottom of the barrel, but then another world would appear and offer a new set of wonderful challenges.
With such a tough act to follow though some had thought Super Mario Galaxy 2 would just be more of the same. Cleverly though, Nintendo have taken the core of the game, removed any superfluous trappings and creating a much more streamlined experience.
Now you can jump straight to the galaxy map from anywhere in the game and navigate through each world much more easily. The first game's convoluted solar systems are here replaced by a branching map reminiscent of Super Mario Brothers 2.
I really enjoyed the improvements to the second player controls. I often play with younger members of my family and work through games together. Whereas previously the second player was reduced to collecting stars, in Super Mario Galaxy 2 the second player can collect coins, stun and freeze enemies.
In the later levels, playing with friends or family on the second Wii-mote can make a big difference. There are plenty of moments when I would have died if it weren't for a timely intervention from the second player collecting a life giving a coin, or stopping an enemy in their tracks.
Riding Yoshi feels perfect. The same additional melody is added to the soundtrack but now you us the Wii-mote rather than a button to grab things with his tongue.
I'm a big fan of Super Mario World on the SNES, so was really excited to see Yoshi included in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Riding Yoshi feels perfect. The same additional melody is added to the soundtrack but now you us the Wii-mote rather than a button to grab things with his tongue. It's a small change admittedly, but one that adds a lot of possibilities.
When you are riding Yoshi you can also access whole new areas of each world - using his tongue as a Tarzan swing. It sounds painful but works really well in Mario Galaxy's topsy turvy world.
Along with these newer novelties the rest of the game continues as strong as ever. Each galaxy has a strong theme, enemies and music. The worlds within it offer a wide variety of challenges from traditional platforming to Monkey Ball like tilt courses and Mario Kart style racing.
Perhaps following the success of New Super Mario Brothers on the Wii, Galaxy 2 does more to blend 2D and 3D levels.
Perhaps following the success of New Super Mario Brothers on the Wii, Galaxy 2 does more to blend 2D and 3D levels. Even the opening scenes have you playing levels that could easily have featured in the Brother's game earlier this year. Again it's not a big change, but one that makes sense and helps bring the different elements of the Mario universe together.
After many hours of playing I'm still hunting down the last few stars, and know I will be returning to collect all the Comet Coins after that - a nice chart of progress tantalisingly shows you how many you still have to collect. Super Mario Galaxy 2 Wii is the new best game on Nintendo's popular console.
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: